I am biking to work more and more often as the weather warms up. I work in a laboratory in a suburb of Boston where the employer and the employees embrace the bicycle as an alternative to the car to a degree exceeded only on campuses. I have bike commuted for years though not to the exclusion of driving. My all-weather biking days are behind me. My route to work includes some shoulderless potholed two lane and plenty of motor traffic. I have always stood for my rights as a cyclist and ridden on the road as provided for by the state laws. The tallest steepest hill in town is on a road that crosses the one divided four-lane that transects our town but it is the only sensible route for my commute. Going down the hill, I go nearly 40 mph, but the cars will still try to pass me in spite of the 30 mph speed limit. When I go home, the cars zip around me as I labor up the hill. One day a few weeks ago, I just up and swerved into a driveway at the foot of the hill and rode up the hill on the sidewalk. Well, to be exact, we rather fittingly call them "roadside pathes" as most roads don't have them, they are typically situated on the other side of a low stone wall from the road and they are deserted and unkempt except near the schools.
I don't remember all the crackle and static of thought that ran through my head as I took to the path, but some of it was "well heck, what is with this pride of not riding on a side walk when I am going so slow anyway?" I've never ridden there before. By the time I got to the top of the hill a long three minutes later I had realized what turned my handle bars off the road. That morning an e-mail made the rounds at the office about the death of a long time staff researcher, a 30 year veteran cycle commuter who had been run over by an SUV a few days earlier on his ride to work.
You don't always know why you do something in the moment you do it.
Risk is a measure of potential that can change its percieved weight rapidly and without much consciousness involved.
Fear is conserved not absolutely as momentum is but as energy is conserved: it merely changes form.