A few weeks ago I wrote (okay, maybe whined a little) about my choice to drive to what were really eminently bikeable locations. Today I saw a headline about the traffic and riots and civil liberties disasters going on in Vancouver. In a moment of unwarranted optimism thought: hey, I bet the cyclists are happier than the poor schnooks still driving or trying to take a public transit system that clearly wasn't ready. And they are!
Vancouver already has an active cycling population. This huge event has made cycling's advantages: personal freedom, the small space required to park at a destination, frequently designated lanes and the ability to maneuver out of stalled traffic, much greater than a car's normal advantages. The result is that people who might not otherwise be pedaling are out and discovering its advantages.
Maybe this answers my question from before: how to make the active transportation an easier choice. Make the default option harder. I'm thinking that some of the deterrents I listed, including fear of being accosted because you're alone out there, are less of an issue. If a lot more people are out on bikes, it would be a lot harder for muggers to operate.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Olympics pan out for cyclists. Yup. I'm a transportation nerd.