In terms of writing, it seems like it tries to sound too scholarly and technical, which makes it hard to follow. Unfortunately, many teachers and professors tend to discourage conversational language in papers, so I'm not sure what to suggest.
In terms of content, it's a good discussion. But your essay leaves the reader hanging in terms of the chicken/egg or Catch-22 problem cyclists are caught in. There's plenty of information on how to make the streets safer for bicycles, and plenty of ideas for carrots and sticks to make drivers treat us better.
The bottom line, as you start to suggest, is that politicians don't take us seriously because we don't have the numbers, power, or money to put their feet to the fire. I'd say there aren't enough of us not because we've been excluded from traffic, but due to factors like cheap fuel, high standards of living, and our cultural obsession with cars.
If you wanted to stretch this into a term paper at some point, it would be interesting to see a deeper exploration of more bike-friendly European countries as well as some 3rd world countries where the much higher percentage of bicycles on the road forces the issue.
If your essay can provide concrete ideas to make it happen for us politically, that would be interesting. As far as I can tell, it will only happen if economics or lack of resources somehow force a large number of people to use their bikes, since the auto is far too convenient for the average person to resist. The only other way I see is to sell it as a child-safety issue, and get all the voting and taxpaying soccer parents on board.