The Battle for Britain’s Roads

Streetsblog reader George Henik directs our attention to the excellent new BBC documentary "Road Rage," a British version of Contested Streets — minus the advocacy — that examines the intensifying conflict between motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians in the UK. The Beeb describes the situation as a war of succession: 

For 40 years, Britain’s motorists have been the kings of the road, claiming their title through tax discs and fuel duty. But now the balance of power is shifting. There are new pretenders to the throne. Pedestrians and cyclists want equal rights on the road, and this has sparked a war. Our roads are now a battleground.

There are 27 million cars on Britain’s roads, an increase of over 5 million in 10 years. But there are also 23 million bicycles fighting with them for road space.

The whole hour is well worth watching, but here are some highlights:

  • 4:21 – Great clips from a pro-biking TV spot sponsored by Transport for London and the Mayor’s Office.
  • 8:42 – Hilarious segment comparing a bus load of chatty kids to an SUV-driving, road rage-suppressing father taking his son to school.
  • 16:10 – A bit about cyclists who jump red lights and the bobbies who ticket them.
  • 31:15 – A look at one of London’s least pedestrian-friendly intersections, Henley’s Corner, and how one elderly man negotiates it.
  • 51:50 – Competitive cyclist Emma Davies-Jones talks about why she moved from Britain to the more bike-friendly Belgium.
  • 52:56 – Critical Mass in London.

And yes, somewhere in there are clips of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Speaking of Contested Streets, Stefan Schaefer’s doc about NYC gridlock has been picked up by the Sundance Channel. It will air sometime after April 1st, details to come.