A few years ago I witnessed a young kid on a bike get hit and killed by a 4x4 coming out of a junction. The kid had just left his house, on his bike without a care in the world - and in a millisecond he was dead. The bullbars on the 4x4 hit his head and then pushed him forcibly into the tarmac of the road.
How has it changed me? From that day on I've worn a helmet (the kid was too but, but I didn't say any of this was logical). At traffic junctions I don't feel safe at I jump the lights. I also hate being referred to as "you cyclists" when we're just people on bikes. No more or less a genus than car drivers or brown haired people, just different folk with a shared interest.
I also for a while had serious anger issues. More than once I made (male) drivers cry when they realised after an initial confrontation that I could cycle at 30mph, they couldn't get away and I was intent on a fight. If I got a fright on the road I'd go off the deep end at the driver if they were anything other than utterly apologetic. At my peak fitness I looked fairly intimidating.
The anger stuff I'm utterly ashamed of. I got help and I'm now 'normal' grumpy again. The red lights and helmet? That's gonna stay.
All the reports of cyclists being killed/rope traps etc has really dragged up a lot of unpleasant memories for me. Just wondering if any of you guys have had similar life changing moments that'll be forever tied to your bike and your behaviour?