Crowdfunding a bike-lock that squirts vomit-inducing antipersonnel gas when cut

There is no technology that will completely deter all thieves. Make a chain that can’t be cut easily and they will pick the lock. Make a pickproof lock and if they think your bike has value, they will just attack it, or the thing you chain it to, with power tools. It’s entirely possible to spend more money on the lock than a new bike would cost. You can buy incredibly over engineered bike locks because some people buy stupidly expensive bikes.

Lawmakers drive cars, so they care about car theft and have passed laws, and so car theft is rare. Nobody in power cares about bike theft, so it’s rampant. The only sensible goal is to make it more inconvenient to steal your bike than the bike of the person next door. If you have a cheap looking bike, all you need is a hard to pick lock and a tough d-bar, nothing fancy or expensive. If you insist on owning an expensive bike that doesn’t look ratty, then you are screwed, your bike will inevitably be stolen eventually.


Cory knows/knew him…


Tell me more about specific laws US lawmakers have passed specifically targeting automobile theft, and how the laws have made such theft rare.

Much of the credit for the reduction in auto theft since 1960 goes to auto insurance agencies using private funds (mostly from surcharges on insurance policies) to target theft through private “auto theft prevention authorities” (ATPA), and also from law enforcement (not lawmakers) targeting organized theft rings.

The National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) and it’s successor, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) were both funded by the insurance industry, not public funds,and not created by “lawmakers” but by insurers – ultimately, the cost of preventing auto theft is paid by car owners.


Just have it squirt vomit.


It does seem like the manufacturing process for suspending liquids in a metal is not going to produce very hard shackles. No heat tempering.

I am staying with my fahgeddaboudit.


Add a good quantity of permanent, bright-coloured dye and you’ve got a good product.


I would hate to be the city employee tasked with removing this lock off of public property.


This is stunningly stupid; the legal liability for the users and makers will be tremendous. Side-effect property damage, and accidental exposure to people with pre-existing breathing conditions… w00f. I would also bet this will turn out to be legal in many/most jurisdictions - it’s even mentioned in the geneva conventions as prohibited in times of armed conflict!

From the Geneva Conventions:

Without prejudice to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict relating to treachery and perfidy, it is prohibited in all circumstances to use:
a. any booby-trap in the form of an apparently harmless portable object which is specifically designed and constructed to contain explosive material and to detonate when it is disturbed or approached…
It is prohibited in all circumstances to use any booby-trap which is designed to cause superfluous injury or necessary suffering.

Anyone with half a brain will steer well clear of this - it’s not going to end well.


The same boing boing that condemned any usage of pepper spray by LEOs is linking this?


So you’re going to carry around a u-shaped cylinder of compressed noxious gas everywhere hoping that a burglar might one day cut through it? What if it just wears out? It’s a physical object, people leave them in their bags and lean on them/drop them/sit on them. Or it could be left on the frame while riding and stray rocks could kick up into it. Or a curious kid could see the bright red stickers and try pulling on it.

Does it really need to be said at this point that booby traps are a dumb idea? It’s the same reason you don’t dig spike pit traps in your backyard or plant mines in your lawn: the chance for collateral damage is way too high and it’s very easy for a judge to draw the conclusion that a device meant to harm an attacker is malicious.


I have to believe that the only solution for theft is for all expensive things to have remotely triggerable weapons, perhaps with a camera for ensuring the target is in range. Can’t wait for the internet of things hacks.


Most recently 49 CFR 541.5 that requires labelling of major parts to prevent chop shops. But, also the whole VIN number and licensing deal - when your license plate is looked up by police, they’ll know if the car has been stolen or if the plate is on the wrong type of vehicle. Bicycles are pretty much unregulated … we’re lucky they have serial numbers.


Depends on the laws in your state. Most are pretty vague, and cover lots and lots of stuff.

[quote=“SoylentPlaid, post:30, topic:87965”]
… wears out? … lean on them/drop them/sit on them. …stray rocks could kick up into it … kid … pulling on it.[/quote]

I imagine the only part that is pressurized is the U part … if I had a dollar for all of the U-locks I’ve had that I’ve accidentally broken by sitting on! No, seriously, have you held one? The only thing that’s going to mess them up are serious tools – that’s their whole point.


It would definitely be illegal in England and Wales.

It is a chemical and used as a weapon so yes, it is a chemical weapon.


I’ve seen those. How do you carry it while riding? (I don’t mean how does one carry it, I mean what’s your approach? On the bike frame? Over your shoulder and around your body like a bandolier? On a rack?)

A typical u-lock, sure. Those are made out a solid steel bar. Something like this would necessarily be A) hollow, and B) under pressure. Torque stress and microfracturing don’t mean much over the lifetime of your average solid lock, but they might mean something when there’s pressurised gas inside of a hollow tube waiting to get out.

Edit: I’m assuming the thing gets damaged over time, as in wear and tear. The u-bar tube thing will probably be fairly sturdy, yes. But things change when pressurised gas is involved.


It’s all about the false positives.

Cash machines offer an ever-growing menu of services beyond merely dispensing money. For tampering criminals, this now includes a squirt of pepper spray in the face .

The extreme measure is the latest in South Africa’s escalating war against armed robbers who target banks and cash delivery vans. The number of cash machines blown up with explosives has risen from 54 in 2006 to 387 in 2007 and nearly 500 last year.
The technology uses cameras to detect people tampering with the card slots. Another machine then ejects pepper spray to stun the culprit while police response teams race to the scene. But the mechanism backfired in one incident last week when pepper spray was inadvertently inhaled by three technicians who required treatment from paramedics.


I thread it through my rear rack and it is very secure. YMMV; carrying this thing is the hassle.

1 Like

Note that this is going to be quite illegal in many areas.

1 Like