The idea of a battle between cars and bikes is an interesting one because there does seem to be a rivalry between the two modes of transportation. In Bend, a day doesn't go by (especially downtown) without bicyclists and car drivers cursing each other. Yet it should be easy to understand the common purpose of traveling safely between home, work, school or play.
The documentary film "Bikes vs. Cars" makes its stance known even with the promotional art. The key image found in the opening credits and across the website is of a bicyclist literally dragging Earth out of a smoggy and disgusting haze. The film will be presented Thursday, April 21, as part of SUSTAIN Central Oregon, co-sponsored by Central Oregon Community College, The Environmental Center and the Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA).
The film heads to Sao Paulo and Los Angeles, showing the complete failure both cities have when it comes to multimodal transportation. The public transportation system in Los Angeles, in particular, is a joke, leaving most residents without much in the way of other options.
Due to the failure to pass the gas tax, the city of Bend has been looking for ways to make up some of the money that tax would have put toward maintaining Bend roads. At a recent Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting in Bend, the idea was broached to cut $5,000 from the already paltry $15,000 bike lane maintenance budget. The idea was quickly squashed. By comparison, Portland's Metro Council has proposed dedicating $1.5 million over three years to the Safe Routes to School program. However, there is no money set aside for the infrastructure yet, but the vote on the allocation of those funds will be held on April 21.
Is Bend a bike friendly town?
Henry Abel from Pine Mountain Sports and the man behind the screening of "Bikes vs. Cars" took a moment to answer whether Bend is a bike town. "The short answer is mostly yes. The long answer is that Bend, or any town, is as bike friendly as you make it. You wanna make it bike friendly? Then start riding your bike. The more bikes that are on the road here, the more used to bikes Bend gets, and the friendlier to bikes Bend becomes. You want bike infrastructure to appear? Show the city that you're going to be riding your bike," says Abel.
Bend's bike lanes, public transportation system, sidewalks and infrastructure in general all need quite a bit of work, especially as the population continues to grow exponentially. What it really comes down to isn't bikes versus cars, it's safety versus short-sightedness, and that's not a sustainable way to live.
"Bikes vs. Cars"
Thursday, April 21, 9 p.m.
McMenamins Old St. Francis,
700 NW Bond St., Bend
$5 cash. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.