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Old 06-14-2013, 04:39 AM   #1
luckygrownup OP
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panic attacks in car after spending all the road time on the bike

Hi for the last 2 years and 2 months, I have spent about 90% of my time on the bike and only about 10% on the bike. For example, I put about 20K on my bikes and about 3K a year in the car. I feel really comfortable on the bike. I feel as if I can see much further ahead and I feel I have more control than in my car. As a result, I feel my driving has really degraded. I hated driving before, but I hate it more now. In my car, which is a mini, I can't see shit. My A/C is broken, and the mini sits really low and obstructs my vision when compared to the two tall bikes I ride. While in the car, people speed past me. Additionally, I seem to have more anxiety in the car than before. For example, traffic jams make me borderline panic attack in the car. On my bike, I can see around traffic so I don't get the anxiety. Anyone else experience this or am I just going nuts ?
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:06 AM   #2
Ceri JC
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I used to notice this (although not quite to this extent) when I did 90%+ of my mileage by bike. Whilst there are clearly downsides to bikes, it's easy to forget things like the much better field of vision you have (and general heightened awareness) and the performance (which in responsible/competent hands is a huge safety benefit) compared to a car. When you get in a car, it can feel like a very wide, slow and hard to see out thing.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:06 AM   #3
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I had about a full month recently where I didn't drive the car at all and then when I got in the car I was nervous and shakey.... The Lane seemed so narrow in the car and I felt I was crossing lines (even though I wasnt) and was shakey on the brakes and acceleration. I couldn't see my surroundings and did not have the ability to move in traffic as well. So my conclusion, don't drive, ride EVERYWHERE
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:19 AM   #4
zippy
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My cage is a 1997 Isuzu Hombre with 250,000 miles on the odo. The a/c does not work and top speed is probably 70mph . So on those occasions when I cage in I am hot and uncomfortable. I get passed like I am parked on the highway.

So panic attacks not so ,much more of a comfort thing. I feel much more in control when riding the fz to work.
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:32 AM   #5
trc.rhubarb
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No panic attacks but plenty of anxiety every time I see a bike ride by.
I can't drive well anymore and let my wife drive as often as possible.
We have just one car I ride full time. If my daughter was old enough to get on the back, I'd never drive.

Whatever you do, don't edge that mini towards the lane edges while looking to split! It scares everyone else like you wouldn't believe.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:35 AM   #6
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Very interesting post.

Part of what you are feeling is relative, and the other is just human nature.

You already got to the core of the issue by mentioning anxiety. But how can you possibly have more anxiety in the safety of a car as opposed to on the motorcycle? That sounds crazy.....

But it isn't. It is somewhat related to the fear of flying. What you have is a lack of 'control' which you also already identified as an inability to see. When your body is moving but you cannot see where you are going that will raise your anxiety level as it is unnatural. Evolutionarily speaking, this only happens when you fall out of your tree while sleeping, which you may have dreamed about and woken with a start.

From http://www.salon.com/2011/03/20/nerv..._taylor_clark/

"Why are we preternaturally fearful of traffic jams? And does this explain our fathers’ bad behavior on the road?

Traffic is this modern phenomenon that perfectly needles all of our stress spots. The most frustrating thing about a traffic jam is not that we’re stuck sitting there. For the most part, we’re perfectly comfortable in our cars. The problem is that we have no control over what’s going on — we have no idea as to when the traffic will eventually let up. Those are the exact ingredients that make people anxious. Anger and fear are very similar physiologically, so that’s why some people get stressed and some people get pissed. It’s all part of the same fight-or-flight reaction cycle."


For the same reason I still drive stick, it is easy to see that as a rider you become used to having far more authority, and thus "control" over a motorcycle than you do a car. And for the same reason people feared industrialization and automation, these undercurrents are everywhere!

The part of your stress that is relative in nature is more fun to examine. When I was in college I used to play Gran Turismo far more than I should have. After a week of classes....ahem.....and Gran Turismo, when I jumped in my car to go home for a weekend EVERYTHING seemed completely out of sorts. After a while, the car would stop seeming like it was stuck in molasses.

Likewise, when I moved back to the NE there was a huge adjustment after dealing with the easy traffic of the South.

I have yet to do my first track day, but I bet people who have done many of them have similar feelings about the street. In addition to the relative slowness of the street, the blocked sight lines, bad pavement, narrow roads and randomness of other drivers must certainly be the reason so many track addicts stop riding street almost entirely.

So, while I am not a psychologist, I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night and my diagnosis is that you are a perfectly normal human being man with nothing to worry about.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:43 AM   #7
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I don't get real bad anxeity, but my road rage with other cars gets bad. But on the bike I don't get any Rage at all. I just enjoy riding more than driving. It seems to be a chore driving a car.

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Old 06-14-2013, 08:34 AM   #8
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A mini??? I wouldn't drive that, I feel cooped up in any small car. But I like bigger cars and at the little milleage I put on them in a year the better "fuel economy" of the smaller vehicles isn't too relevant.

Car is still full of gas from when I came back home a month ago. The bike well....must be up to a few hundreds in fuel costs alone. Add the tires to that. Car is still on its original summer tires from 5 years ago, lots of life left in them.

Spent 24 years of my life without even a plated 4 wheel vehicle but for the winter months.But circumstances have changed so no choice but to "sometimes" drive a cage in the summer.

I have to take it (the cage) for a long drive next week.....and a long one back a month later. Lights and traffic not much of that around here but sure will be where I am going.Yes I'll be anxious to get back to my bike.
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
DarthJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckygrownup View Post
Hi for the last 2 years and 2 months, I have spent about 90% of my time on the bike and only about 10% on the bike. For example, I put about 20K on my bikes and about 3K a year in the car. I feel really comfortable on the bike. I feel as if I can see much further ahead and I feel I have more control than in my car. As a result, I feel my driving has really degraded. I hated driving before, but I hate it more now. In my car, which is a mini, I can't see shit. My A/C is broken, and the mini sits really low and obstructs my vision when compared to the two tall bikes I ride. While in the car, people speed past me. Additionally, I seem to have more anxiety in the car than before. For example, traffic jams make me borderline panic attack in the car. On my bike, I can see around traffic so I don't get the anxiety. Anyone else experience this or am I just going nuts ?

Haven't experienced it myself, but I'm running about a 50/50 mix of bike and cage time. That, and probably the fact that my cage is a large pickup, I have even more visibility in it than on the bike. Wife's cage is small SUV so visibility is about equal to bike.

Maybe a small SUV might help the visibility issue.
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:29 AM   #10
DR Donk
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Except for the winter I'm on my bike all the time. When I put the bike up in late November it takes me two weeks to get used to driving a car. I don't have anxiety about it just sadness... and boredom....
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:33 AM   #11
eatpasta
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Yeah try a city commute in a car after doing it for years on a bike! A few years ago I crashed in a race and was pretty banged up and had to drive for two months. I nearly shot myself.
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:46 PM   #12
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Old 06-14-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
motorat
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you know you ride too much when you get in the truck, turn the key 1 click to the right and look for the neutral light.
bike goes about 18k a year, truck 4k
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:31 PM   #14
windmill
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I've been a full time rider most of my life, and drive semi trucks for a living.....

I hate cars, they make me feel like I'm locked in a death trap.
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Old 06-14-2013, 03:27 PM   #15
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I get impatient when I drive. I miss lane splitting
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