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Riding With Conscious

Jennifer Walz

Thursday evening, the night before Neill Townsend was killed while riding his bike; I was sitting with two of my friends telling them how, for this first time since I started riding regularly, I was afraid.

I had just finished up a really bad week with three close calls. The second incident involved a lady willing to nearly cause an accident with another vehicle in her determination to scare me into thinking she was going to run me over. She lives in my neighborhood, which only adds to my unease. The third was a woman who cut into the bike lane in an attempt to pass a car that was stopping (at a stop sign!) in front of her. She nearly took me out, and then she yelled at me for being in her way. And where was I? In the bike lane. Where I’m supposed to be. My safety, my very life, was of little consequence to her.

Needless to say, I’ve been a little nervous lately.

Then Friday morning, at work, I read on the Chicago Tribune website that a cyclist had been hit and killed not a mile and a half away. His name had not yet been released.

The day before, I was in the copy room at the same time as one of the attorneys that I work with.

“I heard you’ve had a pretty rough week,” he said as he gathered some papers from the printer.