On the front page of the weekly admag is an article about a woman who fears her children’s lives are being put at risk by careless drivers speeding past as they travel to school. How terrible, I thought; there is nothing that makes me angrier than cars speeding by, too close, when I am walking the dog and have to use lanes where there are no pavements. Then I read that she takes her children to school in a small cart, pulled by a Shetland pony. What?! Has it not occurred to her that she might be the one putting her children’s lives at risk? Will those children grow up respecting their mother for standing her ground over this eccentric but eco-friendly mode of transport, or will they shudder to think what might have happened? This is her choice, not theirs, whilst their schoolmates’ parents probably select vehicles for their safety data. If she smokes, does she share cigarettes with her children? Unlikely, I think.
I have occasionally used a bike around country lanes and felt nervous when someone drives round a bend too fast. It’s not so bad on foot – you can jump on the verge or press against the hedge, but on a bike you feel at the mercy of drivers who are under pressure to achieve timed deliveries and have been stuck behind a tractor for the last couple of miles. Of course, there are safety measures you can employ, such as wearing protective clothing – and I think those plastic flags are a good idea – you know, the ones that stick out at the side to make the bike wider and more visible. At this time of year when verges and hedgerows are overgrown, cyclists are particularly vulnerable, and so I was amazed last week to drive (slowly and carefully) round a bend in a lane to see a cyclist in front of me towing a little carriage with a baby in it. What a cock!