"Policy goals" won't be enough to protect bicyclists once the cars start driving themselves. Strong standards will be necessary to govern the interactions between cars and bikes in an autonomous future.
While Angie Schmitt doesn't ask this question in her article on the movement behind these lanes, she writes that cities without them "are being left behind". They're popular because they effectively address the #1 reason for not riding: safety
NPR's Joel Rose interviews Streetsblog founder and Brooklyn Prospect Park West bike lane advocate Aaron Naparstek, and bike lane opponents for this 3-minute, "All Things Considered" radio story on New York's most controversial bike lane.