Location is Belgium.
I stopped seriously riding my bike about 5 years ago. At the time, I used my bike for commuting to work for about 9 km one way. The main reason I stopped was because the timing and route of my commute brought me through various situations that I did not enjoy at all:
- My home is within 100 meters of a high school, and during my morning commute, I had to drive on a bidirectional bike lane which leads to this school. However, I rode away from the school right during the rush of students riding to the school. These students often drove side by side on this lane, while there was only barely enough room to comfortably pass each other on the lane. There were multiple times where I skimmed the shrubbery on the right side of the lane very closely, almost to the point of crashing into it.
- Midway through the commute, I had to drive on another bidirectional path with barely enough room for comfortable passing of oncoming traffic. However, in this case the non-street side was a foot deep open sewer with a lot of overgrowth on the other side. There were some places which had regular growths of hogweed at roughly handle height. Hogweed, for those unaware, is a plant that can cause inflammatory reactions if it comes into contact with the skin. The street side wasn't much better: there were a lot of parked cars, some parked so close to the lane that at times I had to swerve to avoid running into a side mirror. In addition, the lane was VERY poorly lit at night and even somehow had a sign partially obstructing it about halfway through. To top it all off, in order to get on this lane, I had to go through a bike tunnel under an elevated highway and take a 90° turn left, both sides of the bike lane obscured by the sides of the tunnel.
- About 500 meters before I arrived at work, I get to another bidirectional bike lane. this one was short, but it was a VERY curvy path where you can't go fast, it's again barely big enough for 2 bikes to pass each other, you can't see around corners because of a 2 meter high hedge on both sides and it's quite busy. I again had a few incidents with skimming or even landing in the hedge on the side because I had to evade an oncoming biker I didn't see coming.
- Along the entire path, there were a couple times I had to cross intersections with no traffic lights, some of them quite busy. I had 2 incidents at one of these intersections, one of which severe enough that my back wheel got bent out of shape and I had to bring my bike in for repairs.
- Finally, a lot of cyclists along this way were really driving quite dangerously. I've already mentioned the teenage cyclists driving side by side on a lane that isn't wide enough for that, but there are others: cyclists who don't use a light at night (though I sometimes made this mistake too) or actually a blindingly bright light; cyclists overtaking other cyclists on busy lanes; Cyclists that drive too close to the center of the lane to safely pass them; cyclists that are using their phone while cycling and aren't paying attention; Cyclists that cycle very slowly in a lane where you can't safely overtake them; Even people walking their dogs on the bicycle lane.
All of this and more at the time really gave me a whole lot of anxiety about cycling, in addition to the higher amount of stress I was already experiencing from working a day job that fit poorly with my autism. I already wasn't too keen on cycling and running into these problems on a daily basis really caused me panic, stress, anxiety and so on, to the point that almost exactly 5 years ago, I gave up on riding my bike to work and switched to public transport. Since then I only rode my bike recreationally, and even then only incidentally.
I don't plan on cycling again in the foreseeable future, but if I were to one day start cycling again, what can I do to reduce the chance that I run into these issues again?