Nick and I met for thesis today and decided to quit talking and do something. Well, we talked a little, then we definitely took action. We discussed what the next steps should be in terms of the direction of our project. We considered doing more interviews, scheduling more interviews, working on homework that is directly related to it, or trying something new. Our professor had been talking about how we needed to have a hunch, and act on it. So we thought.
We thought about bike lanes. We came up with some ideas about delineating them better, or maybe build a big thing out of bikes and park it in car parking with a note about cars parking in bike lanes, or just knocking on windows and asking/telling people not to park in them. All in all, the ideas were ok, but none were really immediately actionable on a rainy sunday afternoon.
Then we started thinking about bikes as cars and the arguments around that. First that some people still think that bikes belong on the sidewalks, and second we found a lot of articles that explaining that the author wasn’t against cycling, just the ones that ran the red-lights and broke the laws. We wondered what would really happen if a bike was treated as a car completely. If the cyclist not only obeyed all the laws, but was given the same rights to the road in terms of room. We thought about the parked object made of bikes, and I remembered a photo on facebook I just saw of one of my friends with a covered wagon pulled by six cyclists and we thought what about a bike that is a car. After a few iterations on the whiteboard we narrowed the idea down from welding 5 bikes together, to building a frame around one bike that would take up the amount of room a car would receive. That was it!
Off to Home Depot for supplies (since local hardware stores close at more reasonable hours). It was a fun ride back with 10 foot pipes strapped on the bikes, but it gave us a taste of what we were about to be getting ourselves into. After a few hours in the shop we ended up with our first fully functional prototype.
Moving forward we are thinking of adding a sign that reads something like “On the road, obeying the laws, right where we belong.” with the hashtag #bikecar. To try to address the two different discussions about cyclists on the road, law-breakers and sidewalk use. Depending on how effective the design is, we may put a little how-to on instructables so others can follow in our footsteps. We also would like to paint the pipes to make them more noticeable and maybe extend them out further to take up more of a car sized space. Right now the dimensions are only approximately 3.5’x7′
We’ve already gotten a lot of questions about them. After I explained to a car passenger on the ride home that the pipes were so that cars would know to treat us more like cars, he said “Nice.” agreeing it was a good idea. Hopefully rides not at midnight will be even more interesting. Now I just have to remember to stop at stop signs!