Ben’s World: Knocking down kids, checking out genitals

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The T&C content editor’s monthly column: “She would have been a lot more threatening if she didn’t then turn around and walk into a shop sign”

We shopped and gossiped. We swung the little girl around by her arms. And we laughed as she jumped up and down on the musical steps.

It was ace. And whoever brought the musical steps to town is a genius - I’d advocate all of Bedford’s pavements being musical if they weren’t so slippy after it’s been raining.

But little did I realise that this day would result, some time later, in my having tiny genitals.

Which was a surprise.

> As we walked around town that day, my mate’s little girl was knocked over by a cyclist.

The guy on the bike was enormously apologetic. He wasn’t a complete idiot, so he stopped immediately to check she was okay.

My mate’s little girl was a bit shaken, but nothing worse.

My mate doesn’t like confrontations, so she accepted his apology. It wasn’t really my place to stick my oar in so I stayed quiet.

As the bloke left though, he did something a bit odd. He got off his bike and walked away with it. I watched him wander off, and I also noticed how many little kids, pets, and so on, we have on busy days in the town centre.

Which made me think: It was almost as though the council ought to have some sort of rule, where in really busy pedestrianised areas you’re not allowed to ride your bike.

> Nowadays, when I see someone riding their bike in the town I will stop them and politely tell them that they’re not supposed to do so.

I don’t do this everywhere. Just in Harpur Street, Silver Street and Midland Road. That’s where the traffic regulation order applies to.

(I like to do my research)

I think that I’m pretty polite when I do it. You tend to lose any moral authority if you swear or shout or are aggressive. Plus it’s a waste of energy. Energy that could be used for jumping up and down on the musical steps.

Most people just apologise and get off their bikes. Some may not realise that there are rules against riding their bikes in those streets.

And if it’s a deserted town centre, in the early evening for example, I usually can’t be arsed to say anything.

So this week’s column goes out to the scraggly bright-orange-haired girl who didn’t agree with me last week.

A girl who tried riding her bike into me when I mentioned this to her. Who told me that I must have a tiny willy (she didn’t use the word “willy”). And who told me to “watch my back”.

It would have been a scary threat. But unfortunately for her she then walked into a shop sign.

Nonetheless, I am terrified. But I’d rather watch my back than have to watch out for little kids minding their own business in our town, only to be knocked over by adult cyclists who really ought to know better.