I did read through the whole tread and I am astounded that so many readers spell doom and gloom for a city that introduces proper bike infrastructure. Distorted reality, eh...
I have news for you. Let's take the obvious case - the Netherlands. Do you believe the countries exists? Yes? OK, so how come it has not collapsed to the bottom of the economic ladder if businesses cannot deliver their goods, customers cannot go to shops and employees cannot reach their work [all those are claims I found in the tread]? Reality check : FAIL!
I live in A'dam and work in Delft [bike-train-bike]. I have regular visits for business, medical and personal reasons to Maastricht, Leiden, Njimegen, Eindhoven, Hilversum and Leeuwarden. Check google maps to see what this means. Never owned a car. Never needed a car except when I shop furniture or tons of materials and tools for home renovation [but that can be delivered by the retailer, I can rent a car for a day or ask a friend with a car to help]. Trains and bikes can get you everywhere in this country and I do mean everywhere. You can go between cities [separated bike lanes that go usually through nice scenery double the road network].
What do I win and what society wins:
No costs for a car
1.5 hrs per working day reading books/magazines and meeting people in the train. Nice, clean trains that are used by all segments of society [so you don't have reasons for the old idiotic Clarkson retort that public transport is used only by junkies who will puke on you]. In fact traveling in the morning to the work you meet all the students that go to Leiden and Delft [university centers]. Did I mention the females are more in the NL than the males and the gays are more than the lesbians [there is a shortage of men here]? Hell, for the last nuclear summit in NL where Obama landed with the plane, shook hands with the king and then immediately disappeared in a helicopter [escorted by 2 others and hordes of bikes and cars] - btw, most dutch thought that was ridiculously paranoid, unnecessary and plain rude - the prime minister of Belgium took the train [high-speed line Amsterdam - Brussels - Paris].
No need for cardio in the gym so I can focus on power training. When I stopped going to the gym for 6 months after I started again the only exercise I could more of compare to before the break was legs [so it helps the power training too]. Because the infrastructure allows me to ride the bike as an exercise as well - very fast with rapid acceleration and braking.
General health benefits for all cyclists [to mention again those mythical [for /. ers] creatures, called women - any idea how riding a bicycle shapes women's legs. No? Thought so...]. Contemplate what this means on a country scale - MASSIVE saving due to healthier population [lower health cots, higher productivity ect.]
Environmental benefits [no need to elaborate I hope]
Convenience. Going out in Amsterdam with a car is idiotic [OK, if you go to the opera with 10 000 euros worth of clothing and a hair-do for 500 you might need a car but I am talking about the 99% here]. It takes me 10-15 min on the bike to go to the hearth of downtown, no need to pay huge costs for parking [if you find available place that is], you can drink [or smoke] and can go back home at any moment in the night independent from any transport.
Cyclist can be nasty and sometimes dangerous on the road - just like everyone else. No surprises here. To claim that somehow there are more asses among them than the rest of the population is moronic at best [I saw that "argument" here as well]
What else? Oh, yes - when you arrive at work you stink of sweat [I see this retort often here]. Actually no. Really, really NO. With good hygiene [and diet!!] your smell is barely noticeable and with enough exercise you can bike with decent speed without breaking a sweat. Besides, at work we have this amazing thing, it's called "running hot water" and "a shower". Check it out!
Less space for cars! Nope. I am looking outside my window and I see 4 [wide] lanes for cars with two double sized bike-lanes on both sides and finally a pedestrian path on both sides. Sure in downtown the bike lanes are on the car's roads [only those were not car's roads but horse and pedestrian roads build centuries ago]. The people like to keep the historical places intact so no widening of the streets there. Apparently the citizens are happy with the trade-off. Democracy at work...
Observation: somehow this moronic attitude to cyclist is prevalent in US and UK. Both countries IMO are textbook examples of car culture gone mad; minds obscured by industry propaganda and sense of arrogance. Cars as a status/fashion symbol and so on...whatever, you will learn someday...