Fighting The Law With Bicycles, Social Media
Meet Casey Neistat, a documentary filmmaker and one of the two stars of The Neistat Brothers series that appears on HBO. Like most creative people in today’s generation, Neistat is an active social media user, complete with a Twitter account and, like any up and coming movie director, a YouTube channel.
While Casey has enjoyed success with his documentaries — How many of us have shows on HBO? — his latest YouTube creation may very well become his most famous work to date. As the video in question explains, Casey is a New York City resident and he uses his bicycle to get around town. Recently, however, Neistat was given a ticket because he wasn’t riding in the bicycle lane, a problematic issue due to numerous obstacles being in these designated paths.
After calmly explaining his situation (while filming the video) to the ticketing police officer, who, himself was quite courteous, Neistat decided to demonstrate the problem faced by bicycles riders in the Big Apple; and when I say “demonstrate,” let’s just say Neisat throws his body into his work, and the result is humorous and quite informative. Because of that, the video has gone viral, appearing on numerous publications and link collectors like Reddit. First, the video itself:
Now for some numbers. Since its upload on June 7th, 2011, Neisat’s creation has already garnered over 100,000 views, and while that’s not quite Rebecca Black territory, it is still a significant number. Bonus: Neistat’s video does not have over 3 million dislikes, like Ms Black’s aurally uplifting creation.
Naturally, Neistat took to his Twitter account to help spread the word about his impromptu public service message, while acknowledging some of the blogs that helped make the video pop.
As for the video itself, the physical demonstration of the obstacles is what drives Neistat’s point home. How on earth can bike lane rules be enforced when the bike lanes themselves are filled with items that make bike accidents an inevitability, provided the rider in question obeys the law and only rides in these lanes. The alternative is to court a $50 ticket from New York’s finest. Of course, without the double standard, we never would’ve received Neistat’s entertaining, yet educational video.All in all, it has to be a win-win for the audience.
Now we’ll see just how powerful social media is, especially content that demonstrates the silliness of the laws being enforced, and the double standard such enforcement provides. Will the powers that be in NYC be more vigilant about bike lane obstacles or will they settle for ticketing folks who aren’t able to ride in the designated bike lanes? I think that all depends on the outcry Neistat’s video causes.