Minster Law understands how important being on the road is to their motorcycle clients but recognises that for some riders, getting back on a bike after an accident is not always easy – as well as physical injuries, psychological issues can often play a bigger part in preventing a rider from returning to motorcycling. That’s why the personal injury specialist is piloting an innovative new programme that aims to help support its clients get back to biking – literally.
Created for those who are physically able to ride but find it difficult emotionally or mentally to return to riding after an accident, Back to Biking invites participants to go on a three-phase journey through addressing their emotional/confidence issues to, eventually, undertaking a supported road ride. The free-to-take-part initiative was open to Minster Law clients, like Dragos Niculae, who are keen to put their accidents behind them and get back to motorcycling.
Dragos was commuting to work on Woking Road, Guildford in November 2015, when the driver of a transit van performed a sudden U-turn in the middle of the road, knocking him from his motorbike. The 35-year-old sustained two broken arms along with various soft tissue injuries and serious bruising as a result of the collision. A long rehabilitation process has seen Dragos’ physical injuries return to a stage where he would be physically able to ride again however, it is the psychological injuries which he suffers, and continues to suffer, that have prevented him from getting back on a motorbike.
“It’s been difficult to confront something that changed my life so dramatically”
The first phase of the Back to Biking initiative took place at Brooklands motor and aviation museum in Surrey and combined psychological support from driving rehabilitation specialist and psychotherapist, Carol C Sharp, with the practical element of a motorcycle simulator and virtual reality equipment. Dragos, who was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after his motorbike accident, was encouraged to use the event to overcome some of his confidence and anxiety issues, kick-starting his journey back to two wheels.
Dragos said: “It’s been difficult to confront something that changed my life so dramatically – I was just grateful to be alive after my accident. But I’m also still so passionate about biking and as the majority of my friends have bikes, I really miss the freedom, control and adrenaline rush of being able to go on ride-outs together.
“I felt really nervous about getting back on a motorbike for the first time, but I found my private counselling session really helpful as it built on what I’ve already worked through in therapy. When I first got on the motorcycle simulator I felt the smile on my face – I was actually really surprised how comfortable I felt! I expected to feel anxious but there were no nerves, just excitement and passion, and the virtual reality equipment was a great way to feel comfortable with my surroundings, while still being in a safe and controlled environment. I can’t wait to take the next step to getting back on the road.”
For the second phase of the Back to Biking initiative, Dragos will join another participant at a specialist motorcycle training school, where they will undertake a back to biking refresher course in a closed environment. Specialist instructors will advise participants on how they are riding with the aim of improving their machine handling techniques before joining a supported road ride out for the final phase.
“For many riders, their motorbike isn’t a mode of transport, it’s a way of life”
Minster Law’s Managing Director and fellow biker, Michael Warren, said: “We work with so many clients who feel they are unable to get back on to a bike after being involved in a motorcycle accident. For many riders, their motorbike isn’t a mode of transport, it’s a way of life, and we wanted to find a way to help these riders get back to the lifestyle they once enjoyed. It’s great to hear how much Dragos benefited from the first event and we’re really looking forward to supporting him, and the other participants, through this important journey.”
To find out more about Minster Law’s biking support credentials, please visit www.minsterlaw.co.uk/specialist-biking-support.