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.
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
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.
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.
An insurance company like no other
Not only are we Britain’s most ethical insurance company, we campaign for sustainable transport. Sometimes that means protesting until a school gets the zebra crossing they’ve been refused, or running 60 roadshows this year to encourage people out of their cars, or fixing bicycles for free. Supporting this work is easy – you simply have to take out insurance with us. We provide home insurance, cycle insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover – all while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.