If Only That Kinkade Guy Had Been Driving A 2014 Volvo

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth

My refusal to convict Oldsmobile driver Rod Kinkade on the testimony of a cycling team had the bike riders of TTAC howling for my blood. They won’t get it; I paid for eleven units of the finest junkie-and-derelict blood the last time I was struck by a motorist. It took three long, expensive days of ICU residence to get all that blood into me while they were Hemovacing the bad stuff out of a two-inch-diameter hole in my right leg. No soup for you, roadies.

You’ll have to be content with hating my guts, which were stuffed back into my abdomen during the same ICU stay, or wanting to kick my ass, which had to have a thick plug of muscle cored out of it so the femur implant could be inserted.

There is good news for the Chinese-frame-with-Italian-name crowd, however. Volvo has developed a system to protect cyclists from themselves. Naturally, the cost of this system will be borne by the motorist.

From our pal Jo Borras at Gas2.org comes some news regarding YADAVSS (Yet Another Dumb-Assed Volvo Safety System):

To that end, Volvo used its Geneva Auto Show stage to introduced a revolutionary new safety system called Cyclist Detection, which uses a combination of cameras, infrared radar, and advanced, fuzzy-logic software to identify moving objects “about the size and shape of a bicyclist” in urban bike lanes, and track their movements. The system alerts the driver with lights and sounds if it spots a biker tracking out of the bike lane and into traffic, and will even hit the brakes automatically if it detects a significant speed difference between the vehicle and the cyclist. Combined with the company’s Blind-Spot Detection System (BLIS), a Volvo driver would have to be actively trying to kill you (or really into that text message) to end up on top of you.

The cost of the cyclist detection system is an amazing bargain: slightly under three grand. Of course, that comes with a bunch of other new Volvo safety features, (probably not) including:

  • A radio that evaluates incoming signal for any Ted Nugent songs and/or Rush Limbaugh diatribes then mutes the speakers for the duration of any potentially offensive content, thus preventing the driver from suffering any heart palpitations and/or exposure to doubleplusungood crimethink
  • A dashboard-mounted information screen that provides handy politically-correct phrases for any situation, ranging from “Construction Worker Directing Me To Stop Appears To Be African-American” to “Need To Describe My Gardener Without Referring To Ethnicity”
  • Silenced door lock mechanisms to prevent passengers from being offended as vehicle crosses 110th Street going north
  • Tactile interactive “pokers” in seat remind the driver to nod periodically while that bitch from Wellesley he was frightened enough to agree to marry fourteen years ago harangues the last remaining drop of humanity out of his dessicated, bird-like chest

There’s a fair amount of irony in the idea that Volvo drivers need a system to keep them from hitting riders. Only Subaru has a more self-conscious relationship with the cycling community. I cannot recall a time I was even slightly concerned about the actions of a Volvo driver. It’s those Oldsmobile Auroras you have to look out for. Oh, who am I kidding. We all know the GMC Yukon Denali is the literal nemesis of anyone on two wheels. The sight of that stainless-colander grille on the approach is enough to make even Greg LeMond defecate shotgun pellets.

While we wait for this technology to be made mandatory on all 2019MY vehicles by some troll in Brussels, there’s still some fun to be had for BMX riders, freeride MTBers, and anyone else who doesn’t regard cycling, font choice, and food trucks with equal and non-ironic seriousness. Put a mirror on your left handlebar. Ride down the street. Wait for approach of 2014 Volvo with glassy sensor in grille. Swerve out in front of said Volvo briefly and watch as the car self-brakes to avoid you and the driver receives the full contents of their soy latte directly in their self-satisfied but querulous faces. This technique, if accidentally practiced with a 2013 Volvo, may result in you being struck by a moving vehicle, so make sure the rest of your team is ready and willing to pin the blame on the driver, mmmkay?

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  • FJ60LandCruiser FJ60LandCruiser on Mar 12, 2013

    I have been cycling for the better half of my life (16+ years). Bike paths on hybrids, road cycling (including races), and all manner of MTB (DH, AM, XC, etc.) I have crashed on road and off. I have been tagged by a car, hit and run, on a training run on a very wide shoulder. The driver was texting, broke her mirror off on my back, then drove off "because it was her boyfriend's wife's car and she didn't know if she was insured." I have seen all manner of stupid. Cars act like cyclists have no right to the road. Cyclists acting like they are "just like a vehicle" and clogging twisty narrow back country roads, where traffic usually goes 50-60, but is instead stuck behind a two-wide bike train, and any attempts to pass may result in a head-on collision unless you can go from 20-60 in less than 2 seconds. There is no common sense on both sides, but I have to throw out a caveat. If your stupid, careless, texting, eating, makeup-applying, driving distracted a$$ tags me in my work truck, you've inconvenienced me with repairs, rental vehicle costs, insurance calls, etc. If you tag me on a bike, it's anything from second degree burn road rash, paralysis, lost limbs, or a gruesome death under the the wheels of your unecessarily big mommy mobile... so I have to side with the cyclists.

  • Daviel Daviel on Mar 12, 2013

    I just want the driver to have plenty of insurance if I am ever hit again. This column is a lot better Jack.

  • MaintenanceCosts This class of car competes hard with Chargers/Challengers and modded diesel pickups for the douchey-driving crown.
  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!