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MBA: Bicycling

For the second chapter in our Moving Beyond the Automobile series we'll take a look at bicycling. More and more people are choosing to cycle for at least part of their commute in cities across the world. Leading the way in the United States, Portland, Oregon is up to a daily bike count of 17,000 riders! For this video we spent some time with leading thinkers in New York, San Francisco and Portland to discuss the direct relationship between providing safe cycling infrastructure and the number of people biking. The benefits of cycling are simple. Biking helps reduce congestion, air pollution, meet climate action goals and makes for healthier communities.

(Note: This series is made possible by funding from the Fund for The Environment & Urban Life.)

 

[music] 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer:  [00:13] It’s important that people have choices.  They shouldn’t have to burn a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk.  Half the trips that are taken everyday in America are within 20 minutes on a bike.  A quarter of them are a 20 minute walk. 

 

Mayor Sam Adams:  [00:32] An investment in bicycling is an important part of an overall effort to reduce congestion, air pollution, meet climate action goals, ensure that you have a healthy community. 

 

Janette Sadik-Khan:  [00:43] Cities around the world are doing whatever they can to improve the feel, the attractiveness and the economic competitiveness of their cities.  And that means investing in sustainable forms of transportation.  And that increasingly means investing in a high quality cycling network.  In New York City we’ve laid down some 250 miles of on street bike lanes in the last four years alone.  We’ve seen a 66% increase in cycling over the last two years.  So people are voting with their feet, they’re voting with their pedals.  What we’re doing here is creating the kinds of street designs for cycling that really work.  So we’re building out an entire network of protected bike lanes.  Every single place where we protect the cyclist physically, we’ve seen a 50% reduction in injuries for all users in the corridors.  New York City is not alone in the incredible investment that its made in its cycling infrastructure.  You see it all over the country.  You see it in Columbus, Ohio.  You see it in Boulder, Colorado.  You see it in San Francisco.  You see it in Portland.  I mean this is a national movement.  This has become a fundamental mainstream form of transportation. 

 

Andy Thornley:  [01:52] Here we are at beautiful Downtown San Francisco on Market Street, San Francisco’s main street, where you can see more and more people are riding their bikes because it’s becoming more and more comfortable and more and more inviting because of the changes that we’re making in Market Street. 

 

Mayor Sam Adams:  [02:07] You know in 1993 we weren’t the bicycling capital of America.  17 years later for the equivalent cost of a single mile freeway, we now have a bike infrastructure.  We have about 2500 bicycle trips everyday across the bridges onto Willamette River.  Since then we’ve invested in our infrastructure.  Today our daily bike count is now 17,000, from 2500 to 17,000 and for every mile of improvement we make on the bikeways we are always surprised at how exponential growth in terms of bike riderships.  If you get a certain level of basic bike connectivity, that means it’ll turn out riders.  The fact that there are more riders visible on the street means more people will say, hey, look they’re doing it, we can do it too. 

 

Janette Sadik-Khan:  [02:55] If we’re going to continue to grow and thrive and accommodate the million more people that we’re going to have living in New York City by 2030, we can’t accommodate those people with cars.  We need to accommodate those people through more sustainable forms of transportation.

 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer:  [03:07] An opportunity for us to help people with the big picture, giving them choices, reduces the demands for the automobile, and allows them to reach their destination using the tools that are appropriate for them.  It saves them time, it saves them money, it improves their health, and it frankly enriches their daily experience.   

[music] 

Transcription Sponsored by: Transcript Divas Transcription Services

Elizabeth Press is a Filmmaker for Streetfilms. She joined Streetfilms in 2007 to focus her video work on advocating for better biking, walking and mass transit.

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  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/edpino Ed Pino

    Can we get this to CB in NY. Thanks for a very clear message!

  • Michael P Gaughan

    Good Job!

  • Chad Manzano

    Awesome! Appreciate the positive info.

  • Henk Piek

    That film brought a big smile on my face.
    I live on a small Caribbean island, Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean, and I am from Holland. I have been riding bicycles since I was 5 or 6 years old. I'm almost 64 now, don't have e car anymore (which I only usedfor the most necessary situations). I ride my town-bicycle every day, and regularly roll - pedal pumping - over the island on my mountainbike.
    It always feels good en I feel good!
    With love from Bonaire! Henk.

  • scotty

    I support any and all bike infrastructure. But one thing that is NEVER discussed is that the culture of a city has as much or MORE to do with whether people will use the infrastructure.

    I spoke at length recently with a city official in Portland, OR who had previously worked in a similarly sized midwest city. He told me that the acceptance of bikes as transportation in portland has more to do with what employers consider acceptable, since so many trips are work commutes.

    Portland and other west coast cities have a casual social and business style that is very different from the "heartland". The official I spoke to noted that his old job in teh Rust belt REQUIRED him to wear a suit and tie. While his staff in Portland dress more casually because they ride to work.

    Likewise, employers in places like Portland at least provide modest fascilities for their employees to lock up their bikes or even change clothes if necessary.

    I think cycling advocates need to connect with business leaders FIRST and get the Private Sector behind cycling infrastructure improvements. Because it's the attitude and culture of the employees that determines whether they ride or drive to work.

  • DS

    This video is a little too obviously staged based on my observation that every foreground cyclist is wearing a helmet.  The makers of this video must have forgotten to shoo away all of those pesky normal people in the background cycling in street clothes and no foam hat.  As soon as we drop the helmet stigma, our bicycle cultures will grow even faster.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    DS: We do not advocate wearing a helmet or not, either way - though I like wearing one about 98% of the time.  It was the luck of the draw or the footage we had.  Look at plenty of our other Streetfilms, you'll see LOTS of people not wearing a helmet.

    For example: http://www.streetfilms.org/mapping-your-nyc-bike-commute/

    At least 1/3rd of the folks, not wearing one.

    We try to just show the cycling environment whatever it may be the day we filmed.  Believe me, I WISH we had the funds and organization to stage things, our videos would look that much better.

  • Lois Moss

    DS: Having just relocated to Portland from Cleveland specifically because of its bikeability, I can attest that most people in Portland seem to wear helmets, so I don't think these shots were staged. There is also a higher use of lights on bikes here, partially because there is a stiff fine for riding on streets at night without proper lights and there is also alot of peer pressure to be visible.  We still have a ways to go on getting all cyclists to obey traffic laws like red lights and stop signs, but more and more I am hearing cyclists call each other out on this.  

    scotty: excellent point on engaging employers and the business community.  The advocacy organization in Columbus, Ohio (Consider Biking) has based a large part of their efforts on doing just that.  When a few business leaders made it a priority to support bicycling, it got on the radar screen of the mayor, the president of Ohio State University, and other influential leaders. The momentum has continued from that starting point.

  • http://www.tonystephensonsocialmedia.co.uk Tony Stephenson

    There's a lot of diversity of experience re cycling in the USA. I had the misfortune to cycle from Zephyrhills FL to Miami, and endured beer cans and abuse thrown; regular bad driving, and one occasion being run off the road by a truck. FL combines very bad cycling roads with very poor levels of consideration for cyclists. 0/10

    I only hope the other States provide a better exxperience.

  • http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=44671 Timo Forsberg

    Great film! Love the range of voices from across the country stating what (from our perspective in Portland) seems obvious - Bicycling gives the most bang for the buck.

    One detail I'd update is in the text description of the video: the figure of Portland's 17,000 daily cyclists refers specifically to riders who cross the 4 bike-friendliest downtown bridges.

    We have lots of folks who bike every day who don't need to cross one of these bridges. We're getting better at counting them, but the bridges are still the easiest place to measure bike trips. [click my name for wonky details & stats]

  • http://transportation-nag.blogspot.com/ Merlin

    Good point about engaging employers - but don't engage them ONLY as employers. Businesses need to embrace cyclists as shoppers and customers as well. When a business sets up a great program to promote employees biking to work, use this as a selling point for customers as well, provide highly visible, well-placed bike parking for passers-by, promote to cyclists offering discounts to those who arrive by bike etc., when giving directions to the business, include information about bike routes and parking availability. A very high number of those 20-minute trips mentioned in the video are not commute trips, they're trips to the grocery store or the theater or the bar.

  • David Murphy

    Absolute first rate. Love the MBA series. Thanks, guys!

  • Clarence Eckerson, Jr.

    :39 seconds in....look for the falling star over the Portland skyline during the daytime.  Very cool!

  • http://www.crankmychain.com Dan Kaufman

    You took the advice of the song!

    Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket, Never let it fade away

    :)

  • http://www.m-bike.org Todd Scott

    Great video. However, I would suggest selecting a title that is less anti-car in tone. For those who are hesitant to abandon car-centered transportation policies, this can put them on the defensive before the video begins.

    I believe a more positive, multi-modal title would be a better choice.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Todd, not sure how much less anti-car than the generic "Bicycling" you can get.  If you are referring to the "Moving Beyond the Automobile" part - well that is our ten-part series which obviously cannot be altered.

  • http://www.m-bike.org Todd Scott

    @Clarence: Yes, I was referring to the "Moving beyond the Automobile." I realize you can't change it, but I think it's something to consider in the future.

  • http://www.loveofbikes.com Susan

    Inspirational, thanks you.

  • http://www.urbanarrow.com jorrit kreek

    great convincing video! this is why we reshaped the transport bike into a comfortable, easy peddling, nice looking, dutch design & quality, urban transport e-bike. here in amsterdam it is already called the 1st car on 2 wheels. later this year available in North America.

  • http://www.crankmychain.com Dan Kaufman

    This video sparked a Politifact check!

    Check it out here http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/03/sam_adams_on_bikeway_bargain_c.html

    Also, if you are looking to find opinion that runs counter whats expressed in the video check out some of the commenters. Oh boy.

  • factChecker

    All I know is that I am very jealous of the people in those cities. Just to get to the local Walmart, 2 miles away, I have to detour around main roads and ride on the side where all the broken glass is.

  • http://www.TROMPcambridge.org TROMP

    Devil's Advocate: Images of cars making right hand turns into bikes; cyclists without helmets; no sense of passing on the left; no signaling by cyclists; no images of night cycling or carrying large packs or wearing dress clothes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jcnelson84 Johnathan Nelson

    Nobody said that Bicycling was to one shot answer. The point is that it works as a means for transportation for some people some time and that by developing a community in a way that makes cycling safer and more appealing then it opens up that oppurtunity for others to use the bike. I don't like to ride my bike in my town because it does not fell safe to compete for space on roads with cares, but if they had dedicated bike lanes that did not require cars to go into the oppisite lane to get around me and they made improvements at the intersections that made it safer for me to cross then I probably would ride more often. Except when I need to wear dress cloths.

  • Clicerio

    Very good film!!!!please make this film in spanish!!!!We need this type of films for change the culture of latin people!!!!