However, as we all know, I am in love with the northern European model of bicycle infrastructure - the separated bike lanes that follow main roads. Here in Austin, we have a few designated bike lanes that are separated from the driving infrastructure, but are still part of the road. The primary two are along 4th street in Downtown, and the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a paved two-way bike boulevard along Cesar Chavez Blvd. To all drivers who describe cyclists in the terms above - when the correct infrastructure is present, you are hard pressed to find the average cyclist in the road. Why would we? There's a safe, dedicated spot that goes to the same place, from which I can access the same businesses and amenities, all without feeling the brush of death on the back of your neck.
I'm becoming convinced most American vehicular cyclists have the equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome - we've been held hostage and abused by traffic for so long, we don't know how to react when all that emphasis on bike handling skills, timing, and hyperawareness of our environment suddenly goes away. A separated bike lane feels so free, so friendly.
However, it's important that when we install infrastructure like this, it's done intelligently. To put it mildly, the roads of Austin are not made for the traffic volume they're currently experiencing. And I have no idea where to put all these people - our cities in America are only so dense, so the distances we must travel are (as much as I hate to admit it) far enough that sometimes your only choice is to drive. But when they put in infrastructure for bikes somewhere anyone would want to go, it gets used. My favorite example of this is the train. The two most southerly stations along the Cap Metro Rail are both in heavily trafficked areas by bikes. The largest number of bikes I've ever seen in my train car was 23 - also known as "a hazardous number in case of an emergency".
Among my favorite separated accomodations are pedestrian bridges. My most beloved here in town is Pfluger bridge, which crosses Town Lake just east of Lamar Blvd. Everything about it cries out livability, and I am including it both for it's practicality and beauty.