16 September 2005

Sub-urban combat vehicles

Four wheel drives are popular in Sydney. These 2,3 tonne lifestyle tanks are actually based on military vehicles. The U.S. army upgraded their jeeps to HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles) and used them in the Persian Gulf Conflict in the 90's. After 9/11 the American consumers desired both an aggressive and more protected mobility. Industry responded with "Stealth" and "Warrior" to manoeuvre the drivers to their Gated Communities. Via "Mobile Cocooning" new territories could be conquered and traffic negotiated as a winner. Schwarzenegger was the first civilian to use the HMMWV for shopping and golfing in the urban territory. Elsewhere the bulldozer mentality of the drivers claimed terra nullius with their sub-urban combat vehicles. Governmental tax management further created a push-factor for motorists.

These suburban assault vehicles use up half of the imported petrol in the U.S. and the USA consumes a quarter of all global oil production.

In Europe too, environment, emission and petrol prices are non-issues. German producers are fading out production of 3 litre cars, solar mobiles and other alternatives to 'customize' their output.

For the global pedestrian and bicycle community the height of these vehicles and the bullbars pose an increased danger. The steel tubing is a purely 'spunk accessory' to 'protect' the passengers in case of collision. In most countries these devices are now illegal, but here in Australia the 'roo bar' is legal on most types of vehicles. Often they are additionally studded with a few extra steel tubes pointing foreward (for the many fishing rods).

So after hosing down your 4WD (on a water restriction day), spray on a bit of mud and take care of the many roos cluttering up the roads in Sydney.

Continuation from 'Manly civilian war-zone'
Inspiration from Telepolis

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