As cycling advocates we aught to be opposing seat belts in cars, airbags, bicycle helmets, and stupid inventions like the one in that video, for the same reasons military tacticians opposed Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars proposal. On the face of things, building a shield against nuclear missiles seemed like a brilliant idea. But the world would be gone now, had it been implemented.
The best way to handle dangerous weapons, once they are already out there, is to ensure their misuse will result in mutual and certain death.
The principle of mutual and certain death could have a place in urban transport. Rather than fitting airbags to everything from our car steering wheels, to our collars, to our babies’ strollers, we should be fitting air daggers. Hit something, and a spike will explode in your forehead. I think we would all wheel our prams, ride our bikes, and drive our cars with more caution, if all such devices had air spikes.
If you don’t like that idea, but appreciate the principle, then you might at least see the merits of generally opposing armour on transport devices, whether we’re talking about airbags or seat belts in cars or bicycle helmets. All these things make us blithe, callus, sociopathic, and more like Ronald Reagan. They have their place on the race track, but where is the race track? They have no place in the city, where we all need to be manoeuvring our cars, and our bikes, and our strollers, with absolute care. If you don’t agree, look at yourself: