I don’t want that news to one day be about me

Gosh I’m angry. I may regret writing.

This morning, shortly after waking, I heard some news. It wasn’t about anyone close to me. It involved a family, of which I’ve met the mother once. The father had died; suddenly and way before his time.

I desperately don’t want to make some kind of political point out of this tragedy. But I do want to tell you what subsequently happened this morning, and how I felt about it.  I’m not going to say what I think should be done. You can make your own minds up.

Because of that news, I approached the morning with a renewed sense of the preciousness of life, and of the importance of keeping myself, Isaac, and Sally safe. I’d already nearly shed a tear or two. My emotions were on edge before the day had properly started.

Despite grey clouds and a wet seat, I buckled Isaac up and, with helmets and lights on, we cycled, the quietest, safest way we know, to nursery.

On the way home, I confess, I’m a little cavalier because I don’t have a kid on the back. By which I mean (…drum roll…) I cycle (…here, it’s coming…) ON THE ROAD!

Yes. I know. Perhaps that’s something I need to change.

And today, while on the road, not one but two cars made dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. One as I navigated a small roundabout that exits on to a blind corner frequented by buses. One at a narrow bit of road as another car was coming the other way.

You could sense that both drivers got half way through the manoeuvre before realising something like:

  • Argh, what’s coming the other way?
  • Woah, that cyclist is going a bit quicker than I thought!
  • Gosh, there actually isn’t really room/time to do this safely!

There’s the slight pause in acceleration, a hesitation long enough for me to know that a decision is being made, then the swerve and pull-away once the driver’s decided that he may as well finish what he started as quickly as possible.

They were big, posh, expensive cars. A BMW and an Audi. It’s a gross and wholly unscientific generalisation for which the only data I have is my own recollection of previous incidents, but: they usually are.

I stopped. I physically stopped by the side of the road after the second incident. I considered my route, my clothes, my helmet, my bicycle, my road positioning. I considered whether I should be cycling at all.

I turned left, cycled the last few hundred yards home, opened the door, stepped inside, and cried.

I’m angry and sad.

I don’t want that news to one day be about me.