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Unsafe roads: Filmmakers search for answers on cross-country bicycle tour

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Three bicyclists are filming interviews and collision scenes as they head down the California coast this week to begin a cross-country bicycle tour.

They hope to learn how Americans share the road and why that leads to so many deaths and injuries to people on two wheels. They plan to release a documentary film on the subject in 2014 entitled “Spoke.”

There’s a lot of interest in their work. The three — Em Baker, Nick Navarro and Lauren Gardner — recently raised more than $11,000 for the project from 125 donors at Kickstarter.com. Here’s the video that made as part of the fund-raising effort.

The three set off from San Francisco last weekend, following the 20th anniversary of Critical Mass. They plan to reach Orlando in about three months. Along the way, they’ll visit Los Angeles and San Diego, then Phoenix, Austin, Baton Rouge, and other smaller towns along the Southern Tier Bicycle Route.

Baker told the Mercury News in an interview:

“We want to examine the hows and whys” of bicycle-car accidents, she said, and explore the various types of infrastructure in place across the country.

“We don’t want to create a perspective that’s biased — we are trying to represent all different viewpoints,” Baker said.

“We also don’t want to entirely turn people off cycling.”

Their first official stop was the US 1 roadside near Davenport, California, where cross-country cyclist Josh Laven, 39, was found dead in May. He’d been the victim of a hit-and-run collision.


[CHP is still investigating the case, and there if a $2,000 reward. Laven’s dog was adopted by Joan Leitner of Capitola; she and her husband were the first to discover Laven’s body at the side of the road when they were out on a tandem bicycle ride.]

As they they met with Leitner and reporters at the Laven Ghost Bike shrine at the side of the road, Gardner said she’d been “clipped” by a car earlier in the day, but came through the incident mostly unscathed. Still, the episode focused the crew on the problem they were documenting.

Let’s wish safe bicycle travels for the three and success for their documentary.

The documentary film team is updating their cross-country bicycle tour at their blog and Facebook pages.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2012/10/04/unsafe-roads-filmmakers-search-for-answers-on-cross-country-bicycle-tour/

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