The principle of mutual and certain death
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:


  1. Tim says:

    Whole heartedly agree – you may be interested in a cartoon I developed with Andy Singer a few years ago.

  2. Paul says:

    I’m reliably informed boxing became much more dangerous following the introduction of padded gloves. Previously boxers were less inclined to hit hard things like scull bones hard because of the pain and potential damage to their fingers. So they hit softer parts. Now they focus almost exclusively on the opponent’s head. Padding doesn’t mitigate the internal brain injuries at all. So Boxing is now more dangerous. Same thing for American Football. All that armour has increased brain damage.

    • Steven says:

      nice examples. Thank you! It would be nice to take all my readers’ gems on a speaking tour. I’d knock ’em dead!

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