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Motorcyclist overcomes PTSD with Back to Biking ride-out

Innovative three-phase programme helps biker face his fear of returning to two wheels

A motorcyclist who was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after a road accident almost two years ago has undertaken his first supported ride-out on public roads. Over the past three months, Dragos Niculae has been participating in an innovative three-phase Back to Biking pilot, which aims to help riders overcome confidence and anxiety issues. The final phase ride-out is testament to how far he has progressed in a relatively short space of time.

Dragos kick-started his journey back to biking in June when personal injury specialists, Minster Law, organised for him to spend some time with driving rehabilitation specialist and psychotherapist, Carol C Sharp, before having a go on a motorcycle simulator and virtual reality equipment. In the second phase, which took place in July, Dragos spent the day with instructors at Phoenix Motorcycle Training in Sidcup who used a combination of classroom teaching and practical riding techniques to further build his confidence on two wheels.

Dragos quickly overcame any nerves and settled into a smooth riding rhythm

In the third and final phase of the programme, Dragos was met at the popular Ryka’s Cafe by nine other motorcyclists, including Minster Law’s Managing Director Michael Warren and Associate Solicitor Craig Croft-Raynor, before embarking on a two-stage 70-mile road ride through the picturesque Surrey Hills. Supported once again by specialist instructors from the training school, Dragos rode his own Suzuki SV650 motorcycle with obvious ever-growing confidence.

The ride out took in all manner of road surfaces from damp, gravel-littered, uphill, tree-lined narrow roads to smooth flowing A-roads and dual carriageways. With a lead rider to the front of Dragos, he quickly overcame any nerves and settled into a smooth riding rhythm. At all times he was in constant communication via radio with an instructor, riding directly behind giving advice and riding tips, with the remainder of the group in tow. The end result for Dragos was wearing a huge smile, bringing his Back to Biking journey to a successful close.

“Back to Biking gave me more confidence and opened my eyes in getting back on a bike”

Dragos said: “I had great fun. It was a longer ride than I expected. Actually, it made me enjoy my riding more and made me think about changing the bike I own for a machine that is more suited to me. It was definitely something that helped me a lot in getting back to my love of motorcycling.

“Back to Biking gave me more confidence and opened my eyes… definitely opened my eyes in getting back on a bike. After the accident I was a bit unsure of what needed to be done if I wanted to get back on a bike. It’s gaining confidence that helps.

I also now know that additional training definitely gives you more confidence in yourself. It pushes you a bit more and makes you understand what is going on around you when riding. Further training makes you understand the traffic, the road conditions and your general environment when riding which makes it so much more enjoyable.”

Michael Warren added: “It is great to see how well Dragos has done and how far he has come. After the second phase, where he was introduced to riding on the road because he’d done so well, Dragos had a couple of short practise rides. I’ve just been out on phase three for almost 50 miles this morning and he was really confident. He’s most certainly got his confidence back and is now looking to change his bike for something more comfortable; when he does that I’m pretty sure Dragos’ return to biking happiness will be complete.”

The Back to Biking programme was created for those who are physically able to ride but find it difficult emotionally or mentally to return to riding after an accident, and was piloted by Minster Law for free for their clients. Throughout the three-phase programme, participants were taken on a journey to address their emotional and confidence issues to, eventually, undertake a supported road ride.

To find out more about Minster Law’s biking support credentials, please visit https://www.minsterlaw.co.uk/specialist-biking-support/.