This is probably worth its own thread (or may have been argued in multiple older threads that I can't find):
Do we have a chicken & egg problem? Many feel that ridership will increase if we invest in cycling-specific infrastructure, and point to cities like Copenhagen that have both high ridership and infrastructure investments. Build it and they will come goes the argument.
Or is it come and they will build it? Seems like, given how difficult it is to afford, drive, and park a car in Copenhagen, people would tend to prefer bicycles for their convenience, regardless of the infrastructure. And in that environment, it's easier to generate the political will and resources to invest in infrastructure that people already want?
I'm starting to come to the opinion that significantly more people will ride bicycles only when it is the most convenient alternative in terms of time and money. Not when it's safer, not when there is more infrastructure, but when it's faster and cheaper.
I think Portland is probably most the obvious counter example to my opinion, because it appears that they have invested in infrastructure and seen an increase of ridership. The question I'd have for Portland bicycle commuters is if their bicycle commute is faster and cheaper than commuting by car (or bus or train).