Director's Note

Born in a city where the bike is the natural choice for going from one place to another, I’ve travelled the world wondering why there are so few bicycles. Now, the car model as we know it has reached an extreme level with constant gridlock and millions of productive hours lost. Frustration is growing and cities need to look into new models.

The new urban biking is pushing this development. It’s a growing movement, which I’ve now seen around the world. People who simply put a sign on their bike saying “ONE LESS CAR.” A Do-It-Yourself attitude towards a global crisis.

It’s a positive message. If all cities adopted the model of Copenhagen, where forty percent commute within the city on bikes, it would be a radical change for the world. Something you can measure in health, pollution, oil usage.

And now the conflict. The car industry is in the center of our economic system. For the car owners and commuters that have become so invested in their lifestyle, it will be painful to change. It’s a conflict that interests me, and that is why I’ve decided to take on this project. A project of passion.

Fredrik Gertten

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  • commented 2016-07-15 14:55:07 +0200
    This documentary shows the bikes vs cars problem in one of the greatest ways. With the car industry having so much influence in cities. The facts and issues shown in the film show a clear problem that should be solved but a lot of people with power are not willing to solve as it does not benefit their reality of what a car is to them. It is very sad to see the bike being degraded in such a way. The film shows that the struggle of the bike against the big boss that is the car. The car industry clearly has set a certain mind-set that people are lost without more freeways and highways, and every inch of these freeways are crucial to these car-drivers. The supporters of cars make a huge fuss out of every possible change that is coming their way, but when shown what problems it could solve they turn their head and close their ears. Supporters of more bike lanes and urban planning more focused on bikes should definitely keep fighting so their arguments can be spread to all the people.
  • commented 2016-07-06 13:50:14 +0200
    By watching this film, I am really impressed about the huge gap of the cycling environment in the different countries. The dilemma cycling situation of Brazil, the disappointed downfall of cycling position in Los Angeles of America, the shortsighted action of the Toronto Mayor to kill the cycling, the conflict between cars and bikes in Copenhagen resulted by the very prosperous situation of cycling… In all these different cycling environments, it seems full of the conflicts between cars and bikes. Personally, I considered about this problem before as well. Is it necessary to cut down one transportation mode if you want another one go up? After watching this film, I realized the main issue of this happening is that the urbanization process is running out of the balance between what people want and what people need. The majority of citizens living in the big cities mentioned in the video are focusing more and more to the “fast” “efficient” “convenient” traffic for their own daily life without the care to other factors – such as people’s safety and health, such as the pollution to environment, such as the faith, and etc. I deem that is also the meaning of this perfect film, to recall the nature of people, to balance what we want and what we really need. Thanks Bikes Vs Cars.
  • commented 2016-07-06 10:44:59 +0200
    In November last year me and 8 other students from the Rotterdam Business School started a research project on how to enhance the cycling envronment in a highly urbanized city. The city we were focussing on was Taipei. After our trip there in february I saw this movie. The movie is so right about everything. Even though some people really want change, it is still the big companies and the rich people who have the most power. The way people look at bikes need to bechanged. Almost every city is designed for cars, and this should not be the case. If the governments all over the world are serious about a greener world with less pollution, they should motivate their inhabitants to leave the car and get on a bike. This movie showed some shocking numbers that should be able to open everyones eyes. Hopefully in the near future more people realize that something needs to change in order to create a more environmental friendly world where generation after generation can happily live without worrieng about harmful gasses and polluted air. – Carlijn van Beuzekom, Intenational Management and Business Studies student
  • commented 2016-07-05 09:46:15 +0200
    Before watching this documentary I already had a bit of an assumption on how this documentary would tell us a story. The title says: ‘Cars vs Bikes’ which indicates to a war between the beloved car and the greener alternative the bike. I was a bit pessimistic towards that thought due to the fact that there should be now war whatsoever. As a Dutch International business student conducting a research about ‘how to enhance cycling in the highly urbanised city of Taipei in Taiwan’, I learned so much if we talk about the ‘city’. In the Netherlands we cycle a lot and we take it all for granted. After going to such a big metropolis like Taipei, I learned to only about that beautiful city but also a lot about my own home city Rotterdam. I am one of the people in the Netherlands who used to cycle but when I got my drivers license I quit to do so. This documentary really opened my eyes, I could really relate to the idea that almost every city around the world is designed for the car and not the bike. The most crucial part of the documentary was the death of cyclists caused by cars. It is really disturbing to see that people who would like to go from A to B with the most sustainable, efficient and healthy transportation mode get killed for making that decision. We all should be conscious that the bicycle is the key transportation mode within the city in the future if we want to live long and healthy on this beautiful earth. Thank you for this documentary, it is really valuable for the future of mankind. – Rayaan Ouali
  • commented 2016-07-05 08:46:45 +0200
    After the ending of this Documentary, the whole cycling or you might say Traffic world suddenly changed for my view. Me myself am currently living in a cycling country with well-structured roads, so i actually never have stood still with the causes of death by traffic in the outside world. it is very sad to say be the documentary does have had stated the real facts of with not everyone else in the worlds knows, Cars are not necessary a great way of mobility by thinking of the drive behavior of certain countries of which lack the knowledge to innovative and evolve.
  • commented 2016-06-20 18:33:05 +0200
    Really interesting and worth the effort to watch the movie “bikes vs cars”.
    I found it very confronting to see the numbers of people who get hit by cars and still see the number of cars increasing. Furthermore, I think it’s a pity that big companies have such a big saying in the decision making which makes it almost impossible to increase the needed facilities for cyclists.
  • commented 2016-06-13 10:18:09 +0200
    In this February I went together with 9 international students to Taiwan. The goal was to conduct a field research on the research question “how to enhance the usage of bicycles in highly urbanised cities?” cycling has been such a normal daily activity for the students here, they had no idea the cycling environment could be different than what they are used to. Until they arrived in Taipei, within an hour they started to search bicycles in the street and were telling each other “I don’t see a bike”, “wow! So many scooters!!!”, “Do you see that grandpa crossing the road, that is risky.” From this research project “Bike Economy” we learned so much from the reality than at school library, students have become really aware of the benefits of cycling, the complexity of giving back liveable space to the people. Your film has opened many people’s eyes.
  • commented 2016-06-12 22:15:25 +0200
    Bikes VS Cars, this film really reflects a real issue existing in the real world-it’s not a war, it’s a city. Cities among the world shouldn’t have had a war between cyclists and car drivers. As the film shows to us, bicycle in poor cities even is a common transport tool for people there since only the wealth uses cars, while the bicycle infrastructure there is really unstructured. In some rich and relatively rich cities, there also have an amount of people would like to ride bikes on roads in case the cycling environment is safe enough for them. However, because of the infrastructure of most cities in the world nowadays is car-oriented, it causes the war between cyclists and car drivers in some of the cities. My project team has been to Taipei, Taiwan this year to do a field research and we have seen the city’s infrastructure inclines to scooter-oriented and car-oriented, while cycling is gradually being popular there at the same time. So from my personal perspective, the infrastructure for bikes and cars really needs balance, especially for those highly urbanized cities. The specialized bike lanes for cyclists should be built to ensure their road rights and safety.
  • commented 2016-06-11 14:50:25 +0200
    Personally speaking, this is not a fault of drivers either bicyclists. It seems a war between the two-wheeled and the four-wheeled: on the crowded street filled with cars, a cyclist rides a bike shuttling in the narrow cracks. During the Taiwan field research and interviews of experts, I believed that roads should be shared by both cars, buses, bikes and other transportation. The Sao Paulo bike activist said in the film: “You own a car, not the street. The street belongs to all of us. This is not a war. It’s a city.” When a director of car commercials tells Gertten he rides his bicycle to the set since traffic is so bad, or when a taxi driver in Copenhagen, the heaven for cyclists, compares his life there to “a day in hell.” It’s these moments that remind us the goal shouldn’t be automobiles’ disappearance but a shift in transport balance in urban regions, a general change in perspective. It wasn’t bikes vs cars, but something that was closer to progressive vs traditional urban street design. I have to say that the government influences a lot the development of bicycles due to the infrastructure.
  • followed this page 2016-06-11 14:46:39 +0200
  • commented 2016-02-03 10:36:49 +0100
    The Netherlands has tremendous knowledge and know-how about bikes usage. At Rotterdam Business School we have started a new international education project for our Bachelor degree students in their second year. The aim of this project is to encourage young university students world-widely to find solutions for a current social problem in a country/area by using the existing solutions provided by another country. We believe that when the young generation spreads the best practices that are already existing from one country to help another, they will see their positive impacts, and their view of the world will be brightened.
    This international education project is named as “Bike Economy”. We have currently chosen three areas: Shanghai, Los Angeles and Taiwan.
    What we have now are our young students who believe in changing the world for better, knowledgeable and fully committed teachers. We certainly want to make this project a permanent part of our curriculum. We are looking for contacts with film makers, experts in the area of smart city planning and sustainable urban development, lobbyists, NGO’s to work with us to expand this project to other universities in the world.
  • commented 2015-07-16 15:41:51 +0200
    You must read Labann…


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