Dave Moulton just posted an interesting commentary on commuter cycling. His inspiration was this blog:
Hey, I would commute by bike more, too.
I'd like to say it's possible, but you have to look at the reality of the American working society. Most people who work in cites do not live in them. Commutes into cities for work would be longer, and with our fast paced, workaholic lifestyles it would be near impossible to get a majority of the population to trade their car for a bike. I know people who live a couple of miles from their jobs and still use their car, maybe gas just isn't expensive enough yet. Compared to the US, Europe has a very laid back approach to work and life in general making bicycle commuting more "socially" acceptable and there are less suburban communities where the working folks live. Once you get out of the city, it's agricultural land.
Maybe when gas hits $6-7 a gallon here some people will change, but they need the support of the state and local governments to enable commuting by bicycle as a viable option. If I worked in Baltimore I would consider commuting by bike, but quite frankly I probably wouldn't because there is no real safe passage into the city, and I'm not referring to the roads.