The infrastructure as we have it in Chicago and many other American cities cannot support any increases in bicycling. The operation and design of our infrastructure creates a finite limit for the number of people who will bicycle on it. I’m not talking about how many people can use it, but how many people want to use it.
We’ve seen infinitesimal growth in the bicycle’s mode share for commuting to work, so small that the growth might not actually be growth at all because all the reported increases are within the range of error (the Census Bureau being the collector and distributor of the data). Our infrastructure is not safe, and that is what inhibits an increase in bicycling riders and trips that the City of Chicago, its mayor, its council, its officially adopted plans, and its people, desire. Until our roads are made safe, the cycle growth will remain minuscule or non-existent. The only other significant factor in promoting cycling is high gasoline prices, but even as they remain high, the cycle growth (or spike, seen in 2008) hasn’t returned.
It’s a small group of people who are designing and maintaining our roads. And they are the first group of people we listen to when we say we want safe roads. Instead of the people who’ve actually built safe roads.
The ITE is the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and, like many organizations, has a code of ethics. In their Canons of Ethics document (.pdf), there are at least two sections that require members to stand against bad road designs.