Ad Nauseum: The Humiliated Cyclist, Take Two

Now that State Farm has bowed out of the competition to air the world’s most anti-bike insurance commercial, Farmers’ HelpPoint steps into the breach with "Rush Hour."

The Scene: We hear the sound of someone unlocking their car by remote, as a be-suited, middle-aged white guy strides by in a parking garage. That must have been someone else’s remote, though, because when the suit emerges onto the street, he is hunched over a children’s bike, bereft of all dignity.

Pedaling at a ridiculously fast clip, the "cyclist" navigates downtown streets in a succession of rapid shots. He diligently signals a lane change, has truck exhaust spewed in his face, and endures the disbelieving stares of pedestrians. In what we will charitably assume is a nod to real cyclists, the protagonist is passed by someone on a normal-sized road bike.

He proceeds to exit the urban core, riding on the expressway as car commuters honk to signal their irritation at having to pass him. The previously rinky-dink soundtrack swells to a crescendo. Straining with exertion, the character mounts one last hill, city skyline safely behind him, before turning onto his driveway and entering the welcome embrace of his garage.

Tagline: "Life can be hard after a car accident." Beat. "One call to Farmers’ HelpPoint could fix that." Then an auto-pomorphized version of the Farmers’ HelpPoint logo speeds across the screen, crashes, turns into a wreck, and rights itself, good as new. A corporate motto appears: "Sanity makes a comeback."

Message: Hey, all you drivers crashing your cars out there. No need to investigate painfully humiliating alternate modes of transportation. Get back behind the wheel ASAP!

Alternate interpretation (character’s POV): Man, once you get out of your car, you really see how autos are fouling up the air and making downtown an incredibly unpleasant place. Those streets would be way better with some protected bike lanes and traffic-calming infrastructure.

And do I really need to live so far from work? This wedge of grass isn’t really worth the trouble. I’m going to get a real bike like that guy who passed me and move closer to downtown. Might cost more to live there, but I’ll save a ton on gas… and car insurance.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Case Against Bike Paths

|
(Anyone who was at last December’s Bike Meeting in City Hall witnessed a mini-shouting match between Enci Box and Councilman Tom LaBonge over whether or not there are "bike facilities" in LaBonge’s district.  Enci contends that a bike path is not a real facility, and she elaborates and explains that point here.  – DN) Cyclists […]

If L.A. Is Going to Invest in Bike Lanes, Then Do It Right!

|
Bike Lanes are a deterrent for me to ride in and I oftentimes cringe when I hear people blindly supporting them without asking for enhanced safety standards and regulations. So when the LA Draft Bike Plan proposes Bike Lanes and Paths all over the city without taking into consideration what the people want, it upsets […]

Another Wonderful Long Beach First: Protected Bike Lanes

|
The city of Long Beach is Southern California’s undisputed leader in innovative infrastructure for safe and convenient bicycling.  They’re at it again this Saturday, April 23rd 2011, when they unveil the first genuine protected bike lanes west of New York City. Opening festivities are from 11am to 2pm at the The Promenade – one block east of Pine Avenue. […]