Scorcher We Are Traffic!

We Are Traffic!
50 minute documentary, directed by Ted White, 1999


We Are Traffic! chronicles the history and development of the "Critical Mass" bicycle movement, one of the most spirited and dynamic social/political movements of the apathetic 90's.  In over 200 cities in 14 different countries,  Critical Mass has now become a monthly ritual of reclaiming the streets by bicycle activists riding en masse.

With traffic congestion, pollution, and road rage on the rise, growing numbers around the world are advocating for transportation alternatives, and Critical Mass is at the cutting edge of this mindset.

We Are Traffic! tracks this leaderless, grassroots movement from its beginnings in San Francisco in 1992 to its spread across the globe. With a radical direct-action approach the participants of Critical Mass are celebrating the bicycle and in turn taking on perhaps the century's most sacred cow: the automobile.


Presenting both the successes and failures of this unique movement We Are Traffic! shows how Critical Mass has brought together complete strangers in an exuberant, commercial-free public space filled with creativity and unpredictability. In its efforts to raise awareness Critical Mass has both inspired and challenged the public while often confounding public officials and police departments.


We Are Traffic! is a fascinating analysis of a modern political movement:  Critical Mass--which challenges the very notion of what a political movement should look like and how it should function.


We Are Traffic! investigates vibrant examples of transportation-related art created and displayed in public places, focusing on the work of mural artist Rigo, whose bold traffic-sign motifs ask questions instead of give commands. Also highlighted is the work of other Critical Mass-associated artists including Jim Swanson, Beth Verdekal, and the mysterious "San Francisco Department of Public Art".

Provocative and entertaining, this documentary presents a side of Critical Mass not seen in mainstream media and illustrates the amazing geographic spread of Critical Mass, providing glimpses of Critical Masses in Austin,TX, Eugene, OR, Chapel Hill, NC, New York, NY, Chicago, IL, Copenhagen, London and Sydney.

We Are Traffic! celebrates modern grassroots politics, free expression and the potential for revitalized public spaces.       

". . . this festive look at a burgeoning movement is a fine invitation to join the freewheeling crowds -- or at least cheer from the sidewalk to encourage the demise of fossil-fueled tyranny." 

-- Sierra Magazine

Broadcasts: Recent screenings: Suggested University/
Classroom use:


• PBS, KQED,  San Francisco,CA

• FreeSpeech Television
Summer Series

• PBS, WYBE "Through the Lens" series,  Philadelphia, PA

• Excerpts broadcast on  National Geographic Television


• SEED Sustainability Conference at Evergreen College, Olympia,WA

• Toronto International Environmental Film Festival

• Chicago Undergound Film Festival

• Northwest Film Center, Portland, OR

• Western University, Bellingham, WA

• Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA

• Environmental and Sustainability courses

• Cultural Geography

• Urban Design/Planning

• Architecture

• Political Science

Both Return of the Scorcher and We Are Traffic!
now come bundled together
on one DVD.

The DVD also includes bonus material. Plays in all regions




We Are Traffic!


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