Some things about being on the road scare the crap out of me!
I wish the possibility of something terrible happening could escape my mind, but it's there whenever I'm on a bicycle. When I am on my own, I always stop at intersections -- even on the most rural streets. I'm a lot more cautious now than I remember being as a kid pedaling all over city streets. Safety wasn't at the forefront of my thoughts back then. I just wanted to get to my destination, and bicycle was how I got there.
Maybe it's that I haven't spent much of my adult life on two wheels -- with the exception of time spent on a designated bicycle path. There, I felt pretty safe, in spite of the numerous walkers with dogs, rollerbladers, and children happily unaware of the rule about staying to the right. It's just that on the bike path, there's the comfort of knowing there wasn't going to be heavy objects on four wheels whizzing by, easily capable of flattening out me and my bicycle like a pancake.
My other fear-factor is revolves around the fact that I am now taking a prescription for a blood thinner. I've seen Facebook photos of cyclists after a fall, and the full length body scrapes I'm sure would be a larger problem for me.
But all-in-all, when I balance the overall health benefits of cycling with the inherent risks, I don't want to give up the riding. I don't want to live in fear.
On the back of our tandem, I place my utmost trust in my Captain. He brought me into the world of serious cycling, and I've hungrily accepted his guidance all along.
However, David is a speed enthusiast by nature. Although I was scared crap on our first few fast and straight downhill descents on the tandem together, I made a promise to him and myself that I would not scream. And I will not ever, ever punch him in the back! I will admit to closing my eyes on occasion. :)
Three years into it now, whenever I am with David, I feel a greater sense of safety than when I am riding alone. But still, we have had a few close calls. In recent weeks, these have been with motorists making a right-hand turn in front of us. I've held my breath while David makes a split second decision on how to react.
Ride safely. Encourage motorists to be aware.