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this person has potential as a filmaker...but far too much focus here on the alleged "danger" aspects of bike commuting...

Agreed on the over emphasis on danger. Since most people don't ride because they're afraid of traffic, starting off the film with gloom and doom isn't going to win any converts to bike commuting.

It had something for everyone. Danger, environmentalism, a little bit of the joy of biking, and even a bike going through a red light.

If I didn't know better, after viewing this video, I would conclude that riding a bike to work is dangerous. I don't know this young man, or his motivations (besides the credit) for making this film, but it could easily be viewed a very subtle piece of anti-cycling propaganda.

The best thing about the video is we finally get to put a face to Washcycle.

Good job, Wash.

ok as a cycle commuter in a very unfriendly part of the nation I can say, bike commuting is dangerous. Sayings its not helps nobody. I worry every single day about getting hit, run over, doored, right hooked, hitting something in the road and falling into the travel lane whatever. there are few places in this country where commuting can be done safely through all parts of the trip. Its scary, I am sorry its true, does this help get more people on bikes? no of course not but what this video showed was how nice segregated networks are, how happy it can make people and how peaceful and safe they are. Roads are not safe for cyclists, not in Portland, not in Davis, and not in NYC, believing so does not make it so. I will continue to ride every day and talk about the benefits, but for somebody looking to do something different knowing the benefits with the risks is how an informed decision needs to be made.

John you have expressed your feelings very well.

Do you have any evidence? Are you alive because you worry? or, Do you perceive your situation to be more dangerous than it actually is?

I think this is over-blown a bit. Is bike commuting dangerous? Yes, I'd say it is, but I think that should be in context a little. We live in a society where people are essentially willing to risk their lives and the lives of others to make it past the next red light. So bike commuting is dangerous, sure, and so is crossing the street, driving, and taking the Metro. You live with risks going to work every day.

How can the infrastructure make a difference on this? I'm not sure, but I do know that segregated bike lanes are not only pie-in-the-sky (the resources to make it happen on a grand scale is just not going to happen), but they don't really answer the most dangerous part of bike commuting - the intersections - for segregated lanes aren't segregated when crossing over other roads. Nor are sidewalks going to help you there.

This is why I think time and energy are much better spent on awareness - I think some of that effort going into building bike lanes all over the place could be much better spent on educating cyclists about defensive riding (such as when its appropriate to NOT ride in the bike lanes, and how to anticipate dangers around you).

Whether it is dangerous or not depends on your definition of dangerous. I have yet to have seen a standard definition (p of death > ???). But I do think it's scary (especially when starting out). I think of it a little bit like a roller coaster (or an elevator for some) - scarier than it is dangerous.

Agreed, Washcycle. I think it's all relative - which is why I was trying to put it in context.

Thanks everyone for commenting. I just wanted to address the overemphasis on safety in the film.

When I originally approached the idea for the film it was intended to be an advocacy film to encourage bike commuting. I hope that comes across to most people who view it. Along the way my thesis advisor said that safety should be a big part (I believe because he is a former NYC bike commuter) so it became a larger part than I had originally intended.

I can see what you mean when you say it almost looks like I mean to dissuade people, but I was really hoping that it would be taken as a "here are the benefits, but make sure you're aware of the dangers, too" message. I hope that helps you understand where I'm coming from and I think John in NH's comment sums up my point pretty well.

I thought it was fine. I think about the 59% of people who are willing to bike but don't. This video caught the concerns they have, and provided some ideas (not maybe in as structured a fashion as I would have preferred or recommended) on how to go about addressing their concerns:

1. Get a bike that's appropriate for riding.
2. Test the route.
3. Find an ambassador/buddy to help you start out.

Taking the person who started commuting from not commuting to riding was a good way to show the issue.

I would gladly suggest putting this video on my org. website, if it would be possible to change some of the title stills to Baltimore area data..


Thanks for an active discussion! I am obviously still alive :P, I have been buzzed by cars with mere inches to spare I count 8 times in ~3months, I just keep going, I am not going to kick them or in any way provoke them (they most likely have a gun in there anyway) however being passed by cars that close is dangerous and frightening. I have been tailgated and honked at and yelled at to get off the road (irony I was yelled at on a official NY shared 40mph 4 lane road) as many times. However, I may have reacted a bit too much to the criticisms about the focus on safety and risks in the film :P. Driving is even worse true, the number of times I have had close calls in a car in one trip is more then the close calls I have had on a bike all semester. It is a perceived risk, Hembrow focuses a lot on perceived safety and he is right, a separated path (like shown in the film) is "safer" then an on road path. This in actuality may or may not be the case, but it is seen as such and that belief, in a way, makes it so. Maybe I personally see it as a bit more dangerous then it is, however commuting on a 50mph rural highway is certainly not "safe" but there is risk in everything we do and being prepared is all that can be done. I felt the film, while yes focusing on safety, did a good overall job and like Richard said, its points are the same no matter where you are, and are helpful to people looking at commuting. I object to saying something is totally safe just to get more people on bikes, because is that what we really want? I want more people on bikes, but I want people who know some of the risks, know the benefits and can be good ambassadors to others who are just starting out, not people blinded by the wonderfulness of bike commuting (which it is for sure:P ), who ignore the risks we all face every single day. btw thanks Tom, Chris, and Mike for thoughtfully replying, too many blogs are filled with hatred and anger at people who talk about risks and the whole helmet thing.
Mike great senior project!

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