Something to watch: Bikes vs Cars

It is far too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Cardiff’s problems are unique to Cardiff.

Traffic is a global pandemic. Cities in every corner of the world are wrestling with dangerous levels of pollution; bulging waistlines and despite being more “connected” than ever, our physical bodies have never been so isolated.

Bikes vs Cars

Bikes vs Cars follows the stories of a number of cycle campaigners from São Paulo, Bogotá, Los Angeles and Berlin whilst also looking at how life is in Copenhagen through the eyes of a taxi driver.

It tells the story of what happened in Los Angeles when the car industry took over, even buying up mass transit systems only to systematically dismantle them in favour of car lanes. It lays bare the eye watering amount of marketing and misleading messages, of the open road and suggestions of green credentials –not too dissimilar to the tobacco industry before we woke up to the idea that it was damaging everyone’s health, whether people smoked or not.

They take the Berlin Motor Lobby Tour, which talks about the money that changes hands between the German car industry and the German government and how that results in the blocking of tighter controls on emissions. Here we see again the symbiotic relationship between the car industry and government policy –the Motoring Industrial Complex.

The traffic jam is the solution…

There are two big lessons we can take from Bikes vs Cars. Firstly, the traffic jam is the solution. As the film points out, it is more difficult to argue for cars when they are constantly stuck in traffic.

Secondly, there are cycling campaigners all over the world. There are many who have already been through much of what we have ahead of us, just as there are many who are only just getting started.

What would happen if we all got together online, sharing ideas and insight? A global network where the successes and failures could be shared and learned from. Wouldn’t that be something?

Bikes vs Cars can be found on Netflix and Vimeo. It is definitely worth your time.

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