11 May, 2010

Surviving Bad Design - Part One

It's hard to imagine safer, more efficient cycling will ever occur until we understand the limitations that humans' shortcomings impose on us. And one only need look to the world of design for evidence that thought processes are, in fact, a crap shoot for homo sapiens.

For instance, how can I expect to be safe when the person who created this door handle is presumably driving an automobile on public roads to his/her design incubator every day? With presumably hours, if not days, to get it right, this person - or is it a committee? - has offended not just my sense of aesthetics but also my tender fleshy palms. In a most ironic of insults heaped onto injury this is the outside door of a public, post-secondary institution that teaches design.

It's a handle, its only purpose is to be pulled, and yet its sharp corners gouge into my skin when pulled.

Not only this, but the inner door handles are round and smooth, as if to taunt survivors with You have survived the first threshold. Enter ye these portals to learn to inflict the same upon others.
Am I missing something? Given my life-long attempts at passing through doorways (most of them successful) I think not. If people like these can hurt me using their pencil - something they presumably went to school to learn to use in pursuit of their career - what's stopping them from eradicating me with their vehicle?

It doesn't just end with the talent-free choices behind this abomination's design ; an architect presumably had to request these actually be paid for and installed, then the building committee needed to say, Yes, the idea of using these sounds swell. Sure, swell for people wearing hockey gloves, while the rest of us are obliged to grasp the painful truth of the shortage of good judgement exhibited at not one, but numerous points along this journey. And all of these people - designer, architect, committee, are out on the roads, coming upon my sorry butt in its saddle, making judgements along the lines of, Yes, he's got enough room between the curb and my mirror. Yes, I can pass him and then turn right without cutting him off. Yes, he's coming slowly enough that I can turn left before he's too close.

If I stop and think about this any longer, I'll be too spooked to ever ride again.

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