Image via YouTube screenshot.
"Fixed gear. No brakes. Can't stop. Don't want to, either." So begins the trailer for "Premium Rush," an action thriller about a New York City bike messenger caught up in a life or death chase with a dirty cop and a mysterious, valuable package. But the movie does more than chronicle a wild adventure through the streets of New York. It also confirms every urbanite's worst impression of cyclists as reckless, arrogant, and dangerous.
Here's the YouTube video's description, uploaded by Sony Pictures:
Dodging speeding cars, crazed cabbies, open doors, and eight million cranky pedestrians is all in a day's work for Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the best of New York's agile and aggressive bicycle messengers. It takes a special breed to ride the fixie -- super lightweight, single-gear bikes with no brakes and riders who are equal part skilled cyclists and suicidal nutcases who risk becoming a smear on the pavement every time they head into traffic.
For the icing on the cake, star Joseph Gordon-Levitt crashed through the back window of a taxi while filming, earning him 31 stitches on his arm.
In all fairness, bike messengers and cyclists in general in New York are often aggressive and ignore traffic rules. And in fairness to "Premium Rush," it's a Hollywood action movie, not a treatise on urban transportation. But I'd like to point out - without whining - that this movie is adding fuel to the fire that is New York's battle of the bike lanes - and the casualties are adding up.
More on the bike wars:
Curing Car Vs. Cyclist Road Wars With A New Rule: "Just Don't Steal The Right-Of-Way"
Bikes Are New York Fringe? Even The Wall Street Journal Says Not
2011 or 1899? Sexy Cyclist Deemed Traffic Distraction