Who Has Rider Fear and How Riders Have Described It

written by David Mixson

Rider fear isn’t biased. Men and women can have rider fear, as can young riders and old riders, beginning riders and experienced riders. 

Do all riders experience rider fear? No. But based on the number of emails I’ve received, many do—some to the point of doubting everything (including their decision to ride).

Here’s how one rider described rider fear:

“I’ve always wanted to ride. Six months ago, I bought a used motorcycle a riding friend helped me pick out. I practiced in parking lots for the first few weeks and then took a training class. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I passed the rider test on my first attempt. I was so excited. As long as I ride in parking lots and my neighborhood, I feel fine. But just the thought of venturing out onto busy streets causes me to panic, and a fear comes over me like nothing I’ve experienced in my 44 years.”

Here’s what Doug wrote: 

“I hate to admit this, but my motorcycle seems more like an enemy than a friend. I’m paralyzed with fear. I’m frustrated. Practicing in parking lots and my neighborhood isn’t much fun. How do I get through this fear? Please help.”

Here’s what Cathy said: 

“I have so much fear it’s a shame. When I see my motorcycle, fear comes over me. When I get on it, it’s even worse. Please help me overcome this.”

The good news is that for most riders, rider fear gets less intense as your riding skills improve. But that’s certainly not always the case. I’ll unpack that in the articles below.

* This article is an excerpt from my book Motorcycle Smarts.

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About the Author

David Mixson writes about the topics other motorcycle books gloss over. He worked as a NASA engineer for over thirty years and is the author of three books.

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