By on April 4, 2008

2053159389_5375fa3634.jpgI'll give TTAC's Canadian readers the bad news first: As the summer driving season approaches, gas prices in Canada are nearing record highs established in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The good news? CTV reports that a recent ruling in Ontario has reversed a ticket issued to a Montreal artist who was charged with driving in unsafe car through downtown Toronto. Michel De Broin took his 1986 Buick, removed the engine, suspension, gearing, electrical systems and floorboards and replaced it all with tea-candles for headlights and a "shared propulsion" pedalling system, where all passengers in the car can contribute to its advancement by pedalling (top speed is 15 km/h, or about 9 mph). Justice Patrick Marum ruled that the Crown had failed to prove the car was dangerous, and the charges of operating an unsafe motor vehicle that De Broin faced were summarily dropped. Take that, Tata! If this ruling sets a precendent, Canada has moved ahead in the race to bring legal, zero-emissions cars to North America.

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17 Comments on “Pedal-power Buick Ruled Safe Enough...”


  • avatar
    crackers

    Reminds we of something the Flintstones would drive

  • avatar
    RayH

    No hills= safe. Hills= everybody is going to die. I bet it went faster than 9mph downhill.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    please don’t let GM know about this. they have enough trouble staying on task as it is.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I’d add a blower.

  • avatar
    tigeraid

    Worst ruling ever. This thing is an unsafe inpediment to traffic, and in downtown Toronto to boot! I don’t think it’d be as big a deal in some rural township, but this thing is downright dangerous.

  • avatar
    chanman

    I think the case faltered on calling it a motor vehicle… where’s the motor?

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    “I think the case faltered on calling it a motor vehicle… where’s the motor?”

    He’s inside getting the beer, eh?

  • avatar
    N85523

    If this ruling sets a precendent [sic], Canada has moved ahead in the race to bring legal, zero-emissions cars to North America.

    The other Ca might indeed see the precedent here. They have to do something to meet their zero-emissions mandate. Can you imagine this on the streets of San Francisco?

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    No doubt Justice Patrick Marum was a hippy. Probably hanging out at the Horseshoe Tavern smoking weed with Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young back in ’68.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Truly not zero emission. I know that when I am pedaling hard it is inevitable that there is some exhaust. Also, the CO2 exhaled is a greenhouse gas. Don’t breath and pinch it up real tight.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Don’t think that the hysterical global warming types wouldn’t have us all “driving” these if they could gain the clout needed to do it.

  • avatar
    serpico

    Fred Flintstone would be so proud!

  • avatar

    Woot! Now this zero-emission G-body legally compensates for all the drag racing Grand Nationals on the planet!

  • avatar

    Don’t think that the hysterical global warming types wouldn’t have us all “driving” these if they could gain the clout needed to do it.

    I know you’re jesting, but I still wonder if using human power isn’t horribly inefficient compared to internal combustion. Also, if we had to pedal to work, we’d eat more. Consequently, we’d demand more meat and vegetables, which means more pesticides and fertilizers and distribution of these items using diesel-power trucks. The energy ultimately has to come from somewhere.

    Though I do appreciate the reduction in energy output needed that is obtained from not using anything electrical like a radio or air conditioning.

  • avatar
    durailer

    Samir: Good point… I once read somewhere than an SUV-driving vegan has a smaller carbon footprint than a meat-eating cyclist.

    Back to the Buick, the “car” did have hand brakes that had to be operated by both the driver and the passenger, and since the car came to a stop for the traffic cop, the judge estimated that the brakes were adequate. The defence also contended that this “car” isn’t less safe than a horse-and-buggy, which are still legal in these parts.

    Apparently, the laws of the road are quite arcane…

  • avatar

    I know you’re jesting, but I still wonder if using human power isn’t horribly inefficient compared to internal combustion. Also, if we had to pedal to work, we’d eat more. Consequently, we’d demand more meat and vegetables, which means more pesticides and fertilizers and distribution of these items using diesel-power trucks. The energy ultimately has to come from somewhere.

    We wouldn’t necessarily demand more meat. I bicycle with very little meat in my diet, and most of my vegetables are organic. Furthermore, the average person cycling to work on flat terrain isn’t going to be using much energy at all, and the bicycle is well known to be by far the most efficient means of transport in the entire animal kingdom, far better than a motorcycle, any kind of bird, a sleek gazelle, etc. 500 calories–about 1/5th what the average relatively sedentary adult male needs, will fuel an hour of vigorous exercise.

    Anyway, kudos to the judge for letting the Buick ride. It may be a b it of an impediment to traffic, but I don’t think we’re going to see a stampede to convert more of these things, and it certainly adds a certain je ne sais quoi to one of the premier cities of our Northern Neighbor. eh?

  • avatar
    50merc

    N85523: “Can you imagine this on the streets of San Francisco?”

    It’d be hilarious (for those watching). Hollywood better snap up the rights to this idea.


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