How do I keep finding myself here?

From this evening's protest (photo credit: London Cycling Campaign)

From this evening’s protest (photo credit: London Cycling Campaign)

Two years ago, when the news broke that a female cyclist in her 30s had been killed at Bow roundabout, my dad says his first thought was that it was me.

My parents tend to keep their fears to themselves, so I didn’t actually find this out until it had been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was alive and well – in other words, after I’d phoned them. Equally, while I’m sure the news this past week has had my mum lying awake at night worrying about me, I haven’t heard a peep out of them.

Because, let’s face it, for the parent of a cyclist in London, this has not been a good week.
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CS2: Lane of the Brave?

Cycle superhighway 2

Cycle superhighway 2 (By Felix O (Barclays cycle superhighway no 2, Mile end. e1) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

“God you’re so brave, cycling in London. I could never do that. I’d be afraid I’d get myself knocked off, or killed.”

I can’t tell you how many times people have said that to me, or words to that effect. Tens. Hundreds, maybe.

I used to get mildly annoyed when someone tried to tell me I was a hero for doing something as ordinary as riding a bike. I used to think if they could stop being such scaredy cats, they’d see it was really quite simple: you just get on the bike and pedal. OK, you have to pay attention to the traffic around you, but you learn to do that quickly enough. I mean, if I can do it, then anyone can.

These days, though, I’m starting to think they may have a point. Continue reading