A new Streetfilm (watch it below) taken during the recent Velo-City Global conference in Copenhagen is like a refuge in a storm.
Here in Portland (and across the country), we still struggle with resentment over bike lanes, a local media that’s happy to stir it up, people wanting to ban bikes completely because they’re simply in the way, people on bikes who can’t be bothered to slow down for other bike traffic, and public transit employees whose actions and words make our streets less safe for people on bikes.
And then there’s Copenhagen, and a Streetfilm that shows what it’s like through the eyes of North Americans. The video below, put together by the inimitable filmmaker Clarence Eckerson, is longer than their usual fare, but it’s worth every second.
Here are the quotes that really stood out for me (emphasis mine):
Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong:
“We could do this fairly easily and fairly inexpensively in just about any U.S. city and the only thing we’d need to do is have the will and the political power to squeeze the cars a bit.”
Jeff Mapes, author of Pedaling Revolution:
“Too much in the U.S. there’s this feeling of the other; that somebody on the bicycle, that’s not me, that’s some different kind of creature. And here it’s very clear, ‘No, the person on the bicycle, that’s just me, using a different mode of transportation.'”
Andy Clarke, executive director, League of American Bicyclists:
“We like to say, to put people at ease, that ‘Oh, Copenhagen didn’t do it overnight and they took 40 years to get where they are today.’ We don’t don’t have the luxury of waiting 40 years to get to that point in U.S. cities, we have to do it a lot more quickly.”
Here’s the video:
U.S. politicians and high-level bureaucrats: The ball is in your court. How many videos, educational trips and studies of Europe will it take before we start really following their lead?