Biking is a popular mode of transportation and recreational activity. In the US alone, there were more than 66 million bicyclists reported in 2017. That’s approximately a 15-million increase from 51 million in 2012. However, as the number of bicyclists continues to grow, so do bicycle-related accidents. NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis reported that in 2015, about 45,000 bicyclists were injured due to bicycle accidents.
Most of these bicycle accidents involved motor vehicles, like cars, in urban areas. Some of the most common reasons are road rage and drivers not following traffic regulations. Since bicyclists have lesser protection than car drivers, they are more likely to suffer critical injuries. That’s why law firms such as the San Francisco Bike Accident Lawyers at Dolan Law Firm aim to provide legal help and protection for bicyclists against irresponsible driving.
Aside from getting legal help, another issue an injured bicyclist has to address is the psychological recovery from the accident. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional cyclist, here are some steps to recovery as recommended by experts:
Accept the circumstance
Accepting that you’ve been injured is the first step in your recovery. You can’t begin the recovery process without acknowledging the fact that you need it in the first place. According to sports psychologist Kristin Keim, your mental state can have a lifelong effect on your attitude towards biking. So, if you don’t accept your current situation, this may result in fear or lack of enthusiasm in getting on a bicycle again.
Moreover, accepting the circumstance can help you have a proper mindset towards your recovery. In fact, studies show that people with a positive mindset recover from accidents faster than those who think negatively.
Get back to bicycling immediately
As soon as you can, Keim recommends getting back to biking immediately. This will help you fight fear and anxiety in its early stages. Avoidance, on the other hand, will only create more fear and anxiety.
This advice is echoed by Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald. According to her, the more you delay getting back to bicycling, the more your brain exaggerates the dangers associated with it. The best way to fight your fear, as the experts suggest, is to confront it head-on.
Follow your physician’s advice
Experts put emphasis on getting back to biking gradually and “as soon as you’re physically able to do so.” This means you shouldn’t force yourself to go biking again when you haven’t fully physically recovered. Wait for your physician’s go signal for when you can start training again.
Follow your doctor’s prescriptions regarding your training as well. Start light and avoid straining yourself from biking too much. If your doctor advises you to train for at least 5 minutes a day, don’t go beyond that. You might think jumping right back to your regular biking routine will help you recover at a faster rate. But doing so will be detrimental and delay your ability to get back in shape.
Get help from a professional
If you can’t do all these by yourself, don’t hesitate to seek help from others. Talk to a trusted friend about your fears and anxiety. If you don’t want to go bicycling alone, ask them to join you.
However, if you’re experiencing more serious trauma, you’ll need help from a psychiatrist. They’ll create an effective recovery plan that’ll incorporate both your physical and mental training. Ultimately, the key to a healthy mental recovery is to talk about it with someone you can trust.
Every person is unique and has different methods of coping with trauma. Some even recover faster than others. Given that, bear in mind that healing doesn’t happen overnight. Rushing or pressuring yourself to recover quickly will be counterproductive. Remember that the journey to a full physical and mental recovery takes time, patience, and grace.