The documentary Bikes vs Cars has been grabbing attention around the world for the last few months, but we haven’t had a chance to see it – until now.
Luckily, Bike Devonport has scored the first (and so far only!) New Zealand screening, at the gorgeous Vic theatre on a Sunday afternoon. It’s sure to be a hot date for biking types from all over the city.
And as a bonus, after the film there’ll be a quick and lively discussion on how to increase biking in Auckland and what some of the big challenges still are, featuring Kathryn King from Auckland Transport, our chair Barbara Cuthbert, Niko Elsen from Generation Zero, and Barney Irvine from the AA, moderated by Patrick Reynolds of TransportBlog.
Where and when: The Vic theatre in Devonport. Sunday 18th October, 3pm.
Tickets are an insanely cheap $5 and can be ordered in advance online (Click on the day and time to buy tickets). There will be some door sales on the day, but book ahead to choose your seats!
Arriving by bike? You know you can take your bike on the ferry to Devonport, right? Timetable here. Valet bike parking will be provided at the Vic – and free bike checks by Tumeke Cyclespace!
Sticking around afterwards? Devonport is full of great little places to eat before you roll on down to the last ferry at 10.15pm.
So what’s the film about? Well, crucially, the “versus” in the title is not just an opposition: it’s a proposition. We have a choice – not just about how we travel, but how we share space and how we experience the world. The film asks what cars are doing to our cities (and our lives) – and what bikes can offer by contrast.
It also asks: can we afford not to rethink our current prioritising of the private car above all else? And it illuminates these questions via compelling stories – some enraging, some inspiring – from all over the world.
In an interview in the Guardian, the film’s Swedish director Fredrik Gertten explains how he sees the difference between cars and bikes:
If you’re dependent on having a car every day, you have lost your freedom. It’s very sad. Most people are unhappy in traffic. The people who bike their cities, they become city-lovers. When you’re in a car, you don’t see the city, you are only watching the road. On a bike, you can see the sky, you can see the trees. People get to know their countries in a different way.
A few reviewers have quibbled with the film’s either/or framework – is it too provocative? But at the most basic level, pitting bikes against cars is a useful tool for cracking open some bigger and very urgent discussions about urban planning, civil rights, and quality of life.
Grab your tickets ASAP via the Vic’s website, and come and make up your own mind. See you there!
PS There’s even an app that goes with the movie, so you can “create your own climate effect” by tracking your bike miles and seeing how much carbon you and other riders are saving in your city.