Imagine how much money is wasted by these urban planners. I am guessing that these paths are token gestures thrown out there to use up the miserly budgets alloted to alternative transport and to allow city councils to stand up at the year-end report and legitimately claim that something concrete (or tarmac!) has indeed been done to ease traffic congestion.
Toastmaster: Ladies & Gentlemen - and, er, oh, yes, cyclists - pray silence for the President of the Royal Society for Putting in Better Bicycle Routes in Urban Centres.
(There is much upper class applause and banging on the table as Sir William Dunlop-Pennyfarthing rises to his feet.)
Sir William: I thank you, ladies & gentlemen, and, er, intrepid veloists. The year has been a good one for the Society (hear, hear). This year our members have put in more square inches of bicycle routes than ever before. But, I should warn you, this is no time for complacency. No, there are still many more inches required if these paths are to provide cyclists with yards and yards of almost safe, nearly-negotiable substandard macadamized wayfare, and I cannot emphasize this too strongly. Not to provide these poor creatures with a safe route past a bus stop, or a quick by-pass around the local traffic bollard or zebra crossing is simply cruel and unusual. I myself, in my zealous quest to provide better stewardship for our fine city, personally oversaw the development of thirty-two feet of bicycle route along the Islington By-pass this year. Of course, I am sure that inconvenienced drivers will learn to live with terrible loss of almost an entire foot from the width of the outside traffic lane. (cries of shame!) Yes, shame indeed, but we must not allow ourselves to become too despondent. Bicycles are here to stay, I am afraid, and we must learn to make way for them. For, we must never forget that if there was adequate provision for the safe and equitable use of bicycles on our countries highways and byways, our admirable society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men & women who gather together annually for no better purpose than to eat fine British beef and drink excellent French claret. But, as you can see, we flourish. This year our American cousins and the various organizations affiliated to our illustrious society put in no fewer than 8,896 consecutive centimeters of bicycle routes in over thirty-two different American cities! (tremendous applause) Well done all of you on the other side of the pond! But there is one cloud on the horizon. In this last year our Staffordshire branch has not succeeded in putting in a single inch of bicycle lane (shame!). Therefore, I call upon our Staffordshire delegate to explain this strange behaviour.
(As Sir William sits a meek man met at one of the side tables.)
Mr Recumbent: Er, Recumbent of Staffordshire. Um ... well, Mr Chairman, it's just that most of the members in Staffordshire feel... the whole thing's a bit silly.
(Cries of outrage. Chairman leaps to feet.)
Sir William: Silly?! SILLY!! (he pauses and thinks) Silly! I suppose it is, a bit. What have we been doing wasting our lives with all this nonsense (hear, hear). Right, okay, meeting adjourned for ever.