Bikes Vs Cars. Confronting but not Confrontational (and why, in reality, Facebook is a fake recruiter)

Earlier this week I saw the movie Bikes Vs Cars.

Bikes Vs Cars is nominated as “Best Environmental Documentary” for The Bigger Picture Film Awards 2016 but many of my friends refused to watch. They said the title was inflammatory. The film was confronting but not confrontational. The statistics on the big screen were mind blowing and alarming.

  • Once LA had the best public transportation in the world. Today 70% of the area is dedicated to roads and parking
  • In São Paolo commuters spend nearly 3 hours in traffic every day
  • The car industry is a top global spender on advertising
  • 8 million cars sold in 2013. Less than 1% were electric
  • 1 billion cars on the planet in 2012. 2 billion in 2020
  • Americans spend 55 workdays in traffic every year
  • 25% of Americans’ income goes to transport
  • In Europe 30 million people suffer from stress related illnesses due to traffic noise
  • 50% of all trips in the US are less than 3 miles

The films stories jumps from place to place. From Sao Paulo to Los Angeles, Toronto and Copenhagen interviewing bicycle activists, architects, a deputy Mayor, transport planners, traffic engineers, dog walkers, taxi drivers, retail stores, cabbies, families with kids and many more…

  • Stories from the streets of São Paulo were heart-breaking. A cyclist got his arm torn off by a car that didn’t even stop. The car driver drove another five miles, dropped off a friend and then threw the arm in a creek. The bikers of São Paulo had a vigil. They were expecting 1,000 people. It rained and about 50 people turned up. As one of the cyclists said “In reality, Facebook is a fake recruiter”.
  • To Gil Peñalosa saying “this is not a technical issue, this is not a financial issue, it’s a political issue”
  • Plus the car TV commercial producer who rides his bicycle to the filming location because “the traffic is so bad”.

The film ends with Sao Paulo construction workers painting bike lanes one night and removing thousands of car parking “without warning” and the audience feeling sorry for car drivers who are wasting their time, money and life sitting in traffic going literally nowhere.

So what can we do?

We all know that traffic congestion exists – we see it and experience it every day. It’s what we do about it that’s important. That’s why I’ve created 7 steps for Mayors and other City Leaders to cut traffic congestion without the expense of new roads or annoyed residents.

  1.  Step 1: Let’s ignite the fuse for change – This step looks at the willingness of Mayors and other City Leaders, and individuals, to tackle problems and the need to ignite the fuse for change. Step 1 inspires leaders and individuals to have a “can do” attitude and to create projects to solve the problems where they live.
  2. Step 2: Let’s communicate with positive messaging – Step 2 encourages Mayors and other City Leaders to communicate tackling difficult issues like congestion and obesity in a fun, positive and encouraging way.
  3. Step 3: Let’s experiment with temporary urbanism – This step encourages us to create opportunities to experiment, test and try new and different solutions in our cities. It invites people to rethink the way we use our streets and public places, and invites the use of temporary projects as a platform to change our cities.
  4. Step 4: Let’s discover what’s on our own doorstep – Step 4 is about discovering what’s on our own doorsteps, so that we don’t have to get in our cars because traffic congestion is often as bad, if not worse, on Saturdays and Sundays than it is on weekdays.
  5. Step 5: Let’s connect to enable sharing – Sharing cars, bicycles and car parking spaces can reduce the number of single-occupancy car trips and the number of cars on our roads. Step 5 provides practical solutions to enable everyone to share resources.
  6. Step 6: Let’s get comfortable with the uncomfortable – One in 10 car trips in Queensland is less than 1 kilometre in length, so step 6 suggests communication, collaboration and innovation in order to reduce – or even eliminate – the number of really short trips.
  7. Step 7: Let’s create an infrastructure revolution – The Los Angeles Department for Transport said, “for the bicycle to catch on we need a revolution in our infrastructure”. Step 7 showcases examples and tools to create an infrastructure revolution.

Clicking ‘LIKE’ on Social Media does NOTHING (sorry to be so blunt!). Please share with others. Thanks

If you enjoyed this information and want more…