Despite having the lowest percentage of cyclists in the Western world, the US has the highest number of fatalities and injuries. What’s more, while cycling fatalities have decreased significantly in other western nations over the past 40 years, in the U.S they remained quite steady.
Research indicates that the greater the number of cyclists on the roads, the greater the need for appropriate infrastructure. Thus, more cyclists = less fatalities and injuries. This simple equation becomes the motivation for our trip.
The statistics become apparent when comparing the U.S with a country like the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, where 26% of all daily trips are made by bike, there are 1.6 injuries for every 10 million kilometers cycled. In the U.S, where 1% of all daily trips are on bikes, it’s 33.5.
While biking is arguably far more dangerous in the U.S than in other Western
countries, it comes with long term-health and environmental benefits. It’s not our intention to look too deeply at these, other than to ask cyclists and victims their motives for cycling. We want to emphasize that these are individuals trying to make a healthy or environmentally responsible choice, and that currently they are unable to do this without putting themselves at significant risk.
SPOKE is a journey-tale of three commuter bikers riding cross-country in an effort to investigate the cause of America’s burgeoning rate of cycling fatalities. The trio are young and, for the most part inexperienced cyclists. Our adventures, triumphs and mishaps will form the framework for the narrative.
We will depart on September 29, the day after participating in the 20th anniversary celebration of Critical Mass in San Francisco! Along the way, we will meet with interviewees whose insights paint a picture of cycling in America.
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You will be able to track our progress on the map on our website, see where we've been and what we're up to, day to day.
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- (29 days)