This cyclist is riding on a 25mph road next to a narrow lane that just went though a pinch point—making it even narrower. He’s staying dutifully to the right of a white fog line where the pavement width varies from a foot and a half to a few inches. Pinned to the edge of the road, he is constantly at a disadvantage. This cyclist experiences constant conflicts which confirm his fear of cars. He can only go where quiet streets take him—making cycling a limited and hardly-useful means of transportation.
This cyclist is riding assertively on the service road beside the High Five interchange in Dallas (one of our nation’s most stunning monuments to the automobile). This cyclist is confident. As a result, she experiences very few conflicts, close calls or violations of her right-of-way. She is not superhuman or a daredevil, she simply understands how traffic works and how she can integrate safely into it. She is empowered with access to the destinations of her choice. She sees cycling as a useful, enjoyable, economical form of transportation.
If you want to establish cycling as a vibrant and sustainable means of transportation, create more of her.
If you want cycling to be accepted as a normal part of the traffic mix, create more of her.
If you want to increase civility toward cyclists, create more of her.
If you want to dispel the notion that all cyclists are scofflaws, create more of her.
If you want to reduce the crash rates which increase the perception that cycling is dangerous, create more of her.
If you want to force motorists to pay more attention to the roadway, create more of her.
If you want to avoid an endless spiral of dependence on expensive infrastructure and the perception of cyclists as a demanding special interest, create more of her.
If you want to promote cycling in the most ethical and beneficial-to-cyclists way, create more of her.