I started to write this over in the licensing thread and realized it's a bigger picture issue than just bike licensing but may well be at the root of the opposition we're experiencing both to bike lanes as well as day to day on the roads.
What, I think, people like Walker and other supporters need to realize when it comes to licensing also is that nobody thinks that people shouldn't learn the rules of the road. And, I suspect, most of the average cyclists on the road - even those breaking laws know what they are and are choosing to take a risk just as 90% of drivers do when exceeding the speed limit or doing the same rolling stop they chastise us for.
But it highlights something for me that perhaps is my own personal windmill to tilt at: perception. How do we improve perception of cyclists as a group? Sure, I'd say most folks I know know and follow the rules of the road, do their best to be visible, share the road as best they can with drivers. But still we're judged by what I think is a small minority of people who ride bikes. I suppose getting more of us out there helps because more people know someone that they respect who is also a cyclist but at the same time so many folks are *not* going out there because of driver attitudes and the risks associated with it.
I kind of liked the 'cyclist profiles' that Spacing was doing for a while but it almost seems like those are only being read by people who are sympathetic to begin with. I'd love to see a mainstream newspaper take that one on, for example.
What are your ideas? If we, as a group, had our own PR firm, how would we accomplish this massive re-branding?