The question itself, who owns the roads, is one that shouldn’t need to be asked.
However, even though bikes were here first, and the fact that the roads were paved for bikes, we must be generous and admit that cars are not without their rights as well.
The problem is that the car manufacturers used their wealth and political clout to create laws which allowed cars to travel at dangerous speeds down city streets endangering cyclists and pedestrians alike.
Unfortunately the level of danger has caused many cyclists to adopt an adversarial attitude towards cars and the laws created to control them.
Now as the pendulum swings back in favor of humans and human-powered machines we have to realize that many carists don’t understand that they aren’t the chosen ones.
Take for instance the shared road or “sharrow.” These markings were intended to remind carists that cyclists have as much rights to the road as they do. However some studies have shown that carists interpret the markings to mean that bikes are allowed on the road but should get out of the way if a car comes.
That may seem as logical as a Trump/Palin political speech madlib, but in some states the carists are trying to push bike literally off the road. They created legislation stating on narrow roads if a car approaches from behind the cyclist must stop their bike, get off and walk their bike off the road. How do you argue with that kind of thinking?
In other places the carists, having already pushed cyclists on to the road’s shoulders, are making those shoulders unbikable by adding rumble strips. Rumble strips are designed to warn unconscious motorists that they are no longer in the travel lane.
But not all is doom and horn blasts. While the carists don’t want bike on “their” roads, one of their strategies is to build trails off in the wilderness for us to flock to.