I'm not going to nominate these people for morons of the week, and I'm not recanting on my longheld position that sharing the road is more logical, cost-efficient and comprehensive than any form of off-road and segregated cycling infrastructure, BUT...
I had the occasion to be in the Niagara area over the past few days and spent some time on the Niagara Parkway. The Niagara Parkway, with its beautiful views of the Niagara River and its obvious importance as the link between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and the tourist communities between, should be a well-surfaced road.
From a cyclist's perspective, it's not. From Niagara-on-the-Lake to Fort Erie, there are crumbling road edges, potholes and those always-annoying tarry strips that run parallel to the road surface. It is not the worst road surface in Canada for cycling, but it is clearly not in the first rank of the best road surfaces. It is also a really narrow two-lane road.
Generally adjacent to the Niagara Parkway is a multi-use trail. Hardpacked gravel surface. I saw a few sections with potholes, but generally (probably because its traffic is pedestrians and cyclists) in pretty decent shape. Yet I continued to see cyclists who dared the crumbling road edges to take their rightful place on the road.
No, I didn't stop to ask if they were making a political statement. Some of them were clearly out for training rides. Is there some Law of the Lycra-clad that says training rides must be done on roads?
I have to think that cyclists are, above all, pragmatic. Hey, that's why we ride bicycles in the first place. So when there is a clearly safer, smoother and equally convenient alternative to a so-so road, why share the road? Let the motorists have it!