That's right, I'm talking about Australia, a.k.a. "The Land Frumunda."
Indeed, I'd argue that when it comes to oppressing cyclists Australia is number one, thanks mostly to the fact that it's only one of two countries in the entire world (the other being New Zealand) that forces all adult cyclists to wear foam hats. So if any country is going to take the next (il)logical step and institute mandatory bicycle licensing and registration, it's bound to be our cyclist-hating cousins in the southern hemisphere.
And now they're one step closer, thanks to the "Smart Hat:"
To paraphrase Australia's second-most valuable cultural export, this is not a helment:
This is a helment:
There's a lot of dumb shit in this world, but it's rare that you're presented with something so sublimely moronic that it borders on art. Of course, you wouldn't expect much from an Australian designer--indeed the very term "Australian designer" holds about as much promise as "kosher wine" or "triathlete bike-handling skills." Still, there's an odd elegance to the underlying concept here, which is basically this:
Let's turn people's heads into cars.
And yes, in case you're wondering, it does have a windshield wiper:
"So what's wrong with my old-fashioned helment?," you may be wondering. Well, here's your answer:
Existing helmets afford little protection to the cyclist in a collision and are not designed to the same standard as other motor vehicle helmets.
Existing cycle helmets do not address any technical issues of integrating modern, electronic safety devices, data, or even standard road use indicators that are compulsory on all road registered vehicles, namely: illuminated front and rear turn indicators, brake lights, rear running lights, head light of appropriate brightness to other road users or rear view mirrors.
What, no back-up camera?
Apart from safety considerations, it is desirable to be able to identify cyclists to make them accountable for their behavior in a similar way to drivers of motor vehicles.
Oh, so you mean "not at all?"
Of course not, because everybody knows it's the cyclists causing all the trouble out there, hence the need to clamp this sci-fi nightmare onto our heads:
Ideally, cyclists would be registered. Before now, there has been no system available, which is readily adaptable and practical for cyclists in this regard. It is the object of this product concept to attempt to rectify at least some of the deficiencies of existing practices in conjunction with regulatory authorities and associated organisations.
Naturally, it occurred to me that this whole "Smart Hat" thing might very well be a hoax, but apparently the guy who designed it has presented it to a local government:
And yes, the local government is totally into it--which, if this is a hoax, is totally awesome:
The concept has the backing of Mosman councillor Simon Menzies who said it would also provide a solution for commuter cyclists to be registered and able to showcase their registration number.
“People who use it as a mode of transport should be registered and insured,” Cr Menzies said.
“Every other road user pays for registration and it should not be any different.”
Really, "every other road user pays for registration?" Pedestrians use the road. DO THE PEDESTRIANS PAY FOR REGISTRATION? DO THEY???
Actually, probably best not to point that out, lest they make pedestrians clamp on the "Smart Hat" too.
Anyway, the whole thing is so offensively idiotic that even the guy who came up with the idea is afraid to be associated with it:
But Mr King acknowledged the proposal was controversial, saying he would prefer to keep his name out of the public eye in case of any backlash from cyclists against the idea of compulsory registration.
Oh would you now, designer Toby King?
He seems oddly concerned with privacy for a man whose come up with an electronic hat that tracks cyclists.
Maybe it is a hoax.
I hope it's a hoax.
Meanwhile, commenter CommieCanuk shared this video yesterday, which indicates that aging daredevil Lucas Brunelle has moved on to the "running into shit on purpose" phase of his career:
Yes, when it's raining and and you're approaching an intersection while riding in the shoulder, what you want to do is maintain a high rate of speed and ignore the van with its blinker on:
By the way, I'm pretty sure he told the driver "that was good," which leads me to suspect that Brunelle is less a would-be daredevil and more just a good old-fashioned masochist.
I'm also pretty sure he's the inspiration behind the "Smart Hat," which would explain a lot:
(Brunelle in his "Smart Hat" prototype.)
Hey, up in Canada they'll call you a "weirdo" for that:
Silly Canadians. Don't you know you're all weirdos?
Lastly, remember that Groucho Marx folding "bike" from yesterday? Yep, it's fully funded already:
Hoax or not, if that Smart Hat goes on Kickstarter it's a shoo-in.