Here in Porto Alegre things are a bit different, for sure. Bike lanes (when there is one) are seppareted from cars only by stripes, and most car drivers are not very bike-friendly. Cycling in traffic here is something that seems quite dangerous, I know, but it can be quite safe as long as you obey the rules of the road and exercise alertness and common sense. Consider wearing a helmet.
I am a bicycle lover myself but I detest the idea of having to park it everytime I go to the neighbourhood shop. I feel my bike is never safe enough from being stolen. I hope the situation will change once more people start to cycling.
Among other health reasons, with gas prices only an inch below the sky-limit and inflation growing agin, it is wise enough to device automobiles that put low burden on your wallet. I suggest you a bike. Apparently this is something our regional culture is working toward. I see more and more cyclers every day.
I suggest you to do it, and do it with style ;)