Scott Carlson explains why the two groups are so at odds:
Seeing cyclists blow stop signs and ride with their hands off the handlebars really irks [Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists]. "It doesn’t help our cause to be seen as scofflaws." At the same time, he says, "I can understand why people behave the way they do on a bike, because the system isn’t set up to help them."
That’s the understatement of the week. Mia Birk, an urban planner in Portland, Ore., who specializes in bike issues, says most rule-breaking by bicyclists is the result of poor design. The few people willing to brave the streets on bikes "have to be road warrior types because bikeway infrastructure stinks," she says in an email.