Guy Falling Off Bike

image I found this photo over at J-Walk Blog. J-Walk can't tell if it's real or fake, and the people who have posted comments over there seem split also. I think the image itself has to be real, in the sense of not being digitally manipulated... simply because the image quality is too high. Typically photoshopped images tend to be low-quality, to hide any mistakes. One person claimed that the guy falling off his bike is actually a statue, which could be, though I haven't been able to find any verification of this. If it is a photo of a statue, that would put it in the same genre as the Splat photo (i.e. photos of life-like, bizarre statues). I'm not sure where the image is taken. Is that the Vienna Opera House?


Posted on Mon Jul 26, 2004


He doesn't really look like he's falling off his bike. It looks more as if he's doing some sort of trick, or trying to make it look like he's falling off his bike. And the Innocent Bystander... well, he looks very posed. He's just standing there, looking directly at the camera, completely oblivious.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  04:03 PM
This photo is indeed the Vienna Opera House. You can see the place in the following larger photo :

So if it is a statue, it is not one which has a long history : you see nothing at the bottom of the pole in the one given above.

But in my opinion, there are some problems with the statue hypothesis : it looks quite instable (only two close points of contact with the ground), and you can see some logos written on the objects - something uncommon with statues, moreover when the "product" is displayed in an accident !

On the other hand, do you notice the person in green shirt behind the "statue" ? It looks like he's looking at something happening towards the photographer. Well, he may be puzzled by the statue, but also by a real event...
Posted by EM  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  04:20 PM
Now call me crazy, but I'm not seeing this guys other leg. Or a shadow of it, for that matter. That leads me to believe this may be fake.
Posted by Eric  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  10:16 PM
Yeah, the framing is a bit off. Coincidence that the photographed man on left and bike rider on right are both completely in frame? Initially I assumed that the man in blue was being photographed and the intention was to capture him next to the opera house but you would think they would frame the shot on a more attractive angle rather than the Lexus billboard and the plastic sheeting.

Also, I can't figure out exactly what would cause the bike rider to fall off the bike over the handlbars. There's a bike lane in the frame but it's a few feet from the pole. Maybe he ran into the pole but it seems he would fall at a different angle.

I would guess that it's real but a staged stunt.
Posted by Michael  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  09:53 AM
About the "missing leg", well, if this guy really is "falling", then he must be mowing his left leg up and close to his body, just like when you want to get off of your bike. So what we see here is coherent : the "missing leg" is in fact bent close to his belly. As you can see from the shape of the bag he carries, he is slightly tilted in the direction orthoghonal to the shadow, so there is room to hide the leg in a very natural way, IMO...

I have also just look at a 400% zoom of this image, if it is photoshopped, it is even more incredible ! 😊

Finally, let us remind that, looking at the position of the guy, he may be falling "slowly" : ie : one second after he brakes in front of the pole, the bike is almost vertical, and the guy is just trying to control everything instead of letting his bike fall alone. So it also gives some time for the photographer to actually take the picture without being so "lucky"...
Posted by EM  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  10:21 AM
I just realized- shouldn't there be even just a little motion blur? There's none!
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  11:12 AM
About the framing of the photo that Michael talks about:
I absolutely disagree - I just got back from a 3 week trip and trying to get a shot with a)my BF/me/cute animal/etc, b)a famous building and c)an absurd billboard all in the same picture would be exactly the thing we'd do.
Come on - Lexus sponsoring G̦tterd
Posted by Aspsusa  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  03:27 PM
Plantpherson ; look at the image at 400% zoom for instance, and you'll see little motion blur on the face of the guy, as if his most "violent" move was to turn his head away from the pole... Yet again something coherent with the real event hypothesis, IMO !
Posted by EM  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  11:15 PM
Indeed, if it's that sunny, you can virtually stop all action with a camera. It's actually much hard to create a blur than to eliminate one. With a fast shutter speed, you can stop race cars and other things. That there's no blur is no big deal. The shadows are right. The length of the shadows would suggest a high sun, close to verticle. What's more, the glare and shadows on the rims are right. It's usually in those small details that you tell a fake.

There isn't any EXIF file information. That would have made it too easy to identify.
Posted by B.B.  on  Wed Jul 28, 2004  at  11:05 AM
It could be that the bicycle is a "statue" but the person is just posing on it. Some people have mentioned the uncomfortable position of the legs. I suppose that if the person in the picture had placed one foot on the handlebars for balance (though it would have to be a very sturdy statue which it doesn't appear to be but there could be a point of contact behind the person that we do not see) then he could put himself in that position.
Posted by Mary  on  Thu Jul 29, 2004  at  08:21 AM
I wasn't going to comment, but two things made me think I should:

1. I have had the experience of turning a corner and seeing a cyclist at the peak of an accident, where she had applied the front brakes too suddenly and the bike was effectively overturned, and she along with it. As a consequence, I turned the corner to see a cyclist almost udside down and motionless in the middle of a road, with no evidence as to why or hjow it had happened, and making me think she was some sort of performance artist or something for the brief moment she was "stuck" in that pose. It was very odd and had I taken a photo of it, no-one would have believed it was real. This makes me think the pic is real.

2. The shadows seem wrong, despite other comments claiming they are fine - the telephone pole's shadow seems to cut off suddenly at the road and I cannot figure out where the cyclist's shadow falls (the bike's is there, and I know most of the cyclist's shadow is hidden by the pole itself, but surely there should be more visible?).

3. Images that have been doctored successfully are not always low-quality or blurry - I work in publishing and we photoshop images all the time. They are always high resolution and you could not tell they were photoshopped unless someone told you. In fact, I would argue that most of the images you see in print today have been manipulated, so arguing that the "image quality is too high" doesn't make any sense - it may be a case of the manipulator being very good.
Posted by Zesty Pete  on  Thu Jul 29, 2004  at  09:04 AM
Just re-read my comment below and I contradicted myself, so let me just say that despite the fact that I thought at first it was possibly real, the shadow thing made me change my mind. And when I said "two things" in the first line, I of course mean "three"... I really should check these things before I post them.
Posted by Zesty Pete  on  Thu Jul 29, 2004  at  09:07 AM
i agree about the shadows they look off, he also looks like hes been sitting there for a while, so no motion blur would be there...also, if the guy on the left was posing for a picture, normally people take pictures with the target in the middle, plus the guys just standing there as if nothing happened, seems a little wierd
Posted by Andy  on  Sat Sep 18, 2004  at  01:41 PM
Did somebody save the picture?
Posted by Pizza  on  Tue Mar 08, 2005  at  11:23 AM
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