This Sinclair C5 successor is truck repellant heavy engineering

Squashy bike commuters get safety cage; hermit crabs back project

That whole big wheel, little wheel vibe is giving me Chopper flashbacks

Well, I hope they’re accurate enough to remind you how poorly a Chopper used to handle. Crazy-ass geometry was as likely to throw you into the ditch as it was into the arms of an admiring lady. Never mind that now, though. Designed by Crispin Sinclair, son of Sir Clive Sinclair, the Babel Bike has lives to save!

Babel Bike to the rescue! What’s it up to?

In the movies, trucks have a space in between the front and rear wheels that you can drive a sportscar/slide a motorbike/fly a gyrocopter through. In real life, lorries have a safety bar in that gap, designed to stop things from getting dragged under the wheels. Little things, however, such as a fallen-down human/bike combo, fit under that bar. Bad times for all concerned. More bikes on the roads these days and more traffic, so people-squishings are getting a bit too common…

Dammit, when’s Babel Bike getting here?

Soon, and as you can see it’s bringing a big safety cage to the fight. In the event that you are knocked down by a truck (or anything, in fact) you just tuck in your arms and knees and think of England. Specifically, England’s engineering nouse. Detecting a spill the bike’s alarm will sound, hopefuly alerting drivers and nearby peds to your encapsulated emergency. But the plan is that the cage will both protect you and make you too big to go under that safety bar. Minutes later, you and the lorry driver will be laughing it off over a FroYo.

This all sounds fab. The government can just equip all commuters with a Babel and wait for the morgues become eerily quiet.

Yes, well, there are a few points to consider first. (Not least that morgues are always eerily quiet.) There are already various schemes aiming to reduce cyclist fatalities, including safer trucks and redesigned road layouts. One of the key initiatives is education, so that drivers are looking for where bikes might be, and cyclists are learning not to be there. But chief amongst the reasons against your Babel utopia is cost. The bike costs upwards of £2k (S$4k).

Blistering bicycles! How much?

And that’s the purely pedal-powered version – what you’ll really want for this rollcaged roller is the Shimano electric motor. 250 watts of assistance up to (an EU-regulated) 25kph, with a range of 80-128 kilometres. That one is £3000 (S$6100). Mind you, it does seem to have been nicely screwed together, with classy Brooks grips and big mirrors. Yes – mirrors. That big seat and recumbent-style feet-out-front sitting position is going to affect your sight lines – another factor that may stop it becoming the city bike of the future. The Babel Bike is live on Indiegogo now.