Been visiting the forum since I took up bike riding in early November. It is obvious there are a lot of people pretty passionate about bicycling which I consider a good thing but I have also noticed that this passion can override common sense as to where it is safe to ride. A bad thing.
Yes I know the law says that bicycles have the same rights and responsibility's as other vehicles but lets face it the reality and common sense dictates otherwise.
In my community there are several 4,5 and 6 lane roads that were constructed prior to the inclusion of bike lanes and or bikeable shoulders that are simply unsafe for everyone when a bike is tossed into there use. People in cars do not hate bicyclist or even give it any thought except when they see someone on a bike on these particular roads. Being detached from the cycling community all they can think is "this dude must be crazy". I hate to admit it here but I tend to agree with them.
The good news as far as my town gos is that when upgrades are made bike lanes are now included. This will probably be true for most communitys. As this happens these roads become usable for bicyclist with relative safety.
So IMO the debate boils down to this. Common sense and a little patience as upgrades to the infrastructure are made to accommodate the growing number of people using bikes as there primary mode of transportation.
If all goes well our grandchildren will never have to debate half the things we debate here as bike lanes will be the norm and not the exception. From our rocking chairs we will tell them that when we were there age we had no bike lanes, had to ride in traffic and the trip was uphill both ways into the wind. There response will be "grandpa you must have been crazy" and they will be right.