Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Bikes vs. Cars 

Wednesday, Dec 2 2015

Spoiler: The bikes win. (Philosophically, anyway.) Fredrik Gertten's documentary Bikes vs. Cars is proudly pro-handlebars and anti-steering wheels, and if it never makes a convincing argument for how to find a balance between the two, that's because it doesn't really try. Gertten looks at how the auto industry made bikes and public transportation effectively go extinct in the early-to-mid-1900s Los Angeles, as well as how activists around the world are working to make more bike-friendly cities. Copenhagen is held up as a shining example, while the pro-car forces are represented by the likes of Toronto mayor and noted hookers-and-blow enthusiast Rob Ford. Some of the ideas of Bikes vs. Cars have merit, but many — such as the suggestion to eliminate cars by making driving prohibitively expensive — have a noticeable whiff of able-ism, and the film pays only minor lip service to people for whom biking everywhere always is not an option. Bikes vs. Cars preaches to the choir, who may also accept film's questionable utopianism; indeed, one interviewee describes the famous 2012 "Carmageddon" closure of Interstate 405 as a utopia because, among other things, people ate in local restaurants that weekend. (So the desire to cross town is the real villain, then?) But the thing about utopias is they never last more than a weekend.


About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"