Wow. That is pretty deep. Not sure the circumstances of the crash, so I can’t comment on that. But, certainly riding within your ability, and being very aware of your surroundings is important.
I do all kinds of riding, and gravel is probably the safest – although I do get my share of scrapes (its just how I roll). But it doesn’t have the obstacles and crash potential of mountain biking, nor does it have the speed or traffic of road riding (unless you are bombing downhill on gravel).
Gravel does have low traction – so that is certainly something to be respectful of. I think most anything is manageable with experience and a heads up attitude. The biggest problem I see with gravel riding is drafting or following close – because you can’t read the road well. Following someone close on a downhill is how most people get flats (or crash). I tend to side draft when I’m going those speeds – following someone, but off to the side enough where I can read the road and avoid holes/rocks/etc.
I race on the velodrome at high speeds with no brakes. To some that sounds crazy, but its one of the safer forms of biking. Our track people have good discipline, don’t let people get away with sloppy riding, and it’s a very controlled environment. No one is going to do anything sudden or slam on their brakes – and of course no traffic or surprises around the next corner, lol. It is very smooth and even meditative.
I’ve been commuting by bike since 1975. That sound crazy to some, but I’ve learned what to look for. I basically assume most cars are going to try to hit me – which isn’t far from the truth since cell phones became prevalent. So, I make sure they see me, or I assume they are going to hit me. So far it has worked for 45 years.
For you, keep riding. Understand your limits and when/where you need to be more vigilant. You are not necessarily assuming more risk as your skill and fitness increase – as long as you are also learning to be aware and of your limitations at the same time.
The time when I do see that as a problem is if you take a strong road biker and throw them on the velodrome or cross or some other sub-discipline (or stick a mountain biker in a road paceline) – If one is strong and experienced at one aspect of the sport – they need to be humble enough to learn the subtleties of the other discipline (and humility isn’t a strong suite of a certain sub genre of cyclist).
Does that help?