Recently, we were sent a trailer of Bikes vs. Cars which explores traffic infrastructure in various cities around the world. Though centered around the bicycle, the ultimate goal is to find a solution in how to handle the continuous growth of the number of cars that is far exceeding the ability to build roads to put them on. Since then we were sent a screening of the movie in its entirety which is hitting theaters this Friday, December 4th.
Jump into the protected bike lane to see the trailer and where it will be showing as well as why we think it’s worth more than a bucket of popcorn and a box of Junior Mints to go see….
The movie, by Director Fredrik Gertten, visits cities like Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, and even Toronto with it’s bicycle hating, crack-is-whack mayor, Rob Ford, (who spent far more money REMOVING bike lanes than it cost to build them in the first place). There is a large growing movement of groups all over the world working together to educate, (rather than just protest), concerned parties as to how various infrastructures incorporating bikes can be a sustainable way to slow the increasing traffic congestion as well as reduce the environmental impact in congested areas. Bikes vs Cars is more about this approach than it is just about telling people they should ride bikes.
Bikes vs. Cars also explores the politically corrupt flow of money from car manufactures like BMW who not only provides free cars to political parties in Germany, but apparently paid €690,000 to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Democratic Party just days before European environment ministers blocked an agreement to cap car emissions. Germany’s current “Efficiency rating” is so skewed that a large military tank has a better efficiency rating than a Fiat 500 (no kidding) because the weight of the vehicle is factored into how much emissions a vehicle allowed to produce. *the heavier the vehicle is, the more it can get away with.
My personal and neutral take from the movie is that regardless of how bicycle-centric the movie’s message is, it is a fair take on the problems we face in many heavily populated cities in regards to travel. One of my favorite points made in the movie had nothing to do with infrastructure, politics or emissions. It was pointed out how we want cars to increase the ability to move, and when that ability is taken away, it quits making sense. I have always felt driving non-stop for two hours is less frustrating than sitting in traffic for one, and more often than not, a 5 mile commute on a bike will be less frustrating than sitting in traffic not to mention, the odds are you’ll actually get home sooner on the bike.
To further bolster the cause, they came up with the Bikes vs Cars app that tracks the distance covered during the user’s cycling trips and converts that data into CO2 emissions saved. Using this data, the app is able to provide information on both an individual and a collective impact. While the user will be able to track and record their own bike trips, their data will be shared so that a total number of kilometers traveled and CO2/oil saved per city will be displayed.
The Bikes vs. Car app is also a political tool. They hope the data will be used as a basis for a larger, political discussion around traffic, oil and climate change, and can at the same time function as feedback for city-planners so it can lead to traffic-calming measures being installed where they are needed the most.
The Bike vs Cars app can be downloaded from iTunes and the Google Play store.
Theatrical Release Starts This Friday, December 4
New York @ Cinema Village
Los Angeles @ Laemmle North Hollywood (NoHo 7)
San Francisco @ The Roxie
San Rafael @ San Rafael Film Center
Seattle @ Grand Illusion Cinema
Vancouver, WA @ Kiggins Theatre
Columbus, OH @ Gateway Film Center
Albuquerque @ Guild Cinema
Plus Opening Dec. 11: New Orleans @ Zeitgeist
Plus Opening Dec. 18: Hartford @ Real Art Ways
Plus many additional theaters nationwide!