Hollywood battles bikers over shot-stealing cycle lane

Hollywood heavyweights are at war with a bike lane, though the movie industry isn't anti-cyclist, only at the color the path has been painted. The lane – which runs a 12-block length of Historic Core, California – was painted lurid green less than two years ago, The Hollywood Reporter writes, in the process allegedly ruining the area's potential as a convenient New York City stand-in for film crews. They want the paint changed to match the Big Apple, something cycling lobbyists say will end up being dangerous.

According to the movie location managers who have gathered to complain en-masse about the paint job, not only does the path not look like its bike-friendly counterparts in New York City, it also spoils shots that don't even include the road. "The reflectivity" Veronique Vowell, location manager for ABC's Scandal blames, "it's so fluorescent-y that it bounces up into the lofts and the storefront interiors and the cars driving by."

The proposal – put forward by SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the MPAA and Teamsters Local 399 – is to repaint the bike lane in a more NYC-alike forest green. That "is the same color used by New York City" one spokesperson said.

However, bikers aren't simply happy with having a lane: they point out there were technical reasons for the color choice. The same reflectivity which so frustrates the movie makers is what "maximizes safety" Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition spokesperson Eric Bruins pointed out.

Hopes that the two sides would be able to agree on a plan in time for a motion to the Historic Core city council earlier this month were dashed as no agreement could be found. The movie representatives also wanted to use half the amount of paint overall, to further decrease its impact on film.

It's not the first time bike safety has demanded compromise from other companies. Volvo took a high-tech approach to the issue, with a special camera-based cyclist spotting system that can automatically trigger the brakes if it identifies a potential accident. Meanwhile, it's been proposed that electric vehicles should artificially create noise to stand in for the clatter of a gas engine, with Audi even commissioning an "e-sound" to suit its vehicles.

VIA Mike Elgan