There’s a lively discussion taking place over at Cyclelicious on the subject of vehicular cycling versus separated bike lanes and bike paths. The author made the point that there is too much animosity in both camps, and that we’d do well to present a united front and work together for both.
For the uninitiated, here’s a little background.
Advocates for vehicular cycling believe bicycles should be ridden as vehicles on existing roads and that cyclists should be afforded the same rights and responsibilities as any other road user. They fear that increased acceptance of separated facilities may eventually lead to a complete ban of bicycles from our roadways.
On the other side, advocates for separated cycling facilities believe government should take the lead in developing infrastructure that separates cyclists from other road users as has been done in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. They believe that the fear of automobiles is one of the major obstacles to increasing bicycle use, and that bicycle use will not dramatically increase until more separated facilities are built.
For many years, advocates for vehicular cycling have dominated the conversation, but in recent years, advocates for separated facilities have gained ground, most likely due to the successes in Europe. I suspect that most cyclists in the U.S. haven’t given this much thought, and if asked, would fall somewhere in the middle ground between the two poles.
What are your thoughts on this sometimes hotly debated topic?