The Lady Biker.
Angel came from a close-knit family of 7 siblings. Being the youngest and the only girl, she said she always found herself competing with her brothers for her father’s attention. She would be involved in all the sports and activities the boys were involved, during their growing up years. As an adolescent, she was into basketball, football, hockey, and athletics. In her 20s, she saved enough to buy herself a motorbike, just like all her brothers had done earlier. She confessed that she was more ‘tomboyish’ in her younger days, and although she had kept her hair longer since graduating from university as an engineer, jeans were still her favourite wear. On her motorcycle, in her leather jacket and jeans, with her hair under a helmet, it would have been difficult identifying her as the odd one out in a group of male bikers. Angel was an intelligent, independent and self-assured young lady.
Motorbike racing was a regular past time for Angel, especially on weekends, when a group, including a few of her brothers, would flock to the Malaysian highways. Occasionally, Malaysian bikers would join them for these races. One evening, a series of races were scheduled around mid-night. The bikers broke up into smaller groups and raced each other for certain segments of the highway. Angel found herself in a group where she knew no one. One of her brothers, Tom, was in another group that would race after her’s took off. It was a stretch of the highway that she had been on before. Halfway through the race, her peripheral vision caught sight of two of the bikers closely trailing her. Coming off a bend, the two bikes behind her drew alongside her and taunted her. One bike suddenly speeded up and rammed her from behind. The other pulled parallel beside her and attempted to run her off the road. She accelerated, but they caught up, and repeated their taunts and dangerous manoeuvres. Her focus over their antics distracted her from another bend further along the highway. She was coming to it too fast. She could not slow, as the bike behind her was too close. As she took the bend, she lost control, and her bike skidded across the highway. She heard the two guys laughed as they sped on, out of sight. Fortunately, no other vehicles were behind them when the accident occurred. 15 minutes later, Tom passed by and saw Angel by the roadside, in shock. Angel suffered only minor bruises. Nobody knew the two perpetrators.
That incident traumatised Angel. It did not stop her motorcycling, but it degraded her confidence level whenever she found herself riding at night – increasing the level of her hypervigilance substantially. Flashbacks of her accident, and nightmares of her skidding occurred regularly. Whenever she stopped at a red light, she would glance furtively and repeatedly at the other motorcycle riders, attempting to make out whether she would recognise them as the culprits that caused her accident. Invariably, when the lights changed, she was always the first one to accelerate away from the other riders, and she made sure she left the others far behind her. She felt exhausted after reaching home after work each day, with recurring tension headaches. Our first appointment for Angel’s post-traumatic stress was 5 months after her riding accident.