It is widely thought that cyclists should be segregated from the traffic for safety's sake. This appears logical, since most road cycling injuries are due to motor traffic. It is a naive conclusion. Segregation protects the cyclist from only a rare accident — being hit from behind — at the expense of increasing other risks and reducing convenience. International research shows that segregation multiplies the risks threefold to fivefold, even in countries such as the Netherlands, where it is traditional. The promotion of danger has scared many cyclists out of the traffic, merely to put them at greater risk on pavements and “safe” cycle routes.
Experienced cyclists already know that the road system is by far the safest national cycle network that will ever exist. Cyclists and drivers are not enemies; each has something to offer the other in a civilised road environment. Cyclists should tackle the risks just as in a car, by acquiring a high standard of road craft.
Malcolm J Wardlaw, Three Lessons for a Better Cycling Future, British Medical Journal