full blog entry at http://www.planetizen.com/node/38963
by Ian Sacs
"Finally, with the installation of bike lanes, it is true as Mr. Oswald says, that “Fools rush in!”. But I contend that fools are exactly what we want: people new to biking, choosing that mode over a car, and learning how to share the road as bicyclists rather than drivers. Yes, a strong education and safety program is equally important, but welcoming new bicyclists to the street is most desirable because, as concluded in study after study, the most powerful way to reduce bicycle/vehicle fatalities and increase driver awareness of bicycles is by getting more bikes on the road, commonly referred to as the "Safety in Numbers" effect.
Bike lanes are not a safety device, they are a bullhorn. In a future where the message is implicit, bike lanes may be unnecessary. But for now, despite not being a perfect solution, they are an effective and important tool in the engineer’s toolbox, and should be used as such."