These two videos about biking in Pittsburgh are actually worth watching

October 16, 2015

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer


Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is one of our favorite cities in the country, and it's not just the sandwiches; it's the Pittsburghers. They tend to have that special sauce that gives a city the chance to be truly great: they really care about the place they live.

We came across two bike-related videos recently that made us excited about the Steel City all over again.

One of them shows how deeply Pittsburgh's thought leaders understand the way biking fits into a city. The other is the best would-be-viral bike safety video from a transit agency that we've ever seen — one that takes clever advantage of Pittsburghers' strong self-identity.

Here's the first video. It's by Pat Francart, a cinematographer who works with the city's fantastic advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh. It's set at a bike parking conference, of all things, and it's also an extremely savvy summary of what bikes and great bike infrastructure can do.

"What's interesting about bike infrastructure and bike parking is that it's just as critical for cyclists as it is for cars," Eric Osth of Urban Design Associates explains in the video.

Right on.

Here's the second video, produced by the Port Authority of Pittsburgh, which runs the regional transit agency.

Many such campaigns around the country stoop to fearmongering or scolding people for normal, legal and desirable behavior ("never ever wear a dark jacket in a crosswalk"). The Port Authority flips that upside down and takes advantage of Pittsburghers' pride for their city: It runs through a list of claims that because "Pittsburgh is awesome," Pittsburghers do sensible things like bike with lights, ride in the middle of the lane sometimes for the sake of safety, and eat fish sandwiches at Nied's Hotel.

Only one of the claims here rings false: the suggestion that it's important to put your entire foot down at every stop sign. If any of the Pittsburghers who produced this video actually bikes that way rather than simply stopping long enough to ensure that it's safe to cross, that next fish sandwich is on us.

In any case, nice work, Pittsburgh. As usual.

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