Jason Clevenger's TAB op-ed raises another interesting point:
By running red lights and disregarding general traffic law, these cyclists are giving all of us a bad reputation, and possibly preventing additional investment in infrastructure to support a greater number of cyclists on our roadways.
As a statement of fact, I think that Mr. Clevenger is probably right. At least one alderman has said to me that she's disinclined to support better bike facilities until bikers are more law-abiding.
But, given the public forum to opine about bike safety, it's a curious position to take. If you want more law-abiding bicyclists, the best route is to increase the number of bikers on the road. The bicyclists most willing to ride without bike accommodations -- mixing it up in traffic -- are the least law-abiding, most risk-seeking. Mr. Clevenger might have re-assured folks who are concerned about bike scofflaws that the solution isn't to leave the roads to the spandex-clad crazies, but to encourage the less crazy. Every rider you add to the roads is, almost by definition, going to help solve the problem.
Mr. Clevenger's comment, however, suggests an interesting alternative universe, one in which funding for large bridge and road projects depends on motorists compliance with the rules of the road.