Fred Flintstone & pedal powered cars beware

Today the driver of the artwork titled “Shared Propulsion Car” — arrested on Queen Street on October 25th — appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to operating an unsafe vehicle. The car, pictured here on Queen, is on display at Mercer Union (37 Lisgar Street) until December 8th. The rest of the story from Mercer Union:

On October 25th Toronto Police arrested the driver of Shared Propulsion Car, an artwork by the 2007 Sobey Award winner Michel de Broin, on Queen Street West. A trial date has been set for April 3rd, 2008.

The revolutionary vehicle consists of a 1986 Buick Regal body stripped of its engine, suspension, transmission and electrical system, and propelled by the energy of its passengers. The vehicle retains the illusion of the mass-produced luxury automobile, but is now reduced to a shell, with a top speed of 15km per hour. This unique car requires no gasoline and produces no toxic emissions, presenting a political alternative to the conspicuous consumption of car culture (no wars have been waged over pedal-power).

The vehicle is part of a solo exhibition by the acclaimed artist, on display at Mercer Union, an artist-run centre in downtown Toronto, from October 24th to December 8th. The car left for it’s maiden Toronto voyage on October 25th, the afternoon after the opening reception. Dean Baldwin, brand-new license in hand, took the steering wheel, assisted by Dan Young and gallery Co-Directors Dave Dyment and Elaine Gaito. The public responded with enthusiasm, sympathy and solidarity.

The vehicle was driven nine blocks (from 37 Lisgar Street, to Strachan Ave), before being pulled over by the police. The driver and passengers were left to wait for 30 minutes in the car, presumably while the officers determined which law had, in fact, been broken. They settled on “operating an unsafe vehicle” and a tow-truck was called.

Today Baldwin appeared before a judge and entered a plea of not guilty. A trial has been set for the third of April, at 3pm. The court will have to argue that the Shared Propulsion Car is more dangerous than other vehicles on the road (bicycles, unicycles, roller-skates, rickshaws, skateboards and other “muscle-powered vehicles”, in addition to automobiles). In the last 50 years 200,000 Canadians have died in car accidents. No pedal-car deaths have been reported.

Mercer Union and artist Michel de Broin would like to invite you to join us on April 3rd, in courtroom R at 60 Queen Street West, at 3pm. Seating is limited, so please arrive early. With the expectation of winning the right to operate the vehicle on the streets of Toronto, the artwork will be towed to Old City Hall on the morning of April 3rd. We hope to leave the courthouse in victory, and slowly pedal home.

Photos by Benny Zenga

79 comments

  1. As neat of an idea as this car is, there are a few obvious problems, just from looking at the pictures.

    1. No license plate. Most vehicles require them, even mopeds.

    2. No slow moving vehicle sign. Required by Ontario law for any vehicle which can’t go above 40km/h. (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/smvs.htm)

    3. The lack of windows pretty much means it wouldn’t pass inspection and is a safety hazard to those in the vehicle.

    4. Finally, a pet peeve, the constant “no peddle-car” statements are really idiotic. Lies, damned lies and statistics. This one falling in the latter category.

    Not to say that it isn’t a cool idea, just that when you do things like this in heavily trafficed public places, someone needs to check into the legality.

  2. The author called a Buick Regal a luxury car :)

  3. Thinking back to growing up in working class Windsor — while there were Cadillacs and BMWs — I remember thinking cars like Oldsmobile Tornados and Caprice Classics were fancy cars. A Regal might fall into that working-class luxury. Regals are why the Russians kept defecting over to our side. Attainable luxury.

  4. Hmmm

    I disagree with the previous writer.

    This car is a well protected 4 seater bike and as such doesn’t need a plate or a slow moving warning sign or even windows.

    I don’t see how this is all that different than a Zem 4 seater bike of which there is a least one about town.

    http://www.zem.ch/en/index.html

    As gas gets more expensive I think we’re going to need to evolve our sense of what a “car” actually is. I think if this thing had had windows and plates of some sort (vanity – I CYCLE) no one would have noticed.

    Perhaps someone needs to build a stealth bike/car next. (They live among us!)

  5. middle photo: Just as the officer is explaining how it can’t be a bicycle if it has more than two riders, up the street comes a group of six police officers, responding to the call for backup, on the their new six-man-powered pursuit bike.

  6. I gotta wonder about brakes. Even a stripped down four wheeler has a lot of weight…

  7. After hearing bikers whine about how much road space cars take up, how we need bike lanes, how cars are the bane of their existence, etc, it’s a little confusing to see bikers attempt to take up as much space as possible on the road and emulating a car.

    Really, what is the point of this other than as a piece of art? If so, why the demand to make it a legal vehicle? Is anyone trying to argue that this is a practical way to travel, 4 people inside a hollowed out car? Are they actually trying to push this as a new transportation method?

  8. As the law is written, it isn’t a bicycle (the Highway Traffic Act says bikes include unicycles and tricycles, but nothing about more than three wheels).

    If it’s considered an automobile, then all the regulations (license plates, lights, etc.) kick in. Their habit of referring to it as a “car” might be their downfall.

  9. Hamish, if they kept the original braking system they would have no trouble stopping.

    Chris, it wouldn’t be a piece of art if it didn’t have some point other than being a piece of art. You haven’t missed the point, but you don’t seem to be aware of the fact. By the way, thanks for misrepresenting the cycling community.

  10. Re: “The court will have to argue that the Shared Propulsion Car is more dangerous than other vehicles on the road…”.

    The court or the crown?

    jason.

  11. @Ben, okay let’s not get into a debate about what art is or is not. The point is that I think trying to turn this piece of art into a practical form of transportation draws only derision and ire towards the cycling community (whom I actually think are being misrepresented more by this little stunt than by my previous comments).

    To the common Torontonian, I would think this stunt appears to be nothing more than a worthless gimmick and doesn’t help the cycler’s cause at all. That’s why my original question was: What point are they trying to prove here?

  12. I like this ‘bike’ because you can’t ride it onto the sidewalk and terrorize pedestrians.

    As a piece of ‘transit art’ it’s awesome.

  13. Chris > if you want to know the point of theproject than you are going to have discuss the artistic aspects of it since that is how it was originally positioned by the creator of this contraption.

  14. “1. No license plate. Most vehicles require them, even mopeds”

    There is no motor in the said vehicle. You don’t need licence for bicycles, so I don’t see what the problem is.

  15. I drive a pedal-powered car called a velomobile, but it’s a single-person vehicle and has only three wheels. I was pulled over by the police in downtown Toronto a few weeks ago, but the officer looked it up and told me to have nice ride.

    Here’s a video of my velombile:
    http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=vZLfvSKnQCQ

    And here’s the story:
    http://thejoggler.blogspot.com/2007/09/velomobile-gets-pulled-over.html

    Personally, I like the idea of a four-person pedal-powered car, but it should at least go the speed of a bicycle.

  16. Michal> If that thing had a little plastic windshield/cover/cap, you may have figured out how to winter-bike-ride in Toronto.

  17. It comes with a partial cover where only the top of your head is exposed. They also sell a full cover as well, which I think would be a good investment. I’ve taken the Mango in some pretty fierce rain storms and it’s great. We’ll see how it goes through the winter.

    There are some other fully enclosed velomobiles here:

    http://www.bluevelo.com/Order_from_Europe.html

  18. i hope you guys will post a reminder closer to the april 3rd court date, so that those of us without total recall can have a chance to attend the hearing.

  19. What a wonderful creative use of an old automobile.This is why I will never leave trinity-spadina,we have the most creative artists and the most inovative thinkers.We also have the guts to try new ideas, this court action will bring attention to the bicycle issues and the use of alternative transportation.

    Good luck with the court case and keep up the creative work.
    PS if it doesn’t have an engine and is propelled by human power the license isn’t necessary.But we will see how the justice rules.

  20. Michal> Those are fantastic. If I had an extra $10,000……

    What powers the headlight and windshield wiper? A generator? I think a slight more robust version would work well all season in Toronto — right now they look a little too delicate, for sunny days on country roads, judging from the pictures.

    If the wiper is powered, there could be some basic heat-element, making it very civilized.

    I worry about them meeting SUVs (or buick Regals) on the street though. So low to the ground…

  21. For Marcus, your “obvious problems” aren’t obvious because you’ve completely missed the point.

    “1. No license plate. Most vehicles require them, even mopeds.”

    Wrong. No plate required, because bicycles (and all their variants that are still under the “bicycle” classification) don’t need plates.

    “2. No slow moving vehicle sign. Required by Ontario law for any vehicle which can’t go above 40km/h.”

    Wrong. Keep reading down on your OWN link there, and you’ll see bicycles and a few other types are EXEMPT in Ontario. Additionally, you can search through the same site find find that a “bicycle” is defined as having pedals and “designed to be propelled by musclar power”. NOWHERE is a bicycle defined in the HTA by the number of wheels or the shape of it.

    “3. The lack of windows pretty much means it wouldn’t pass inspection and is a safety hazard to those in the vehicle.”

    Wrong. Bicycles have a set of safety criteria, and having windows isn’t one of them. You’re talking about a “motor vehicle”, which THIS, is not.

    “4. Finally, a pet peeve, the constant “no peddle-car” statements are really idiotic. Lies, damned lies and statistics. This one falling in the latter category.”

    This, is the crux of your problem. Somehow, somewhere, this really pisses you off and that’s why you didn’t bother to think before quoting “legalities” that don’t even apply.

    Time for both the pro and anti-cyclists to shake their heads. There’s more to the “cycling” universe than a butt-hatchet seat and two wheels.

  22. You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s not art, it’s not a transportation vehicle. It’s a guy trying to get publicity.

    If the rest of his art has been geared around ideas like this, it’s no wonder nobody listens to the eco terrorists in this city.

    With people like this, and people that support people like this, it’s no wonder we’re stuck with mayor Miller.

  23. “Wrong. Bicycles have a set of safety criteria, and having windows isn’t one of them. You’re talking about a “motor vehicle”, which THIS, is not.”

    You’re right. And one of those criteria is reflectors or lights for driving after dusk.

    “The revolutionary vehicle consists of a 1986 Buick Regal body stripped of its engine, suspension, transmission and electrical system, and propelled by the energy of its passengers”

    FAIL. Bad “artist”, no doughnut. It’s now unsafe, case closed. Save the publicity stunt of April 3rd.

  24. wow.. i cant get over how many people are defending this… its an unnecessary hazard..

    art is all good and fun, until it does other things besides open minds and cheer people up.. such as.. no be able to stop, or you know.. crush somebody.

    get over it people ITS NOT A BICYCLE

    take it out to a dirt road somewhere and have a laugh

    its not a answer to the oil crisis….

  25. Thank you for the thoughtful insight, Duane. You’ve probably convinced many people of your position with your reasoned arguments.

  26. “Thank you for the thoughtful insight, Duane. You’ve probably convinced many people of your position with your reasoned arguments.”

    Just as reasonable as the “200,000 deaths are caused by cars” arguement brought up.

    Do you really think that this contraption could be stopped in a reasonable amount of time in the event that it’s motion and trajectory is putting someone in harm’s way?

    You honestly believe this is more than a publicity stunt?

    This thing deserves honest discussion?

    There’s hundreds, if not thosands, of people putting a valid and honest effort into coming up with efficient means of transportation that will be less harmful to the environment.

    What about the gentleman in the US that’s been converting standard automobiles (including the god-awful Hummer series of motor vehicles that are both an eyesore and environment serial killers) to run on the used oils from restaurants? Or the mutliple university eco-challenges for alternative fuel powered vehicles?

    Don’t expect serious commentary (and my comments were serious, allbeit drastically sarcastic) when this type of drivel is being touted as someone trying to ‘open the eyes of the public’. Unless you’re denying that bicycles require some form of reflective material so that they can be seen by motorists once it is dark. Which, in fact, is a reasonable arguement, factual, and correct. My FAIL comment afterwards, just reinforces the fact that we waste too much time defending crap like this, when we should be concentrating more or crime, housing, root cause analysis of the homeless situation in this city (instead of just throwing millions at the problem) the list goes on, I just don’t feel like typing it all.

  27. There are enough idiots on the road now so why do we need another one going at a snail’s pace. Guess you can only drive to work if you have three other people going that way.

  28. At least in new york state you only need lights if you are ridding at night, additionally bulbless lights act as reflectors if you have ever shined a light in them.

    I think that this makes a really awesome statement about how ridulously engrained we are in a car dependent culture. Cars are extreamly dangerous and are the leading cause of death amoung young people. This contraption can’t possibly pose that much of a risk except when other people act idiotically and endanger everyone around them.

    My grandma was walking in a parking lot and was backed into by a car last week does this mean that walking is dangerous and should be banned or that cars are dangerous?

  29. did u read the article marcus? what about RICKSHAWS AND SKATEBOARDS, they both fall under the same “illegal” standards u have created

  30. P.S., you’ve been farked due to the sheer stupidity of this story.

  31. Duane> If one of the core elements of an artwork is to provoke discussion and thought, I’d say this one in fact didn’t fail and is a huge success.

  32. I are arguing about whether or not it is safe our whatever. It is a stupid idea, and a hazard because of it’s slow speed. There is no substitute for cubic inches. Wow, he could have had a V8.

  33. It never ceases to simply amaze me how people will attempt to justify a “publicity stunt”, which is all this is. The vehicle in question was heavily modified from it’s origional condition rendering it unsafe for public streets.

    I am 99.99% positive that the “artist” in question has and will garner more attention for his rather questionable art. Sad that this person has the good sense of a concussed Duckling for taking that hazard out on the public road.

    As it has been pointed out… Bicycles have a set of safety guidlines and certifications to pass before being let on the public throughfares. I also note that the ahem… “Shared Propulsion Vehicle” has NO license.. even someone with the observational prowess of a kitten raised in a darkroom should know that a car is a car.. you can’t rip out the engine and sundry bits and and call the bloody thing a new name without first running it through a battery of approved tests to verify its safety for the road.

    I wonder how much unutterable visual excrement this artist will sell to like minded “Granola Eaters” with this silly stunt?
    I can only hope that he’s not breeding this kind of stupid back into my gene pool…

  34. “If one of the core elements of an artwork is to provoke discussion and thought, I’d say this one in fact didn’t fail and is a huge success.”

    I would tend to disagree, because the only reason this is generating the volume of discussion is that the ‘artist’ took this thing out onto the road.

    Last time I checked, the road was not a gallery. Sidewalk, sure, then it’s sidewalk art. Road? Nope. The road is a city/provincial infrastructure component to facilitate the proper movement of vehicles.

    So, again, you haven’t proved this is more than just a publicity stunt or garnered serious thought or discussion. It’s all been about “Why was this on the road”, not “This guy is bringing up a good point”.

    If he had placed it in a gallery, or on the sidewalk, in a driveway, etc, some place other than the road, and people looked at it, wrote an article about it, and then the discussion revolved around the artist’s message within the form of art, then yes, it’s a success. But, as a typical response, any discussion is a good discussion, even though the discussion has nothing to do with the message.

    So, again, shall I say it… FAIL.

  35. “Visual exrement” et al….

    With such overstated venom, I think these characters here are either pulling your legs and playing the role of the outraged philistine (or maybe aping the comment section of the Globe and Mail).

    Doth protest too much, me thinks.

  36. “I think that this makes a really awesome statement about how ridulously engrained we are in a car dependent culture. Cars are extreamly dangerous and are the leading cause of death amoung young people. This contraption can’t possibly pose that much of a risk except when other people act idiotically and endanger everyone around them.”

    Well, I for one, don’t even have a driver’s licence. I have three kids, a wife, we either walk or take public transit. I do agree that the car is engrained into our society, but not with me. I don’t support cars or anything. I am against stupidity.

    You think this contraption isn’t dangerous? What happens if buddy is taking this thing along for a spin, comes to an incline, can’t pedal his arse up it? “Pedal-power-mobile” starts rolling backwards, boom, hits a car, or pedestrian.

    Or how about buddy’s puttering along, and he comes to a descent? Now he’s going faster than expected. Can his “pedal-power” stop the bloody thing before it runs out into the intersection on a red light? Could hit a car or a pedestrian.

    Could hit a stroller, or an elderly person, that doesn’t have the ability to move out of the way in time.

    Give yer head a shake, your eyes are stuck.

  37. Bah, the parenthesis I used removed the end, or I went too long. There was a statement that said “Insert strange reference to beavers, beer, hockey, genuine saskatchewan sealskin” afterwards.

  38. [“Visual exrement” et al….
    With such overstated venom, I think these characters here are either pulling your legs and playing the role of the outraged philistine (or maybe aping the comment section of the Globe and Mail).
    Doth protest too much, me thinks.
    Comment by G. Haddad ]

    Not to retaliate on you laddie.. but the sheer breadth and depth of the daftness in taking that monstrosity out on the public roads is … breathtaking.

    4 humans cannot control a stripped down mid sized sedan with any degree of safety. This “Numpty Muppet” either intentionally or with an amazing lack of common sense could have put people at risk.

    So if you feel my invective and distaste for this offering to the “Gods of the Morbidly Stupid” a bit tart.. that is the reason for it. Skippy the wonder artist could have caused an injury to an innocent bystander who was lawfully using the road while making his statement. He should be thanking his protective deity that the charges weren’t more severe .. and they should have been.. “Reckless Endangerment” for a start.

  39. Charles, next time try writing your comment in all capital letters. It will let these granola eaters know you mean business, especially with such a good vocabulary! “Concussed duckling” really made me cachinnate!

  40. This is cool. It’s not an “automobile” by definition, so the vehicle doesn’t fall within the purview of motor vehicle statutes. The government is just looking for its pound of flesh. Suck it, screws.
    Now what happens if a horse is hitched up to it, hmmmmmmmmmm?

  41. amin b: re “six-man-powered pursuit bike.”
    haha! good one, You made me look!

  42. No one said that the axles and brakes were removed. With a top speed below 10mph you don’t think it can stop in time? How slow do safety zones need to be? I am amazed at these comments. Dosen’t anyone pay attention to what they read anymore? Aren’t you bothered more that the police had to ‘work’ to find something wrong. What has happened to “Oh, it’s not a car! How does this thing work? Would you like an escort back to the museum?” No,instead the officer didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to be in authority. I for one am so very pleased that I have been saved from speeding (5-10mph) peddle cars. I hope next he will save me from all those tots out there with their toy peddle cars on the sidewalks because they don’t have brakes. But the realy amazing part is that some of you readers seem to agree with this attitude.
    Thirty years ago a kid I knew bought an old VW for $25. While driving it home he lost all the gears except reverse, so he started backing the thing home. Obviously he was stoped. The officer noticed the peach crate he was sitting on, the stove oil can hanging from the rearview mirror leading to the carb. He asked why. When the kid, in tears, explained it was all he could afford. The officer didn’t impound the obviously “unsafe vehicle”. He offered to escort the kid home.
    We’re talking about ingeniously bad art here people. Not a threat to anyone or the community.

  43. I wouldn’t call it bad art. For some its about taste. But for most contempaorary artists I would argue Art is meant to generate discussion and reactions.

    And he has certainly garnered that. In this sense, his Art is quite good.

  44. “No one said that the axles and brakes were removed. With a top speed below 10mph you don’t think it can stop in time? How slow do safety zones need to be? I am amazed at these comments. Dosen’t anyone pay attention to what they read anymore? Aren’t you bothered more that the police had to ‘work’ to find something wrong.”

    You, my good sir, are an idiot. Streets are not safety zones. The police did their job by removing somethng from the road that was hazardous. Any intelligent human being (drivers included) would see this thing further up the street and make the assumption it’s a bloody car. Because, in essence, it is, minus the mechanical parts that make it move. So, making that assumption, they would not reduce their speed until they realized it was a hunk of crap that had no reason to be on the road. It would snarl traffic on a 4 lane road that has streetcars and parking on the right hand side (in effect, making it a two lane street). They had to ‘work’ to figure out something wrong because nobody has been this stupid before (apparently, otherwise there would be some bylaw with regards to this).

    So, there you go, explain that one away.

  45. Under the Highway Traffic Act, this is not a motor vehicle, but it is a vehicle, and it is NOT a bicycle. The definition of a bicycle includes a tricycle and a unicycle. As it is not otherwise defined, you take its ordinary meaning, which from one dictionary is “A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals or a small motor by which it is driven”. Your vehicle is most definitely not a bicycle.

    As it is a vehicle, the Highway Traffic Act applies. As it is not a motor vehicle, provisions relating to a motor vehicle do not apply. As it is not a bicycle, provisions related to a bicycle (and any exemptions from various sections of the Act because it is a bicycle) do not apply.

    Therefore, it must be road-worthy, safe, and since it has a maximum speed of less than 40km/h, it must have a slow moving vehicle sign on it. Also note that “operating an unsafe vehicle” (not an “unsafe motor vehicle”) applies to all vehicles – including bicycles.

  46. Dear ….. dear John..

    That thing is still some 3000lbs of metal, you have heard of that marvelous concept called inertia? The article stated that the engine and electrical system was removed. This means.. no power steering on a vehicle designed for power steering.. no power brakes on a vehicle designed for power brakes.. how about braking lights?

  47. See, when we did a 2 person one of these in Savannah, Ga (we used a honda civic shell) we didn’t have any cop problems…though ours had lots of lights, the roof cut off and you could see the bikes from most angles. we also retained the car’s parking break.

  48. This vehicle should have been equipeed with a “slow moving vehicle” triangle, as is required by horse buggies and other slow vehicles. It is necessary to avoid burdening traffic, which of course has little tolerance for a vehicle with a top speed of 15kph.

    Other than that, three cheers all the way.

  49. Guys honestly. Have you ever actually driven? A pedal bike goes 15 km/h but its very small and not in the way. What in the world makes you think you have the right to take up an entire lane of traffic for the sake of a stupid 15 km/h “statement”. Get a life dude, stop pissing off the public at large. Crap like this causes more traffic and idling than it does promoting less fuel consumption. Not to mention the frustration factor of an already congested downtown core.

    Glad you got pulled over. Why are people so ridiculous :|

  50. Seems as though they had to find a reason to impound it or others might start making their own,depriving the government of fees for plates,tags registration,GAS. Keep the brake system and lights next time!

  51. “Seems as though they had to find a reason to impound it or others might start making their own,depriving the government of fees for plates,tags registration,GAS. Keep the brake system and lights next time!”

    I was going to come up with a logical, witty response, but you’re comments were just too asinine.

    FAIL.

    EPICALLY.

  52. pedal powered vehicles including mopeds do NOT require a license plate or drivers license in Canada. An under 50cc engined scooter doesn’t require a motorcycle license just a regular drivers license, they do need a plate/registration and insurance.

  53. Duane. the thing had no engine to get it above a speed of 15mph, and still had brakes designed for stopping at 90mph. I’m sure stopping is not its problem.

  54. Ugh, thank God for people like Duane and Derek G in this debate… this whole thing is just ridiculous. I’m afraid I have little tolerance for “art” such as this, and don’t dare to call me a philistine as I play piano, have an interest in music from various time periods, as well as visual arts such as paintings and sculptures. Granted, I’m no expert, but that’s not to say I do not appreciate art and culture.

    Now, those who actually drive here will realize that a car descending at even a 20 degree angle may gain a good amount of speed, even after taking one’s foot off of the acceleration. If you’re already going fairly quickly when approaching the slope, the end result is naturally going to be an even higher speed. Also to be noted is the predictability factor, naturally. Drivers are _supposed_ to (though living in Brampton you might not know it) drive in a fashion that is predictable for drivers around them, through various means such as using their signals, having working brake lights, etc. With this vehicle, there is no way of telling if a driver is going to turn or slow down, and because it is already moving very slowly, other drivers will naturally make attempts at passing. If they do not realize the driver is intent on turning, they may accidentally cut them off, thus increasing the risk of a hazardous situation.

    I could go on listing reasons for why it is unsafe for use on the road, but I think I will continue to my next point, for anyone who actually has a decent understanding of driving in an urban environment should already be able to see why this is a bad idea. One word can sum up my second point: Impractical. If you want to pedal, get a bicycle. You are using up more energy and require more strength to push a metal (granted, it’s likely mostly aluminum, but still heavy enough) car frame than if you were to simply buy a bicycle. A vehicle such as this was designed to be controlled largely by a mechanical system that could output much more energy than a human’s legs, and, well, what would YOU rather ride, readers? Of course, I’m just speaking about an urban environment. How about if you plan on going to a relative’s house up north in Montréal, or somewhere else where a speed of 15 km/h in a very tiring vehicle is simply too (as I already stated) impractical?

    In the future, let’s leave the artists to their creative works, and leave transportation to those more mechanically and scientifically minded.

  55. I seem to recall a teacher in Experimental Arts at OCA in the early 80′s leading a class around in a car that had the windows painted over. They steered using video cameras feeding BW monitors inside the car. Unsafe? Yes. Conceptual art? Yes. Anybody remember who it was ?

  56. yeah, I’d like to know why those guys didn’t try it on a residential street or an empty parking lot first o_O Or at least do some research on street legality.

  57. Responsding to an above post, early up:

    As neat of an idea as this car is, there are a few obvious problems, just from looking at the pictures.

    1. No license plate. Most vehicles require them, even mopeds.

    * It is not a motorized vehicle so this does not apply*

    2. No slow moving vehicle sign. Required by Ontario law for any vehicle which can’t go above 40km/h. (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/smvs.htm)

    * No motor, so it does not apply, otherwise all bicycles would have to have these slow moving signs as well *

    3. The lack of windows pretty much means it wouldn’t pass inspection and is a safety hazard to those in the vehicle.

    * If it was a motorized vehicle *

    4. Finally, a pet peeve, the constant “no peddle-car” statements are really idiotic. Lies, damned lies and statistics. This one falling in the latter category.

    * Opinion, which is not factual so needs to be disregarded *

  58. If this thing had been built from scratch as a bicycle, then this would be a bicycle. But since it has a VIN, it is an automobile, regardless of the “engine” or whether it is stripped.

    Ergo, it must be licenced and operated as a motor vehicle, even without an “engine”. Lights, brakes, saftey inspection, emissions tests, unbroken glass, seat belts, the works. These guys are not artists, they are just jerks. Build a real purpose-built four seat bike and I will support them. This is just being a jerk, and they KNEW that when they did it. As*holes….

  59. Dean Baldwin, brand-new license in hand, took the steering wheel, assisted by Dan Young and gallery Co-Directors Dave Dyment and Elaine Gaito.

    Well, if it’s not a motor vehicle, why did Dean need his brand-new license?

    I understand the concept as art, but it clearly is a car and as such should have all of its intended components in place and functioning properly in order to be on a public road.

    Aren’t four-person bicycles available in Toronto? These offer the same experience (they have a roof but no windows) but are lighter and more maneuverable.

    Would one of these not be better for the environment as well since there is a lot less impact from the manufacturing process and you don’t have to dispose of the original parts?

  60. Um, did anyone actually bother to look at the pictures?

    From the curb-level shot, anyone who has any idea of what should be there on a complete ’86 Regal can plainly see that nothing is there – no automotive plumbing, no floorboards, and no differential. What can be seen is a lightweight pedal-car with th3e coachwork of Regal placed on top.

    So, the police then had to decide if a home-made pedal-car (no doubt with homemade brakes and steering) with 800 pounds of steel bolted on and 4 people inside was in anyway entitled to drive on a public street.

    Seems like a no-brainer to me – Keep your goofy, amusement park crap off a public roadway.

  61. look at all the nanny-staters! omg, we’re all gonna die because there’s a bike-car on the road! ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!

  62. Yes, thank god there’s some sense in this debate.

    They made their harebrained statement, let’s just leave it at that. Now people want to protest at the courthouse? Gimme a damn break. Isn’t there anything else in this world you can devote your time to other than that? How about you go plant/hug a tree instead?

  63. It’d be more impressive if the morons had actually done the engineering work of trying to build a transmission that would convert the pathetic amount of work produced by them pedaling into something that could actual propel the vehicle at reasonable speeds safe for roads.

    Of course, bicycles would be much improved with the same type of engineering. Share the road… I will share the road, when bicyclists do the same damn thing and go near the speed limits.

  64. “look at all the nanny-staters! omg, we’re all gonna die because there’s a bike-car on the road! ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!”

    Nanny state? Hell no. I’m all for dropping the laws that protect the stupid from themselves. Cull the herd so to speak. Too many stupid people are protected from themselves, weakens the species.

    Besides, the real nanny state is a bit south of us Canucks. We can handle alcohol and nude women in our strip clubs in Canada, as opposed to some states in the US, like Florida. But, then again, judging by the type of news that comes out of there, it’s probably a good thing they’re like that.

    But I digress. It’s not a nanny state action the police took. It wasn’t protecting morons from themselves, but protecting the normal everyday activities of the populace from said morons.

    FAIL.

  65. This is a fun thread — I’m amazed at the level of offense these guys commenting are taking, and their wild use of language. Good art can really fire people up!

    That you guys can’t just make your points without capslock and calling people “morons” and etc seems to keep proving the “yes this is art” side. Thanks, anonymous internet guys.

  66. WOW!
    Well if art is meant to make people think and inspire debate, than this has been a huge success. As a transportation junkie and bike/ped advocate, this has made me think a whole lot. It sounds like many of the people who are angry have either not read through properly, or have the same ‘only cars should use the road’ mentality. This is a very sad belief which will likely end soon. I am constantly amazed that neither those in authority nor society get their feathers ruffled when a sidewalk or bike lane is blocked, but take up the road without going at 70kmh and you’re somehow ‘EVIL’ and bad. I was REALLY entertained by Charles’ comment about power steering. Does he realize that power steering etc. would never have been available on a 40 yr old car? This was back in the day when you had to WORK to make a car respond. I really like how you’ve made everyone rethink their idea of ‘what is a car’ and ‘what is a bicycle.’ Though I think for courtesy sake, it would have been prudent for you to test it on a low traffic street and put a ‘slow moving vehicle’ sign on it.
    sort of like this-
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/60961560@N00/213789781/
    Oh well, hind sight is 20/20. Good luck with the law.

  67. The artist isn’t a “trinity/spadina” denizen by the way. I think he’s from Brooklyn NY.

    There’s a really fun video out there. Bikelane diary linked to it a week or two ago–it shows the sculpture being pedaled around Hell’s Kitchen in NYC. The artist statement accompanying the video is worth a ponder, in light of all the outraged comments above: “The Shared Propulsion Car makes it possible for the passengers to drive on public roads with the goal of blocking traffic.”

    What does it say about the carheads who read spacing wire, by the way, that on BikeLane Diary the project got nary a single comment, while over here the readers are blowing gaskets?

    “In this project, all superfluous devices were removed from an 86′ Buick Regal – the engine, suspension, transmission and electrical system – thereby reducing the weight of the vehicle whilst preserving its appearance. It was then equipped with 4 independent pedal and gear mechanisms that make it possible for passengers to form the self-propulsion group. A cutting edge transmission technology was developed to transmit the power supplied by the passengers to the drive wheels and to vary the reduction ratios between cyclists and wheels, so as to ensure their progressive coupling for start-ups. With a top speed of around 15 km/h, the vehicle’s resistance to the culture of performance is raised to an unprecedented level. The Shared Propulsion Car makes it possible for the passengers to drive on public roads with the goal of blocking traffic.”

  68. cancel that brooklyn NY connection–Leah Sandals’s piece in the Post (see link up top somewhere) says he’s from Montreal.

  69. It is not a car anymore, no engine. The rules pertaining to a bicycle apply. As long as it has brakes, it is safe.

    The idea that something customized, modified, or reconfigured being automatically unsafe is ridiculous and ignorant. The people who work in factories on production lines in auto manufacturing are no smarter than people handcrafting machines from scratch, or building them up out of parts from various sources. Many people who build machines like this from scratch have educations (engineering/mechanical background) in that field, and therefore know what the hell they are doing. If that quadricycle made it a block and took a corner without coming apart it is likely safe. there’s a lot of weight behind it, so if it was going to break it would have.

  70. Michal, this is a coincidence! I just saw your yellow-mobile today parked on King and I was wondering what the heck it was. Thanks for clearing it up. Is it comfortable? Do you feel safe in Toronto’s downtown traffic??

  71. WOW not getting into this discussion but captain obvious has to point out that this duane has alot of time on his hands…. duane… get a hobby or a girlfriend or something let this go…. if this article disturbs you this much then you have much bigger issues then pedal cars lol.. are you trying to compensate for something?

  72. Anyone calculate how much gas the 50 cars stuck behind this one idling use up vs. the savings generated by the peddlers?

  73. If only more would follow your example.

    But no, they rabbidly drive lemming-like toward the abyss. Addictive behaviour or what!

    I refuse to own a car, but I’d have one of these. :-D

  74. Forget about this, use a horse! Just think, you can use the spent biofuel to keep your garden growing!

    Seriously, I can see issues such as traffic
    obstruction, serial number requirements (if it applies in that area), local bicycle licensing laws if any, and what not. Being that it’s a four seater, it should be determined whether or not it’s considered parallel riding, as this may concern some traffic laws in certain road situations, such as proper use of bike lanes, etc. Size and weight are certainly issues to consider when determining a bicycle classification. Another clear issue is that a windshield of any enclosed vehicle, almost anywhere, requires a properly operational windshield wiper system. No electrical means no windshield wipers. This type of law is a little unclear for HPV’s, and could use better wording. Many locations don’t recognize a four wheeled HPV as a bicycle.

    It’s not an issue on whether or not it’s a good or bad idea, but rather it’s about the infrastructure that it is ridden under. There’s already enough problems with current cycling within the current infrastructure, such as a lack of proper bike lanes, lack of clearance for bikes, a general lack of overall support for alternative personal transportation, lack of accessible crossover routs between localities, etc.

    I can see where this needs to see it’s day in court, where the issues can be settled, and the regulations can be established. I just hope that these folks don’t blow it and make laws tougher for those researching the field of alternative vehicles. Such acts of presidency requires the backing of sound research, strong advocation, and a knowledgeable legal team, to assure that all interests are best met for all involved. Alternative vehicles, including HPV’s, need proper R&D. This includes environmental and infrastructure impact studies, to be deemed practical. A tadpole trike, for example, is useless if your only rout has a path barrier that only allows two wheelers and smaller handicap scooters. Some bike bridges are an obstacle for long frame recumbent bikes. Although these problems are many, there’s clearly a need to separate faster motor vehicle traffic from slower underpowered vehicles. This is why we may see bike lanes, and also “share the road” signs to help motorists become aware of potential cyclists in the lane.

    I hope these folks are serious, and don’t blow it for the rest of the HPV community. This “art” may have opened up a can of worms!

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