I just watched an interesting film called Grizzly Man. I started a thread about it in books and movies but I soon realized that there is a relationship between this film and cycling.
In the documentary, Tim Treadwell lives with bears in Alaska for 15 seasons before he is eventually eaten by one of them. It is a very stirring film, that really caused me to think about the relationship between real danger and perceived danger.
Many people were interviewed in the film and said he got what he deserved. I pretty much agree, because I think living with Bears and walking among them is very dangerous. But I never lived with them for 15 years. So what do I know?
I also know a lot of people that don't ride and consider cycling very dangerous. Some are even in my own family. It is scary to watch people simplify a person's death by saying they got what they deserved. Sure it seems like Tim Treadwell deserved to be eaten by bears to you and me. However we didn't spend thousands and thousands of harmless hours with the bears either.
Much like spending thousands of hours on a bike before a motorist takes what used to be your safe and healthy acivity and turns it into something that appears foolish and dangerous. It just takes the one incident and your legacy can be tarnished forever. Like i stated in the other thread, it is very scary to think of people speaking publicly (or privately for that matter) about you and saying you got what you deserved because you were being foolish.
I know that most people wouldn't say this about a cyclist, but don't kid yourself. I bet you can think of someone right now that would probably say that about you if you were killed. I can think of a few in my own family that might. For some reason, the thought of that is far more frightening than the thought of being killed.