It would appear that most local government organisations feel that vehicular cycling is the way to go. Clearly this is the prevailing attitude after careful study of successful cycling models elsewhere in the world and consideration about what will make cycling as safe and pleasant as possible. Nothing to do with it being the cheap option that involves the least amount of work. Oh no.
In the face of no enthusiasm for anything approaching cycling infrastructure by any level of government, vehicular cycling is the only solution. Well, if you discount giving up completely and taking the car, of course.
An important part of vehicular cycling is taking "primary position" on the road when necessary. To the uninitiated this involves the cyclist controlling traffic around them by moving into the centre of the lane at points of conflict, for example pedestrian refuges and junctions. If this sounds scary then don't worry - it only sounds scary because it actually is scary. But according to virtually everyone it is the right thing to do. Even the Institute of Advanced Motorists urge cyclists to "claim the lane". It might sound a bit odd that the most vulnerable road-user in this equation, the cyclist, is expected to control the traffic around them. One might hope that someone driving several tonnes of machine should be able to control themselves. But maybe that is asking too much. The article linked above details the IAM urging cyclists to push out into the road when passing junctions and overtaking parked cars so that drivers see them. Apparently drivers only see the main traffic stream and will miss a cyclist, so clearly the thing to do is for the cyclist to modify their behaviour as opposed to the driver looking a bit harder.
Notwithstanding the distinct whiff of passing blame from inattentive and rubbish drivers to cyclists, the great "primary position" vehicular cycling plan falls down on a significant point. It assumes that all drivers are rational, calm people whose attention is on the road and who will act carefully around vulnerable road users.
Clearly it doesn't assume that a proportion of drivers are impatient imbeciles who are juggling driving with phoning their friends and who see cyclists as an imposition on their road. It assumes that if you are a moron who should not be left in charge of anything more dangerous than a plastic spoon then you won't be able to obtain a driving license.
Clearly these assumptions are wrong.
To illustrate, let me give you some examples of what happens when you take the primary position in the manner that is described by the IAM. All happened today.
Lower Clapton Road : Grey Golf tries to overtake me whilst passing a pedestrian refuge. There would be no space to do this even if I was hugging the kerb. Golf driver lifts off after coming to within inches of my back wheel. Golf driver gives me a stare as he passes after the island. I stare back as I then pass him again 20 seconds later as he joins the tail of a traffic jam that means he doesn't pass me again at all.
Stratford A11 : Silver Van overtakes me to then push into my lane and slow down to try to undertake the traffic. I had moved into primary away from the cycle lane. Luckily I am not in the cycle lane as he them swerves into it to avoid another car trying the same trick. Both end up in the traffic jam just after the one way system.
Leytonstone Road A11 : One of the most stunningly moronic pieces of driving I have seen for a while. I take primary on the "straight ahead lane" as I run up to a traffic queue at the lights with Crownfield Road. A black Fiesta overtakes me on the outside lane to cut in front between me and the queuing traffic and then indicate left to go into the left most lane. To then sit in the queue no further forward than if they had simply waited behind me. Luckily my sixth "shit driver" sense had already been activated as he overtook me and I backed off otherwise I would have been into the side of his car.
So there we have it. Vehicular cycling and taking the primary. Great for cycling on hypothetical roads with drivers who aren't idiots. Not so great in the real world. And as for the elderly, very young, or those less willing to be assertive and fight for space on the roads whilst taking abuse? Well they simply have to succumb to the law of the jungle and accept that cycling just isn't for them.