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Street stencil in Sao Paulo, Brazil at site where cyclist killed by car.
Street stencil in Sao Paulo, Brazil at site where cyclist killed by car.

Bikes Vs. Cars

Director Fredrik Gertten has melded together one of the most compelling cases for why the world needs to completely rethink our transportation system from the dominate car culture with its unsustainable addiction to dirty, dangerous fossil fuels to one that not only allows for but also encourages a wiser, more intelligent use of earth's resources, including our own bodies.

I've known Chris Paine for well over a decade now since before the release of his first paradigm-changing documentary in 2006, "Who Killed the Electric Car." Because I now spend less time on the West Coast, we generally only communicate these days through our respective social media postings: I follow him on Twitter (@chrispaine). Hopefully, he follows me (@evworldeditor).

Given his obvious passion for the cause of EVs, producing a 2011 sequel -Revenge of the Electric Car- I was intrigued to hear that Chris too had broadened his perspective on what a more sustainable mobility future might look like. His postings on Twitter kept referring to a new film with which he was involved, one focused on bicycles and their struggle to reassert they role in society after cars largely drove them off the road a century ago, with a couple of exceptions in places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Given my own shift away from a concentrated focus on electric cars, per se -- EV World has always taken broader view of electric vehicle technology covering everything from "e-Bikes to e-Buses and Beyond" -- I finally found the opportunity to see what he'd been working on when I came across Bikes Vs. Cars on Netflix this past weekend.

My guess that this was the film Chris was involved with was affirmed when I spotted his name as one of several "Executive Producers" in the opening credits. The documentary directed by Fredrik Gertten is globe-girdling, taking you from the streets of Sao Paulo to Los Angeles to Toronto under the now deceased Rob Ford, with prerequisite detours to Copenhagen, of course.

The 90+ minute film has won a trophy case of awards and special mentions. Critics write:

"Breezy, intelligent” -New York Times
“Mounts a compelling case against the powerful automotive, oil and construction lobbies” -LA Times
"Beautifully crafted, Bikes vs Cars is an intimate and powerful look at how to move away from car-centric models and toward livable cities." -Hot Docs Cinema

I agree with all of them. The only thing I would add -- given my own vested interest in Quikbyke, of course -- is that e-Bikes must and will play an increasing role in the coming realignment. We simply have no other choice as a society, as a viable, life-sustaining planet. Electric cars are great and we've clearly crossed the tipping point, but if I were a betting man, I'd say the future belongs largely to two classes of vehicles: autonomous, on-demand public use cars and shuttles AND light electric vehicles with eBikes a significant fraction of that mix, at least in cities: shared and privately owned

If you are a Netflix subscriber, you can watch it through that service, or you can watch it on-demand on Vimeo or on Youtube, the trailer to which I've embedded below. Coincidentally, Chris tweeted the following today in honor of Car Free Day.

Chris Paine Tweet on Car Free Day 2016

Bikes Vs. Cars

Posted By: Bill Moore [22-Sep-2016]