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I started to bike regularly about a month ago. A few days ago I had my first serious crash. I was going at a decent speed on the road and then slipped and fell on concrete.

I am less confident about riding again. Part of it is because it happened so suddenly and when I was not expecting it.

I want to know how often do crashes happen to bikers? Also how do you recover from them, both physically and mentally?

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Welcome to Bicycles.SE. Questions here should be answerable with a single answer: Have a read here for more information: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective. As it is now, the question is more appropriate for a discussion board than a Q&A site. I'm going to close this, but please feel free to rewrite the question; closed questions can be re-opened, either by a moderator or the community. Again, welcome to the site, and please continue to ask questions! –  Neil Fein May 6 '11 at 18:22
    
@Neil Fein - Thanks for the welcome. Yes I think you are right. This question does lean a bit to the discussion side. I think I'll leave it closed for now. The advice given by the answerers was helpful. –  priomsrb May 6 '11 at 18:41
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closed as not a real question by ChrisW, Neil Fein May 6 '11 at 18:23

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3 Answers

Depending on the type of biking you do, it could be a daily occurence or only occur due to bad luck.

Physically, I would get myself checked out by a doctor, and possibly a physical therapist who can evaluate what needs to be done to get yourself back in the saddle. One of the toughest things I find after an injury is being patient, but it is often worth it.

Mentally, I would try and ride with others who can give you encouragement and also hopefully distract you from focusing on what "might" happen again.

Chin up and good luck!

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First off, I am glad you are okay. Crashes happen to everybody, and they can happen in the most unsuspecting circumstances.

I do not think there is a good way to gauge how often crashes happen to riders, but generally the more you ride the more opportunity there is to crash.

For physical recovery, it goes like any thing else. Rest your sore muscles and keep all cuts and scrapes clean until they heal. If it was a bad crash you may not want to ride again until your body is completely better.

Mentally recovering from a crash can be tricky. The only way to really conquer it is to get back on and keep riding. If you are unsure of yourself start off slow and ride in a place that is comfortable to you (your neighborhood, the local park, etc). It also helps to ride with a friend, and talk through it.

If you want to know how to avoid crashes in the future I highly recommend taking a cycling skills course. If you are in the states the League of American Bicyclist has instructors all over the country that teach classes on bike control and crash avoidance.

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I want to know how often do crashes happen to bikers?

I think it depends on how you ride (and what you ride, and where, and when).

For example, I was talking with a young man recently, who owns a racing bike. We were talking about where we ride and I told him that I'm not comfortable on a road which has two lanes in each direction and a speed limit above 50kph/30mph. He said, "That's ridiculous." I remembered that he'd said earlier that he'd broken bones by slipping on a wet man-hole cover when tearing round a round-about, and replied, "Perhaps, but I've never broken any bones."

I guess I ride with caution: not always slowly, necessarily, but definitely varying according to how I feel (and what my past and present experience tells me) about the road conditions. I'm commuting, not racing.

I fell off three times in the first week of riding my current bike: twice, from slipping on ice, once from not unclipping in time when stopping; each of these times I was travelling at about 5kph/3mph or less, and so not hurt (not even scratched, wearing a winter coat, just one mild bruise).

Going downhill for example now, I'm concious that there might be sand or gravel on the road, that the pavement may be cracked in places (by frost, this is in Toronto). I don't ride slowly, but I do try slowly enough, to stay in control: compare that with this answer.

When I posted this question most people answered that I needn't expect to fall at all again.

The reason I'm not comfortable on a multi-lane road is that, on such a road once, during rush hour, a motorist hit me from behind by trying to undertake someone else while I was in the curb-side lane. Well, that hurt (me and my bike). Luckily it didn't stop me riding, but it did stop me riding on that particular stretch of road, and made me more wary of being hit from behind. I don't expect it will happen again: partly because I avoid that kind of road now, partly because I'm more cautious, sometimes stopping by the side of the road to let a rush of cars overtake instead of pulling out into traffic and just hoping that someone will slow down for me.

Also how do you recover from them, both physically and mentally?

Is "how to recover physically" a medical question? It depends on the injury: see this Q&A for some details.

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At the other extreme of what's dangerous and what isn't, the user manual for my bike says that if you participate in 'extreme' sports then you will get hurt. Some people suggest that not riding a bike is more dangerous than riding one: because, not riding a bike, you're more at risk of e.g. heart attacks. –  ChrisW May 6 '11 at 13:23
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