Four boys as I leave the entrance to my estate. Four boys, two on bikes, one missing his front teeth – milk teeth, probably. As the door slams shut behind me, one kicks at the row of Boris Bikes. A rehearsed kick, stamping down hard, eyes on target, trying to knock off the rear reflector – adding another to the plastic debris littering the road nearby. Another red gem that refracts the light of the sky or streetlights, made a redundant distraction, making no-one visible, protecting no-one.
What I should have said:
They would have tried to get away.
“Hey, wait a second. I want to tell you something.”
They would have stopped at a distance, wary, tensed for fight or flight.
“Look, I don’t care about the mayor or Barclays and their stupid sponsorship deal. I don’t care about these bikes. But if people are going to use them I do care about those lights. You know why? Because I lost a friend cycling on the streets of London. She died under the wheels of a lorry. And so anything that helps keep cyclists safe is important. OK? Understand what I’m saying?”