Research Interviews – The effects of cycling accidents on performance
As part of the research towards my doctorate I interviewed around a dozen competitive cyclists who had had experienced accidents of various kinds, either as a victim or witness. Many had been hit by other vehicles while out riding, some had crashed in competition and others had encountered hazards such as potholes. Both of the witnesses had been involved in fatal accidents, one as the first on the scene, the other was a family member of the victim who learned later about the event.
All of the interviewees spoke about negative effects on their cycling performance. Thankfully all had largely recovered from any physical injuries sustained.
The common effects reported included:
• Avoiding certain road conditions, especially wet roads.
• Avoiding riding in busy traffic
• Avoiding group racing or riding
• Avoiding dual carriageways
• Making excuses not to go out training on the road
• “Hanging back” from the group or bunch when training or racing
• Nervous when descending or cornering
• Losing places in the bunch when cornering
• Being tense on the bike leading to poor control
Some riders reported that their anxiety lasted only a couple of months and then improved, while others still felt the impact of the accident years later and continued to avoid particular kinds of riding or racing. One person effectively gave up cycling for several years.
Thanks go to all who took part in the interviews.
The above represents a brief summary, which will later be expanded for academic purposes.