Look I know it shouldn’t, but it does. My city wasn’t designed with bicycle infrastructure in place and accordingly, bike lanes go in and out and disappear for stretches of road – leaving you exposed with cars cutting you off and driving closely.
If I lived in a magical utopian society with cars and bikes existing in equally separate but happy lives, I’d probably be ok – but that’s not Melbourne.
About 3 years ago I was riding my bike near a primary school and I had someone throw a half full bottle of coca cola at my head from a car passenger window and scream that I was a ‘fat cunt’ out the window. The bottle hit me in the back of the head, I fell off my bike and I later had to to go to the hospital with a mild concussion.
I had had no previous interaction with this car and was quietly riding along with no issues on a Saturday morning.
When I went to the police I found out that some other cyclist had been attacked the same day whilst riding down a road which had a speed limit of 80 km/h out of the bicycle lane. We never caught the person doing it. The police were warm, comforting and helpful though and were listing all the possible offences they’d arrest the suspect for (including ‘littering’ which I particularly enjoyed)
I have gotten back on the bike, but the fear has never truly left me.
I do plan on tackling my reliance on cars as I do use my car pretty regularly, but it will most likely be one of the last things I tackle this year. I still regularly commute by train, tram, bus and walk a lot as well, but bike will be lower on my priority list for now.