Could the bicycle be the tool for change that our cities need? A new documentary and a related app are hoping to inspire better design, smarter political decisions, and reduced CO2 emissions in the urban planning process by shining a light on the bicycle and its growing conflict with the car.
The film, titled ***Bikes vs Cars***, examines how bike-friendly cities can benefit everyone – including car drivers. It claims that multi-billion dollar automotive, oil, and construction lobbies are determined to keep cities dependent on cars, reliant on fossil fuels, and pushing urban sprawl. Director Fredrik Gertten highlights various bicycle activism efforts around the world “fighting for their right to ride,” and calls on viewers to opt for a cleaner commute.
“If all cities adopted the model of Copenhagen, where forty percent commute within the city on bikes, it would be a radical change for the world. Something you can measure in health, pollution, oil usage,” Gertten wrote in his director’s note. It’s been estimated that only 5 percent of Americans ride bicycles to work.
“And now the conflict.” Gertten continued. “The car industry is in the center of our economic system. For the car owners and commuters that have become so invested in their lifestyle, it will be painful to change. It’s a conflict that interests me, and that is why I’ve decided to take on this project. A project of passion.”
The film opens in cinemas across the United States this week, including a special screening tonight, December 3, at The Roxie as part of the San Francisco Green Film Festival, for which the director will be in attendance. On December 4, documentaries Bikes vs Cars and STINK!, a film which attempts to uncover undisclosed chemicals in everyday products, will both have screenings in Los Angeles.