No Good Deed Goes Unridiculed?

Background Reading


Volvo's new attack on pedestrians and cyclists is insulting to every traffic user.

Volvo’s new attack on pedestrians and cyclists is insulting to every traffic user.

Volvo’s new attack on pedestrians and cyclists is insulting to every traffic user. They have developed what they call “Life Paint” and expect pedestrians and cyclists to spray it on. The problem is that Volvo – and other automobile manufacturers – are the problem. They make products that kill 1.2 million people a year around the world. 35,000 alone in both the European Union and the USA alone. Not to mention the millions injured by cars or the many millions killed slowly by emissions. They continue to pass the buck, to set up smoke screens to make us focus elsewhere and forget the true problem. Look at every tactic the tobacco industry has used over the past 20 years and you see it mirrored in Big Auto. Volvo claims to lead the way in safety, but their Life Paint cannot hide their true colours.

Quite simply, we’ve started a petition. Enough of this Ignoring the Bull in the China Shop.

Make Life Shine. 
Sign it at

Instead of targeting the vulnerable traffic users and continuing the victim blaming, we insist that Volvo offers free Life Paint to every Volvo owner on the planet so that cars can be illuminated better in cities and rural settings. Get the spray can at the local dealer or get it shipped for free. Spray that car immediately.

We know a few things:

  • Black, grey and silver cars – in that order – are more likely to be involved in crashes, according to a Monash University study. Based on 20 years and 850,000 car crashes. Reflective paint on cars is a no-brainer.
  • Cars and motorists kill. You read the stats, above. There is a 9-11 every month in America alone and it’s been there every single month for over 60 years. Volvo, of all car companies, should be tackling this head on instead of blaming the victims.
  • Volvo should be lobbying intensely for mandatory reflective paint in every market that they operate in. Their Life Paint should be the jewel in their safety crown. Instead, it’s tear gas in the eyes of the victims.
  • Why stop there, Volvo? What about rational ideas like helmets for motorists or making motorists responsible by forcing them to have external airbags? These ideas exist for good reason. There is science to support them. What about health warning legislation on all automobiles? The ills caused by tobacco are virtually the same as those caused by Volvo’s products.

Sign the petition to get Volvo to offer Life Paint on every car on the roads today.

See the ridiculous Life Paint here:


I was tempted to consider this an April Fool’s Day gag (one day early) but I wonder. If it is indeed a heartfelt (and given the body of work of the self-proclaimed Pope of Bicycling Heaven) it deserves a considered response.

There is a crying need in the world for people to take every goodwill gesture possible at face value. Asking folks to consider wearing helmets, I have never felt was a conspiracy to keep cyclists oppressed in some way. It just makes good sense.

Like airbags and anti-lock braking systems, reflective paint is another weapon in the arsenal of the transportation users who seek to eliminate death and injury. In fact I consider it prudent to ask pedestrians to cross where possible at crosswalks. It provides one more element of predictable regularity for the motorists who are driving through neighborhoods and busy streets.

In fact coming on the heels of a failed attempt to get cyclists (by law) to do what makes perfect sense (dress in bright clothing when riding on highways). If you examine the Adventure Cycling Store you will find apparel on offer that fits just that paradigm. In fact most of the commuters I know ride with at minimum a reflective vest and something bright in terms of clothing.

And the ones who are really smart spend good money on lighting for both the front and rear of their bikes. Like wearing seat belts, sometimes it takes a law to encourage people to do what is best for them. Fortunately, the technology for automobiles has meant that even those not wearing seat belts can be saved via airbags.

But cops still spend time each year stopping drivers and ticketing those not wearing seat belts. Here in Illinois we have a ‘click it or ticketcampaign. And you guessed right, the aim is to prevent loss of life by requiring folks to use their seat belts.

Who would be the one conspiring against motorists in this instance? I suppose the truly cynical would guess it was the insurance lobby trying to get out of paying large sums of money to those injured in accidents.

Well let’s consider that point. Assuming that were true, who benefits if you are not injured in an accident? You are paying premiums all along (especially if insurance is required in your state) so you will get some of your expenses paid. And then there is the possibility that the driver who gets ticketed for causing the accident will have to face a liability suit from your lawyer.

But even if you get millions of dollars, you may never fully regain use of your limbs or worse yet you may be dead. So even though your dependents get a lump sum you are still no longer around to enjoy life with them.

Nope. From where I sit the best solution to the problem is always avoidance in the first instance. If you can avoid being tossed around in your car and even ejected that is probably better in terms of protection than knowing you can get a settlement.

Even more to the point are the collision-avoidance systems flooding the market. Yes, they mean that insurance companies handle fewer claims, but isn’t that what we really want? I know that I do.

Maybe the entire problem of Life Paint’s rude acceptance by the Danes is that they suffer too little sunlight over the winter each year. Of course so do the Swedes, but they seem less cranky afterwards. Something tells me that a little intermarriage might be just the thing for the survival of the sanity of the Danes.

Cannot wait to get my hands on a can of that paint and play with it a bit. Sounds like yet another good thing to come into the lives of cyclists when they weren’t looking.

Let’s Place The Blame Where It Really Belongs

Cars Don’t Kill. People Do.

The single biggest factor in fatalities and injury while driving is impairment. That most often comes in the form of drunkeness. If the cycling community really wants to aim high for Vision Zero it is going to have to confront its reliance on alcohol even when riding a bike.

To ignore this single factor (alcohol) is to be disingenuous about wanting ‘safety‘.