In many US cities, bicycling is already the most enjoyable form of transportation, in my humble opinion. However, bicycle infrastructure is horridly absent across the country, thanks to funding for bicycle infrastructure being absurdly low compared to funding for automobile infrastructure.
The sad thing is that many policymakers in cities and counties around the country think it's completely acceptable to have a few bike lanes here and there and just let them get cut off, forcing bikers into automobile traffic (often rather suddenly). Such horrible infrastructure is a bitter joke to bicyclists in a many a jurisdiction. Thanks to Steve Patrick Adams for highlighting the absurdity of this in a way the average person can understand in the cartoon above. And thanks to Steve for giving TreeHugger permission to share it.
The really funny (read: sad) thing is that many a US city puts in a few very intermittent off-road bike lanes that get cut off in just the way portrayed above, and then think that they have become a progressive, bike-friendly city. A few nice bike lanes scattered around the city that offer brief refuge from traffic and then just throw you into the middle of it do not make a bicycle-friendly city.But policymakers aren't the only ones who get complacent about bicycle infrastructure after a few improvements. Often, bicyclists will say, "well, it's the best they can do," or, "look how much better the city is for bicycling!" As much as people wouldn't accept roadways designed like the one in the cartoon, bicyclists (and policymakers) really shouldn't be content with bike infrastructure designed in such a way. Another cartoon, one designed by Copenhagenize, captures this point really well:
Closing out with one more image, that bar on the far right of the following chart needs to grow 5 times over (or much more, to catch up with decades of negligence), and municipalities also need to start taking bike infrastructure more seriously. Is the language, and are such expectations, too strong? Or have we just gotten too used to accepting sub-standard bicycle infrastructure and funding?