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vidTO: Pedal Power VS Toronto Police

Posted by Ryan C / December 3, 2007

From the Youtube description, posted by Kittykate8:

Michel de Broin, an artist, had totally stripped down a 1986 Buick Regal and outfitted it with 4 independent pedal and gear mechanisms. This was part of 'art' piece being exhibited at the Mercer Union Gallery (24 October - 8 December).
Anyway, the police noticed the car's test drive and thought to pull it over and check it out.

See folks, at least this "art" didn't cause a frickin' AIDS charity drive to get canceled by some feckwit. And look Ma'! NO TASERS!



Rick Mason / December 3, 2007 at 02:10 pm
Too awesome! Looks like it moves at a decent speed too for such a beast. Nice to see the cops were fairly decent about the whole thing.
malcolm Lambe / December 3, 2007 at 02:25 pm
I love it!
malcolm Lambe / December 3, 2007 at 02:27 pm
I love it!
Ben / December 3, 2007 at 03:09 pm
I want to drive one to critical mass. I am not 100% sure of how welcome I would be though.
Ezra Ekman / December 3, 2007 at 03:34 pm
While I am not a lawyer, I don't think the police had a legal leg to stand on. The vehicle is governed by the state vehicle code and would most likely qualify as a bicycle, regardless of the fact that it does not meet the stereotypical description of one. I assume (perhaps mistakenly) that the engine was removed in order to conserve weight. Check your local ordinances, but I believe this would negate the concept of it being a "motor vehicle" or "AUTOmobile." There is no motor, and it is no longer automatic. The only place you might run into trouble is in what constitutes a motor vehicle. For example, in California it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle in neutral. Some people do this to conserve gas and save wear on their transmission, but there is a safety issue with it. It is possible that, if the vehicle was considered a motor vehicle, you could be sited under a law similar to this. Obviously, there are many types of bicycles. Recumbant bikes, four-wheeled bikes, two- and three-person bikes... all of these are still considered bicycles, and are subject only to those laws that address bicycles. (And in some states, pedestrians, since bicyclists are considered pedestrians in some cases.) Attatching the side-view mirror to a bicycle wouldn't make it a car. Or painting it with the same paint that a car is painting it with. Or attaching a horn to it. But at some point, it is possible that a vehicle becomes a "motor vehicle", even when the motor is not present. I would find out where that line is drawn and go from there.
einstein / December 3, 2007 at 03:56 pm
Wow it appears canada is getting as strict as the US. Yeah lets give some guys shit because they did something different. That is no longer a MOTOR vehicle so they need to find someone else to berate uselessly.
Jimmy / December 3, 2007 at 04:12 pm
Well, the police did mention a safety concern. I can somewhat understand this. After all, even a stripped Buick Regal is going to be heavy, and we don't know what braking system was in the vehicle. There was also no floor and with those seats, I don't know if there were any seat belts. IMHO, not too unreasonable if the vehicle is being driven with other automobile traffic on the the street. Pedal powered or not, when you have a 1500 lb vehicle being driven in traffic, some minimum standards need to apply. Good to see the police not being total asshats, and everyone behaving rationally.
digdouggler / December 3, 2007 at 04:15 pm
In Amerika, we don't cotton to such nonsense. Those peddlin' fools would have been tasered post haste!
Hitch Fritzcock / December 3, 2007 at 04:25 pm
oic, it belongs to an ARTIST!

You are free to go.

Nick / December 3, 2007 at 04:46 pm
In BC at least, bicycles are governed under the motor vehicle act. And since it is a car (just stripped down) I'm sure it is still required to have brakes and what not to be on the road. Not to say they didn't or that they couldn't get the peddle car road worthy.
madsci / December 3, 2007 at 05:13 pm
In Ontario, bicycles are covered by the Highway Traffic Act. Basically, they must follow all the same regulations that automobiles do (they are just slow moving vehicles).
SC / December 3, 2007 at 10:02 pm
Great! Such a funny, silly thing to do. I laughed so much.
Maybe they got pulled over because they weren't wearing helmets?
bagelche / December 3, 2007 at 10:24 pm
Interesting idea, but clearly some safety and legal concerns as highlighted by other comments. I'm impressed by how mellow the cops were. They let the folks get out of the car and even approach them from behind without freaking out. Good for them.
monte beauchamp / December 4, 2007 at 12:14 pm
This car is the WAVE of the future: put a bigger gear system and redesign the car body with aluminum and the benefits will be immense:

1.) NO need for Fuel (will end fighting in the Middle East)
2.) NO emissions (that gravely pollute the atmosphere): will cut emphysema and lung cancer by 85% (HUGE insurance savings).
3.) Will cut America's obesity problem down by 98 per cent.
4.) Annual savings: about $10,000 per person
Japhet / December 4, 2007 at 12:30 pm
This is not a car.
Eva / December 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm
Do you need a helmet or a driver's license to drive this?
Mento / December 4, 2007 at 02:11 pm
Damn, if another car hit this thing the occupants would be burger.
DAVE kerry / December 4, 2007 at 03:01 pm
It's a modern dat FLINTSTONE mobile
I totally love it.
I just come home from driving all day .
I wish everyone drove one.
Except me.
Roger / December 4, 2007 at 03:59 pm
Ah, but is it art?

I love how the horde of bike cops come by about half way through the video. Not that they helped out much. Maybe they were the backup in case things got out of hand.
ben / December 4, 2007 at 06:06 pm
"The safety factor is....unsafe"
Doesn't sound like he's the sharpest knife in the drawer does he?
Alan / December 4, 2007 at 10:46 pm
I have to agree with Ezra Ekman. It's no longer a car, it's a pedal powered vehicle. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a 30 person bike that they ride for charity. It's really no different than this pedal powered vehicle.;cid=76257
Jeff / December 4, 2007 at 11:26 pm
I wouldn't say the police were decent at all. I would say they could have actually shown some respect instead of being a dick.
Brent / December 7, 2007 at 02:37 am
Eva wrote:
"Damn, if another car hit this thing the occupants would be burger."

Yes, Eva is right. Most things that cars hit are turned to burger. I'm thinking such unsafe contraptions should be banned, and everyone should be using the safe, cycling versions. The modern world is kind of backward, the way that most people perceive the lighter, slower-moving vehicle to be unsafe, while the vehicle doing the killing and maiming receives impunity.

Anyway, I think most territories and states have practical laws against obstructing traffic on public highways--whether with a motored vehicle, a bicycle or what have you--and that might be a consideration. But I wonder if a slow-moving vehicle placard would be ample precaution.
Chris Orbz / December 7, 2007 at 07:30 pm
I went into Mercer Union today not realizing this was the exhibit inside and got a chance to see the car. It's really cool, and you can't tell how obviously not-a-car it is from the video... you can see straight through where the the engine should be from the inside. The headlights were 'on'... little tealight candles were flickering inside them.

The "driver" i.e. the person in the seat with the steering wheel received an unspecified $500 fine and is going to court in early April, anticipating beating it.
jimmydoolittle ernuthinatall / December 20, 2007 at 04:51 am
Hey digdouggler
You Markins sure is a right funny bunch!

RE: "In Amerika, we don't cotton to such nonsense. Those peddlin' fools would have been tasered post haste!"
Posted by: at December 3, 2007 4:15 PM
o2fc / December 30, 2007 at 02:28 am
I was part of a group that made a Honda Civic into a tandem bicycle in Savannah, GA for 2005's International Car-Free Day. It as well was just a big bike. No title, no plates, no drivers' licence needed. It did have to meet the regulations governing bicycles, though, and obey all traffic laws. In practice we rode it pretty much like everyone rode their bikes: definitely not on some sidewalks or through squares but through parks where bikes were allowed, and on sidewalks where it was common. A real Honda Civic could ride about anywhere if the driver really wanted.

If the Buick was engineered nicely, it probably stopped fast. Our civic had the original back brakes, and about 1/4 the weight it started with so it stopped better than a lot of regular bikes and some cars. It was also pretty fast: we could keep up with city traffic. I don't know if that's a compliment to our bike or just a testiment to how slow city driving is.

We also avoided being tasered.
chad / March 16, 2008 at 12:10 am
what a waste of good bumper fillers
Paul Bowen / April 3, 2008 at 02:17 pm
Excellent! And I thought the cops were charming.
actuallythinking / April 29, 2008 at 02:21 pm
"if another car hit this, they would be burger"
"there are no seatbelts or floors"
and this is different from a bicycle HOW?
Jamie / April 9, 2009 at 05:52 pm
The only reason the cops pulled this vehicle is because it looks like a car. If there was no body on it, or it was shaped like a four-person bicycle, which is what it is, do you think they would have bothered?

The problem here is, the grey-suited lawmakers of the land never imagined anyone driving a car-shaped quadracycle on the streets, so there isn't a law for it. The traffic cops can't think beyond this vehicle being a car - because it looks like a car, they feel the need to treat it like one. They can't imagine it being anything else, which is why they are traffic cops.

It's good art because it explores the issue of perception and shows how people feel a requirement to define something, in this case, simply judging it by the way it looks, and not what it actually is.
notforyoutoknow replying to a comment from Rick Mason / April 20, 2009 at 11:07 pm
retard police. WHAT f'n safety issue could there be? You think there gonna do 120 kph down the local road? THIS is why most people think cops are f'n idiots. This vehicle is nothing more that a 4 person bicycle with a protective shell on it.
Heres a thought you damn cops..go catch CRIMINALS. PREVENT rape and murder ffs.
Patrick / April 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm
Oink Oink, piggies don't like creativity.

You have to be a car or a bike. You cant be both.

Oink oink!
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