"Mentally I am really screwed up. I'm a safe rider and this was a calm afternoon and bike commute. Nothing I could have done different. Scary."and
"Bicycling, commuting & encouraging others to do the same is my life. I was just hurt badly by that lifestyle..not sure how to swallow that."I've never met Arleigh in the real world (the one with bikes and cars and roads and traffic) but we've traded bits and bytes and thoughts and pictures and I think of her as a kindred spirit, a fellow rider and a friend. I wanted to write a "it'll be OK, get back in the saddle, keep 'em rolling" kind of thing but as Arleigh noted, things like this are scary. Damn scary.
The notion that bicycling is too dangerous has been propagated to provide an excuse for those who feel guilty for not cycling to work. About 24 times as many people die on stairs and ladders as die on bicycles. Nonetheless, some motorists have terrible driving habits, especially when late for work. I suggest 1) starting a little early and 2) taking roads generally avoided by the rest of the traffic, 3) obeying all of the traffic laws, and 4) keeping alert at all times. Read my articles on Is Cycling Dangerous? and How to Ride in Traffic.
If the real problem is not that cycling is too dangerous but that you are afraid, remember that fear of doing anything new is quite normal and healthy. While I was a construction worker, I was assigned to working in an area high above the ground with only narrow forms to walk on. For three days I crawled around until I adjusted to the height, and I was only well-adjusted by the end of the week. At that time while we were talking during lunch, I thanked everyone for not laughing at me, because I surely would have quit. But one of the carpenders said, "Hell, we were all crawling around on our first day up here." The way to get over your fear is by gradually acquiring experience by riding on the weekends. Get used to traffic gradually, and get the wobble out of your riding, before you try to ride to work. That's what all of us experienced cyclists once had to do.