Catclaw: Ultimate pavement protection for people bursts car tyres in seconds

catclaw pavement protector


catclaw pavement protection

The threat from pavement parking and terror attacks involving cars could be dramatically reduced by a simple new device installed along kerbs that quickly punctures tyres.

Catclaw is the size of half a small orange and is designed to be installed in its thousands along kerbs and pavements. When a car or lorry drives over a CatClaw, its weight exposes a sharp steel tube that quickly punctures the tyre. However, it poses no threat to pedestrians – a person standing on top of the device would not be heavy enough to activate it.

cat claw pavement burst tyre

If a car mounts a pavement fitted with Cartclaw, it’s tyres are quickly and efficiently burst

Yannick Read from the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) was inspired to invent CatClaw after watching footage of terror attacks involving cars: “43 people were killed last year by cars and lorries as they walked along a pavement or verge, so I invented CatClaw to reduce this type of terror as much as to tackle politically-motivated attacks.”

Pavement protection for people

Catclaw can be installed surrounded by solar-powered LED marker if necessary

In order to prevent terror attacks at certain locations, physical obstructions such as steel bollards or concrete blocks are the only practicable counter-measure, but it is not feasible or desirable to install these everywhere.

CatClaw provides a cheap and effective secondary line of defence over a widespread area. For example, the car used to attack pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March 2017 would have been rendered effectively undriveable had all its tyres been punctured by CatClaw when it first mounted the pavement – the driver would not have attained the high speeds he used to such devastating effect.

CATCLAW counter pavement parking

Early Catclaw prototype in action

Pavement parking danger

Furthermore, CatClaw can provide a powerful deterrent against the illegal pavement parking that blights the lives of thousands every day as it can be quickly and cheaply installed in its thousands along kerbs and other pedestrianised areas. Each individual unit takes only three minutes to install and costs only a few pounds to produce.

Quick facts about CatClaw

• The name is inspired by the Cats Eyes that line major roads in Britain and that compress under the weight of a vehicle
CatClaw poses no threat to pedestrians because it requires the weight of a motorised vehicle to expose the sharp spike
CatClaw is cheap to produce and maintain because it comprises only 4 readily available components and once installed, requires no power supply or upkeep

What is to be done?

Clearly there are many reasons why the Catclaw cannot become a commercial product. However, something needs to be done to prevent the illegal pavement parking and driving that is killing children and tantamount to terror attacks. Have a look at the photo below, which was taken last month near a school. Drivers faced with a blocked road ahead have taken to the pavement – forcing school children to take shelter in driveways.

cars driving on pavement

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  1. Fumblkrusch


    Is a bike heavy enough to expose the spike? How about a fully loaded cargo bike?

    • The ETA


      The film above shows an ‘inert’ device, which is why I am able to activate it with my thumbs. The working prototype is rated to 200KG, but could be rated at a higher weight…we’re still in the process of testing

      • Donna


        What about powerchairs and mobility scooters? I’m all for finding a solution to stop pavement parking (and just as bad, dropped-curb parking!), as I’m being forced into the road in my wheelchair pretty much every time I go into town, but, if I ran over one of these by accident and it punctured the tyres on my chair, I would be furious. A lot of powerchairs are pretty heavy, especially if they have extras like elevating footrests, tilt in space, and risers etc. I was going to say what about the big mobility scooters, but I know that if they’re above a certain class, you’re not meant to use them on the pavement. My powerchair though, is an indoor-outdoor chair, and only goes a max of 4mph, so isn’t meant to be used on the road. How are you going to deal with the potential of chairs like mine setting these things off?

    • The ETA


      The current prototype is fitted with a spring rated at 200kg, so it is possible that a fully laden cargo bike would expose the spike. However, the catclaw is intended to protect pavements – not cycle lanes. On shared use pavements, it would be easy for a cycle to avoid the catclaw devices as they are installed along the kerb

    • Geofrey Biggins


      I had to check this wasn’t an april fools but we are definitely still in Jan. This seems an incredibly bad idea. Tyres are a vital safety component of a vehicle hence the reason they are checked in the MOT test. If you punctured a tyre and the person was unaware and drove off they could have all sorts of accidents. What if it just caught the edge of a tyre and partially ripped the sidewall and the person then happily drives onto a motorway and has a blowout and wipes out a bus full of kids.

      sorry this is not a genius solution to the problem. Damaging people property is not the answer. It’s not much different to walking along with a bat and breaking peoples windscreens if they are parked on the pavement.

      • The ETA


        If a driver is unaware two of their car’s tyres are punctured, they are not fit to hold a licence. This idea for spikes is just that, an idea. It’s primary purpose is to question why as a country, we show such apathy towards road danger..even when it’s a car mounting the pavement to park and crushing a four-year-old child to death in the process…an horrific event that is far from isolated and that surely fits with your baseball bat analogy

        • Geofrey Biggins


          1. There is nothing to say that both tyres would be punctured as the front tyre can take a very different track to the rear. Indeed it could be the rear tyre that is punctured. This may not be immediately obvious until they pull out into traffic. The driver would then have to attempt to move to a safe location not blocking traffic and find somewhere to change the tyre whilst not causing an obstruction. Changing tyres on the side of the road is dangerous to both the person changing the tyre and the traffic which is now trying to avoid the obstruction.
          2. I mentioned partial damage to a tyre leading to failure which you have failed to address. A driver may not be aware of this until it causes an accident.
          3. Cars cross pavements millions of times a day. I drive into and out of my driveway across a pavement numerous times a day. Do you have actual statistics on road deaths/accidents caused by cars parking on pavements?
          4. I agree that people should not park on a pavement preventing wheelchair,pushchair or mobility scooter from passing easily by.
          5. The main problem is that goverments allow housing developments to be created without sufficient parking. A lot of new developments only have 1 off road parking space. But a vast proportion of people have 2 cars per house. Bursting their tyres is not the answer. Forcing housing developments not to cram in as many houses per acre as they possibly can would be better.

          • The ETA

            The answer is a systematic approach to road danger reduction, which is what they introduced in The Netherlands in the 1970s. In basic terms, it means that every road death is considered unacceptable and the effect is that many aspects of public life need to be altered in favour of people (infrastructure, legal framework, education, housing, enforcement etc). Funnily enough, all this means the Dutch have healthy and pleasant towns and cities and they certainly don’t have to rely on spikes in footpaths!

  2. dothebart


    How bout accidents like hitting some obstacle, falling of the bike?
    So, cycling at ~ 30 km/h, weighting 100 kg, falling of, will it puncture my shoulder?

    • The ETA


      Unlikely you would be injured in that unlikely event. The unfortunate reality is that currently over 40 pedestrians walking on the pavement every year are being killed by cars…countless more are injured or maimed.

  3. Lestat


    And if one stood on it? Hmm… Try stepping barefoot on a Lego brick, then try this!?!

    Bad idea 101


    • The ETA


      The device is rated at 200kg+ so you would be very unlikely to expose the spike and even if you did, if you were wearing shoes it would do you no harm

    • rocket



  4. Jen


    This is fantastic !!!!!! I hope they get installed all over the place as soon as possible, without delay. Cars are taking over our cities; enough is enough !!

  5. Baker


    Seems pretty awful to me. It’s a massive trip hazard, even with painting, that I think councils would be considered liable for (anyone notice how they had to remove all those raised bump style lights that were installed in city centres about 10 years ago? This is why), would not slow down a car (try driving one with punctured tyres), but would make it far harder to control; what you might save from the odd terror attack would be tiny compared to the casualties from people losing control of vehicles after skidding or mounting pavements to avoid road traffic accidents.

    Speaking of which, pavements are -not- exclusive pedestrian zones and neither should there be. If a driver can safely mount a kerb to permit an ambulance to pass and get to an emergency before it’s too late, I would argue it’s chronically irresponsible for them to remain in the road and not permit the vehicle to pass. Plenty of our roads are simply too narrow and too congested for this to be in any way viable, both due to the increased delays to emergency services vehicles, and more importantly, because in many many places it is vital that cars be allowed to park on the pavement to facilitate traffic parking. There are whole streets all over London, Bristol, Birmingham etc etc etc with thousands of residents on each which would simply be impossible to traverse (even by bike!) if drivers did not mount one of the pavements.

  6. Bill


    In the narrow cul-de-sac where I live cars, including ours park on the pavements! IF we all parked in the narrow road two abreast…. NOBODY would be able to dive into the road at all! Think on!

  7. Jen


    Though what it won’t do, sadly, is stop cars who are legally parked but have their massive bonnets taking up the pavement and restricting pedestrian access !

  8. Andy D


    Would be great way of protecting grass verges from being chewed up by delivery drivers too!

  9. Nick McGranahan


    Great thought however not practical as it would be considered unlawful. Why not employ more traffic wardens to issue fines?

  10. Vin West


    so what about someone driving a power wheelchair – weight of chair [65 kilos upward] plus weight of person, bearing in mind that the loss of mobility of many people who have to use wheelchairs means they can’t help gaining weight. This idea clearly would have no effect on terrorists who don’t care if they are driving on punctured wheels. Parking a car on a pavement and causing an obstruction is a criminal offence and the police are empowered to act.

    • Karen Varga


      I was thinking the same about motorised wheelchairs.

      We all know though that councils a d the police don’t act – even if you happen to get one at the scene of a pavement parking they still won’t do anything -and out of town centres it’s impossible.

      I saw a car parked across a crossing point yesterday -and a motorised wheelchair user who was going to have to take a very long detour! Chances of getting anyone to come and even write a ticket before the car moved -zero I’d say.

      The cult of the car must end 🙁

  11. Mark B


    I’m sure that the chance of a puncture should deter most terrorists! More seriously though it’s not going to do a lot if someone’s determined. What about when people genuinely need to mount a kerb like to allow emergency vehicles past?

  12. Tony Williams


    “The unfortunate reality is that currently over 40 pedestrians walking on the pavement every year are being killed by cars…countless more are injured or maimed” you say. Yes, a friend of mine was seriously injured on Boxing Day as he waited to cross a road, a car came out of a side turning and hit another vehicle and pushed it into him. This device wouldn’t have stopped that.

    I don’t doubt that in some of the accidents where vehicles drive onto pavements the driver deliberately chose to do so. But not in all.

    And I don’t believe your glib assertion that it would be easy for a cycle to avoid the catclaw, in your response about a cargo bike.

  13. Dale Sanders


    Bad Idea! as councils have narrowed roads all across the country. Many roads are now narrow and with most people now owning a car, two or more in most family’s, which as resulted in cars being parked on both sides of the road which restricts access to any large vehicle, such as vans, lorries, big cars etc. Also if the emergency services needed access and cars cannot safely park on the pavement to allow them access, then how are the emergency services suppose to get through. In view of this another solution needs to be found.

  14. Annabel Edwards


    Catclaw is a brillant idea too many cars parking on the pavement and its getting dangerous especially if you have a baby buggy and the only way is to step into the road and hope you dont get hit by oncoming traffic.

  15. James Ansell


    This idea should immediately be scrapped, if the thing goes into the edge of the tread or the side wall, not causing an instant deflation, it could cause a blowout at a later date. Likewise how does it recognise an emergency vehicle or ambulance, which often have to pull onto kerbs.
    A stupid idea that would, no doubt, cause accidents and life loss, and hopefully will never pass safety assessments.

  16. Darren mein


    Wouldn’t it be criminal damage if this device actually punctured a tyre?

    • Matt Piperooy


      That’s like saying whoever puts a bollard up is responsible for criminal damage if a car drives into it.

  17. arelbe


    Like it.
    Anti crime – yes. Anti obstruction – yes. And stops cars damaging pavements which, never meant to carry the weight of a car, lack the necessary foundations. It must cost an awful lot to repair cracked and wobbly pavements caused by inappropriate and, for all I know, illegal parking.
    Parking: So many drivers put nearside wheels onto the kerb when parking, presumably in order to ‘free up’ the roadway. Inconvenient and inconsiderate to pedestrians (which the driver becomes once out of the machine), but it never actually keeps the carriage way wide enough for two cars to pass. So it’s utterly pointless as well as annoying. Edjukashun?
    Parking: Can a campaign be started to stop people parking on the wrong side of the road and leaving their headlights on? Annoying and dangerous.

  18. Cheryl


    There are occasions when you may need to mount the pavement to let an ambulance through quickly etc. More traffic wardens needed instead as this device is probably too indiscriminate.

  19. Plevyadophy


    As both a cyclist and motorist I regard this stupid device as an outrage; so the mint-tea drinking green lobby think it’s a good idea to damage the property of others?! 😮

    Really?!! 😮

    How about pedestrians join in the fray and puncture the tyres of cyclists with whom they are disgruntled.

    Like it or not there are times where a van will have to mount the pavement to better and safely carry out work (e.g. cash vans do it often to reduce the risk of armed robbery). Such matters are best left to “humans” in the guise of traffic wardens applying common sense and using their descretion rather than this ridiculous device that indiscriminately punctures tyres/damages the property of others.

    If this is the kinda nonsense ETA wanna promote it’s no wonder that “green” campaigners get mocked as a bunch of loons.

  20. PD


    Certainly something needs doing. Pavement parking (and turining grass verges into ploughed fields) is getting normalised so walking/strolling becomes less pleasant and subtly marginalised. Absolutely a right issue to campaign on. Leaving it to discretion and light touch enforcement is not working.

  21. whobiggs


    An interesting idea, may be good in certain places such as schools

  22. Richard


    You might want to revise the 200kg weight trigger if you want to sell it in America. It would cause carnage to pedestrians.

  23. pedibus


    I’m sorry about language : I’am french people, but i will wish to know other elements with this new device.

    Do you know if british cities are ok to adopt catclaw to experiment, in one or multiple streets ? : have you an example, to encourage to believe that solution will can extand at midle term…?

    In France, particulary in Bordeaux, situation is cataclysmic in a lot of streets ; you can evaluate with Google Steet View pictures below :,-0.5613304,3a,75y,139.4h,80.22t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sE77qe9w0eo7_kQOjoq-4vQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656,-0.5746227,3a,75y,89.9h,88.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sQc4rnLiDOFdd4X5NXRsaHw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656,-0.5971068,3a,75y,11.95h,81.64t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1ss5RGpy7YTssT8fNeMD9deQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656,-0.5658612,3a,75y,286.11h,80.66t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sxTshswWsttTNC_g8S5nR4w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    and so on… then you will understand that I hope a lot of this technique of catclaw

    thanks if you could answer me quickly

  24. Joel


    I like this idea but making it clear they exist will be tricky as they are so discreet.

    For all those getting irate the alternative is a bollard – if you drive into it you damage your car, what is the difference to driving over a cat claw?! We have many other vehicle deterants that can damage vehicles, including one way sleeping policemen (they have spikes on the other side) and width restrictors.

    A quick search on the internet shows this invention will not stop terrorists because if you don’t care about the safety of yourself and others you can drive very fast on flat tires.

  25. pedibus


    Joel : “A quick search on the internet shows this invention will not stop terrorists because if you don’t care about the safety of yourself and others you can drive very fast on flat tires.”

    But I believe that terrorisme is a good pretexte to introduce this new device to protect pedestrian about illegal stationnement car.
    Sorry about of my english language…

  26. alex


    A novelty invention that has too many things against it to be worthy of serious consideration. I did actually think of this device with a modification as an anti theft gadget but it would be too fraught with danger.
    What made me angry was suggesting it could be useful against terrorists which is a despicable way to market a rotten product.
    Id be angry if some government department wasted money testing this for that use.
    If you want to stop cars parking on pavements push a wheel barrow and exercise your right of way

  27. Don Duck


    It’s all about the pressure on the device, not the mass of the object on it.

    A car tire pressure on the contact patch is the same as the inflation pressure and about 190-240 kPa. A bike has a tyre pressure of 500 to 900 kPa.

    Any device that will puncture a car tyre WILL puncture a bicycle tyre.

  28. mcr


    ok, if i or my kids ‘d trip and fall down, and loose an eye, or ‘ll get my hand spiked throug.

    It’s fckng dangerous.

  29. pedibus


    could ETA respond to Don Duck on this issue of greater pressure under the rolling of a bicycle tire …?

    Of course I would also be interested in an answer to my question, asked before yesterday …

    Thanks in advance…

  30. Crois


    The rating seems way too low. The average car weights one-and-a-half tons, so half of that would surely be the correct rating?
    These could be set along the edges of paths, with warnings for pedestrians for the first ones installed in each place, so that they become part of the norm of expected obstacles. They could also be set between double yellow lines on roads – certainly not further out, or they’d be a bad slip risk for people on bicycles in the same way as tram tracks.
    They’re a great idea. I look forward to seeing them in use.

  31. pedibus


    it is possible that Duck did not understand the physical characteristics of Catclaw:
    P = F / S

    and here the triggering element of the device is F = 200 * 9.81 = 1962 newtons, according to the prototype criterion:

    it does not matter what the contact surface of the car or bicycle tire, the footwear sole of the obese pedestrian …

    so no problem for other users of the public space … with the exception of uncivil or foolish motorists …

  32. The ETA


    To those concerned about the safety of this product, worry not – it is it’s sole purpose. It’s not a real product – it is intended to raise awareness of our apathy, as a country, towards drivers killing people on pavements….unless it’s a politically motivated attack. To our mind both things are terror attacks.

  33. pedibus


    it’s not a real product …! ?

    but we must immediately find a craftsman, an industrialist, a sector to produce it …!

    and all behind him …!

    and it’s sure he’ll be the first in the history of the Nobel to cumulate the price of medicine and the economy …!

    it is the ideal remedy against the global pandemic of obesity, with its comorbidities, because of the physical inactivity:

    do our utmost to pacify public space, to the delight of pedestrians and cyclists …!

  34. Tony Williams


    Not a real product? I’m glad about that, because I was going to ask if it retracts itself after a car has activated it and then withdrawn from the pavement, leaving a dangerous spike sticking up.

    Just to raise awareness…You’ve probably also contributed to raising the threshold of direct action among people who are so convinced they are right that they think anything is permissible.

  35. pedibus


    I think that we should not give up, the health issue is important, not so much for the safety itself as for the physical inactivity of the population, from the moment the car practice becomes strong, so in a number growing up of country …

    catclaw can help to change the perception of public spaces, made awkward and ultimately dangerous, which does not encourage, if only an extra margin of population, to practice walking and cycling more often …

    it would really be necessary to associate, with catclaw, good mechanical students and others, specialists in social engineering, political science and public health:

    a new multi-disciplinary European program …!

  36. Liz


    For day to day digressions there are too many problems (although the twit who insists on parking almost entirely on the pavement on a very wide and quiet road every day a few metres away from me might have learnt something!) But in high risk areas, places where concrete boulders have been placed to prevent terrorrist attacks, the cat claws must surely be a friendlier alternative. If emergency vehicles need to pass at least drivers can go onto the verge, albeit sacrificing a tyre, huge concrete blocks aren’t going to allow any movement at all. I agree that change will take involvement from all different areas, not least disability groups as there is a potential to make access far fairer for all, and equally things could get worse.My thoughts going immediately to my friend who is registered blind and trips over too many things now and I ride a trike rather than a bike for medical reasons which makes it difficult to avoid obstacles when you’ve three wheels to consider. We humans are an imaginative lot, technical solutions can be found, but getting diverse groups of people in one room without anyone pointing fingers about “them” and rolling their eyes might be a little more challenging!

  37. Bernard SHAKEY


    Bit sad when a suggestion like this is needed to generate debate on people’s attitude to motor vehicles.
    However, ETA you have certainly piqued my interest in your company 😉

  38. Sam


    Love it! Pavement parking is such a blight, anything to deter people from doing so.

  39. Thomas


    Wouldn’t it be easier to add an extra layer or two to the curb – like a mini wall – so that it’d be difficult or impossible to mount the pavement?

    • Donna


      Thomas I was just thinking the same thing, a mini wall would be perfect. They could put them either side of dropped curbs too, so that no selfish idiots who are “only gonna be five minutes” can make those of us that need to use the dropped curb go miles out of our way to find another one! I’m so fed up with both pavement parking and dropped-curb parking, it’s an absolute nightmare every time I go out, and since I live in a small town, there aren’t exactly an abundance of dropped curbs to begin with, so when someone parks over one it is more than a bit inconvenient :/ I definitely think mini walls are the way forward, but I bet they won’t be installed, because people will probably “trip” over them and then try and sue the council 😏

  40. Jason


    Do you not think that someone who regularly parks on the pavement will carry a board(s) to place over the claw when they park and remove them when they are done? This is particularly likely to happen with tradesmen, keep them in the van and send the apprentice out with the board before they park.

  41. Ron Collins


    It is the best new device to stop any motorist from Parking where they should not, and driving over
    pavements, causing damage, which is then dangerous to pedestrians, wheelchairs, pushchairs, elderly, disabled, and blind people.
    It will raise awareness amongst all drivers. It will have a fluorescent pattern around each one.
    Ignore it at your peril.
    Most cars have a tyre pressure system, which shows on your dash board.
    Yes it will cost ignorant motorists money to pay for the puncture, or even a new tyre. But they have
    to when a tyre is damaged by road holes, to which there are Millions in our roads.
    I have already had to buy 3 new tyres in the last 12 months,. because of tyre wall damage caused by Pot holes. Catclaw will probably not cause damage to larger vehicles with Large heavy tires.
    Ignorant drivers will have to learn Responsibility, and Respect. Vehicles are a Dangerous Weapon,
    and need devices to stop them causing Death, and Injuries to innocent Men, Women, and Children.

  42. Rob


    What would one do if an emergency vehicle is trying to pass through a busy congested street,and the only way to let it pass is to slightly mount the kerb ?

  43. Stu


    Theres enough dangerous potholes on uk roads that will wipe out more tyres than catclaws ?

  44. Anthony McCarthy


    Ermm…anyone realise it’s not illegal to park on the pavement provided no obstruction is caused? Sorry to, ahem, puncture the fantasies of all the car-hating nutters on here who’d like to see enforced vehicle-vandalism, obviously…

    • The ETA


      It is illegal to drive on the pavement, so unless you have a flying car you are breaking the law

  45. Rabb


    I need I want, where can I buy from…???

  46. mike salih


    I agree with Rabb, where and when can I buy these?? roll out asap

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