If a driver is willing to pull you up, but just grabbing the roof rail or the window frame puts the cyclist into danger and might damage his car. Therefore we thought about different "tools" to do so without risk.
The safest position would be slightly behind and beside the car. So we need a rope or stick to connect cyclist and car. And this connection must be releasable immediately in case of emergency.
We tried using a plunger (plumbers helper) which connects via vacuum. For safety release we exchanged the solid handle by a tube which is closed at the grab end. The other end is connected to the rubber interior of the plunger. A hole in the tube (closed by the thumb of the holding hand) functions as release „button“, by deflating the vacuum (see picture).
Other ideas for the connection:
A rope (or an old bicycle inner tube) connected to the car (bootlid, roof rack, fender, ...)
Drivers and places could be identified by a sticker. There could be websites for the community for sharing information about drivers, places, behavior rules, ...
Life Testing, the moment of truth:
We experienced some limitations, apart from being illegal ;-)
- Our plunger idea doesn't have enough power to stick to the car. This problem could be solved by other vacuum lifters used for window panes, …
- Potential damage to the car (sheetmetal or glass) by the plunger.
- Riding one-handed doesn't help for keeping a straight line.
- The transport of the plunger on the bike is unpractical.
We asked people on the street: Every biker liked the idea but no one saw a big chance for a huge success. Overall, the acceptance on both sides, cyclist and car drivers, wouldn't be very high.
But we had much fun, thinking, building and testing!