'A biking adventure to investigate cycling deaths'

Nick Navarro is a cyclist based in San Francisco who is producing a documentary about “Americas poor bicycle infrastructure.”

Thanks a bunch, Nick.

The film will be called SPOKE. (And, yes, this is a Kickstarter project. They need your money.)

Oh, and the tagline is, “A biking adventure to investigate cycling deaths.”

Directing the film is Em Baker, an Australian who apparently is feeling nostalgic for the crappy cycling infrastructure where she grew grew up. Co-producing is Lauren Gardner, of Nevada who has spent time dodging tigers in Nepal, and now apparently needs to tangle with SUVs across Texas to get her adrenaline thrills.

They are going to ride from San Francisco to Orlando.

Nick an Lauren have no film making experience. Em has has worked on several films, and SPOKE will be her directorial debut.

Their route will take them across some pretty desolate and bike-unfriendly territory. Not that it’s hard to find bike-unfriendly territory in America.

I took the liberty of superimposing their proposed route over the League of American Bicyclists‘ map of Bicycle Friendly America.

SPOKE, a biking adventure to investigate cycling deaths by Spokemovie "” Kickstarter
Colored dots mean nice places to ride a bike

Their project page says:

Despite having the lowest percentage of cyclists in the Western world, the US has the highest number of fatalities and injuries.

Yes: relative to the Western world.

But what about relative to using a motor vehicle, climbing stairs, walking, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, athletic training, football and tennis? All of these activities have higher injury and death rates than cycling.

Their purpose is, “to investigate the cause of the US’s burgeoning rate of bicycle fatalities.” I’m not sure I accept the premise. The absolute number of fatalities is up because cycling is up. But is the rate truly burgeoning? I have my doubts. (Help me out, data geeks.)

The three filmmakers are bike commuters, but only Em has done a bit of touring.

I’m hoping they will be able to balance line between stressing the relative safety of cycling and emphasizing how much better it could be. And I’m worried that a few white-knuckle moments across New Mexico and Texas may slant the story they want to tell.

The film is set to consist of their journey as well as interviews along with cyclists along the way.

It’ll be interesting.   I wish I could join them. Give ’em some pledges.

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