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Monday
Oct252010

Airbags for cyclists

It's not April 1st. is it?

I’m not quite sure what to make of this latest invention to come out of Sweden; an airbag for cyclists who refuse to wear a helmet. A collar that inflates in 0.1 seconds on impact to cover the head and neck.

Do they really think that someone who refuses to wear a helmet will wear one of these?

And why only cyclists? How about one for every pedestrian on the street; or better yet a full body suit that inflates with helium so the unfortunate victim can float harmlessly over the car after he is hit.

There is just something entirely wrong with the whole premise that people who drive automobiles be allowed to do so in any fashion they see fit, and then we try to protect the same driver and every other person he may injure with helmets, airbags and other devices.

I have said before, it is akin to giving everyone a gun, allowing them to fire it indiscriminately wherever and at whatever they please, and then issuing everyone around them a bullet proof vest.

It is really quite simple: if a person can’t drive on the street without running into someone, that person should not be allowed to drive on the street. I am not saying that all collisions are a driver’s fault; there are pedestrians and cyclists who suddenly appear out of nowhere.

But the modern automobile has become so easy to drive, that people operate a vehicle as if they are sitting on their living room sofa. There has to be a change in attitude, that it is not okay to be eating, drinking coffee, applying makeup, or using some electronic device while driving.

Let’s start by removing airbags and other safety restraints from the inside of cars, and spend the money saved on driver education. Start holding people accountable for their actions; if you kill someone, you lose the privilege to drive.

Cigarette advertising has been banned in most places because it is deemed hazardous to people’s health. How about banning car ads for the same reason?

Every ad on television for the latest car or SUV shows the vehicle speeding though deserted streets at night, or doing the same in daylight on country roads devoid of any other traffic. Then we wonder why the average motorist gets angry when there is someone in his way.

He has been sold an idea that he has the right to an empty highway where he can drive without restriction. This is false advertising at its worst, and in the real world can never be.

In the meantime the real world has gone crazy; a cook-coo land where we are expected to wear airbags on our heads to protect us from a danger that in a civilized world should not exist

 

                       

Reader Comments (11)

Auto ads geared to incentivize irresponsible road behavior is the MO and an important ingredient in marketing appeal. You're right, the marketing hype of empty streets opened to rubber burning joy is an expectation but truly a myth. Burdening our roads with unnecessary risks will be put into hyperdrive with dashboard infotainment systems.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

while insane, i like some of the basic idea. maybe we can tweak this into a helmet with an automatic inflatable HANS device.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjhota

Hi dave,
I like the idea of a Hans type device in a hemet stated above if it's lightweight and doesn't affect ventilation or performance. People who choose not to wear a helmet while riding are of the same mentality of those who drive without seat belts. Both save lives. I agree with you that today's cars are so easy to drive that they nearly drive themselves. When I was learning to drive, my Mother insisted I learn and take the driving test in a standard "stick" shift car. I agree with this because you must think about up shifting,down shifting,braking etc..at all times and it focuses you to the task at hand instead of just putting the transmission in"drive" and using your foot to push on the accelerator or brake.
I think it should be mandatory that all drivers must take the test in a standard transmission car. I realize that most cars are equiped with automatic tranmissions, but by learning to drive a "stick" not only makes you a better driver, but you can drive any car or truck. My Father used to say that we should be made to put in many hours learning to drive like pilots do learning to fly airplanes. This may be a little extreme, but by promoting more time spent learning and becoming superb drivers will reduce accidents, possibly improve traffic congestion make roads safer for everyone. I believe in Germany they have very strict rules about drivng and getting your licence. Maybe someone else can enlighten us on their rules. I also agree that talking on the phone (doesn't matter if it's hands free or not) or texting should be forbidden. Here in California there is a law in which you get a $150 citation, but I don't think it's enforced to well as I see drivers breaking the law every day. It's a distraction that we don't need and if you must do this than pull over and stop on the side of the road to talk or text. What did we do before these electronic "leashes" were invented? I have even see cyclists doing the same thing. The same rule should be the same for them as well.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Okay. Sorry. I burst out laughing at this notion of a collar carrying-air bag inflating device. And, the fashion plate model wearing the thing just added to the hilarity. Excuse me while I wipe the coffee spew off my monitor. Ahem.

Of course, you're correct. Cars are too easy to drive, and the addition of electronic devices to the mix is a recipe for disaster; a too frequent result. When the cell phone speaking driver passes me on the road (whether on a bike or driving myself), I always thank the deities I was spared ... this time. People often do really stupid things, just because they can, or they think they can.

I second the notion of a driver's test for license which must be taken in a vehicle with a manual transmission. But, even those have become "automated" - ie; shift-by-wire.

*Much* stiffer penalties for driver errors that result in injury (never mind death), or the destruction of property would help to focus some folks. But, that doesn't put a dent in Americans' entitled sense of ownership of the highway - and a lane free of all obstructions - something auto makers are happy to encourage.

Eventually, *much* higher petroleum prices may help to focus us all. It's the only thing that I think will save us from ourselves.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

Yeah, I saw that on another bike blog. Of course someone who wouldn't wear a helmet won't wear this thing either. However, the feds could make them mandatory, installed on new bicycles, just like they made airbags mandatory on cars originally because people just wouldn't wear seat belts.

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Dear Dave,

To your point regarding proper education of drivers, and holding them accountable for their actions, I have seen some commercials that really frighten me. One of the automobile makers has developed a car that senses if a driver is falling asleep or not paying attention and will either stop the car or redirect it towards a lane. This sounds like a great invention until you look below the surface.

Here are some questions that I have:

1) Can the "car" sense a child, adult, cyclist,__________...in the way?
2) Will such an invention lead to more careless driving?
3) Will drivers use this technology to overcome poor driving habits, and what happens when the technology falters, or is used beyond its limitations.

The commercial really frightens me because the drivers appear so proud of the fact that they were too tired or inattentive to drive, and the car helped them out.

Regards,

Jay

October 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I've know several economists who think that many of the safety features built into cars are not cost effective. Their solution is installing a spike in the center of the steering wheel. Would cost about a dollar unless you wanted a special one for your luxury car but would change how people drive. immediately.

October 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

I don't think you are approaching this with a completely open mind, Dave.

First off, a lot more people crash their bikes for other reasons than automobiles - especially on trails.

Secondly, suppose for a moment that the "collar" had been invented first and now these two Swedish lasses have just patented "the bike helmet". Is it possible that your first response would be - "There's no way I'm riding around with one of those funny looking things on my head!"

There was a time when racers didn't wear helmets - i wonder if we'll see that again.

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

And anyone who wears one will be known by the catchy title..."Airheads."

October 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

"Airbags for cyclists"

...Oh, Dave.
lol

October 31, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlocals_only

"Airheads" lol! :) You clearly have a point Dave, most motorists nowadays bet their safety on their car's innovations. We can;t clearly remove the airbags but then I just hope I could get hold of that airbag James Bond got in one of his movies.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPedals Cycling

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