Certainly, we all know that you don't need bike lanes to effectively ride a bike on the city streets. However, a civilized city should use bicycle routes and lanes to officially promote cycling as a transportation alternative.
Sanctioned routes may also draw out new riders, giving them first, the idea, and then later, the confidence to take to the streets and bike somewhere.
Monday, the City of Omaha officially launched Bike Omaha, the city's 20 mile bike route system linking Midtown and Downtown locations. You can see more, including a route map and photos and video from the event at the Bike Omaha blog.