We just released a bunch of high-quality biking photos into the public domain

November 02, 2015

Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer

Click to explore the stash.

One of the best things about biking is that it helps you live more of your life in public, fully a part of the community around you.

Today we're happy to be doing the same thing, except with photography.

Here at PeopleForBikes, we spend a lot of time looking for the perfect images that'll help more people understand certain things about bikes or biking. Things like these:

Somewhere along the way, we noticed that it was hard to find top-notch images of people enjoying the activity we call everyday biking, or even good photos of the streets that encourage that sort of low-stress utilitarian riding. There are lots of Creative-Commons photos of peletons zooming around corners (which are, don't get us wrong, awesome) but not so many of people puttering to the store. There are some photos of people's butts as they bike away (which are, don't get us wrong, awesome) not as many of their smiles as they approach.

There are also a surprising number of photos out there of empty bike lanes. Which are, frankly, not so awesome.

But you want a photo of someone obviously enjoying the use of a really nice bike lane on a crisp November morning, to use on your blog post or Facebook page or slideshow or brochure or community meeting? Sorry, you're out of luck. Especially if you need the photo as part of your job that you do for money.

Well, we decided to do something about it. Over the last few years, we've worked with a bunch of talented photographers and models to create a large archive of photos that we and our nonprofit partners use to tell the story of biking. This week, we (along with our crack photography contractor Adam Coppola, among others) made as many of them as possible available for free use.

That includes:

  • 43 photos of great bike infrastructure in Chicago, Seattle, Austin and Boston, now in the public domain. All significant subjects were compensated for use of their likeness, so these can be used any time by anyone for any purpose. In 29 cases, the description text asks politely that you credit Coppola, but that's it.
  • 196 photos of ordinary people riding in cities around the world, from Pittsburgh to Berlin, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. The only reason these can't be used for commercial purposes is that they were snapped on the street, so the subjects haven't signed off on your next Kickstarter product. For other purposes like journalism or small-scale projects, they're fair game — just credit PeopleForBikes, please.

We'll be adding to all these stashes steadily from here on out. Meanwhile, here's the best way you can help expose more people to the infectious ideas of biking and bike infrastructure: spread the word that these photos aren't ours any more. They aren't anyone's.

They're everyone's.

The Green Lane Project helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write michael@peopleforbikes.org.

We're part of PeopleForBikes. Follow the broader story of bicycling on Facebook and Twitter too.

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