Its primary function is as a social signifier. A City lawyer or ambitious young businessman could not cycle to work: it would mean saying goodbye to promotion. To prefer the bike is to be a crank. Company car parks are full of Ford Mondeos to signify the aspirations of their owners, not to meet their transport needs.
Another important function of the car is economic. Ours is, as Margaret Thatcher bragged, a 'great car society'. So much of our economic activity is tied up in the manufacture and servicing of motorcars and roads that any real shift in
favour of the bicycle would have to be countered by any government.
But draconian measures are unlikely to be required because, as Martin Wright says, most people are terrified of using a bike on British streets. The high death toll among cyclists is a more effective deterrent than the law.
As such the situation will not improve.