Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Coming Through!
August 25, 2005 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Goldwing Retriever
A Swedish company named Coming Through has developed a Honda GL1800 powered motorcycle mounted towing rig that lets the bike weave through traffic, arrive at the broken down car quickly, unfold the towing rig and then haul a car of up to 5500 pounds away before the traditional towtruck can even get there!
Here's a photo gallery and videos of the system in action. via
posted by fenriq (35 comments total)

 
So the driver of the car would go ... where? Riding in the towed car? Stuck on the side of the road? Neither sounds particularly safe or pleasant.
posted by Possum at 10:50 AM on August 25, 2005


The first thing I thought was it would never be able to stop if it was actually towing a vehicle. But I guess a trailer brake could take care of that. And since the specs state maximum towing speed is 20 miles per hour, it really wouldn't matter anyway.
posted by Roger Dodger at 10:51 AM on August 25, 2005


Very, very cool idea....get those damned broken down cars out of the way!
posted by mrblondemang at 10:53 AM on August 25, 2005


As though a car being towed at 20 mph down the highway is going to slow traffic any less?
posted by ToasT at 10:55 AM on August 25, 2005


The music for the demo video is amazing.
posted by saladin at 10:55 AM on August 25, 2005


20 mph is faster than zero which is what the vehicle is doing when it waits for a traditional tow-truck to get past all the ruberneckers backing up traffic. Sure on an Interstate a tow truck can go the wrong way from the next exit up, but only if traffic is completely stopped. That's not usually the case with just a flat tire or non-accident situation.

It's not a total solution (plenty of cases where it wouldn't be practical for retrieving in an accident scene), but perfectly fine for disabled vehicles. Not to mention, it's not going to haul a vehicle twenty miles on the highway (not in a heavy urban setting anyways), just up to the next exit where you can drop it off and wait for a bigger truck if a long haul is needed or just drop them at the local station.
posted by inthe80s at 11:11 AM on August 25, 2005


If I were the operator of the bike, I would REALLY appreciate a flexi-bar (extending from the windscreen, perhaps) which would equal the width of the car I was towing..... so as not to have an unpleasant "experience"
posted by Debaser626 at 11:18 AM on August 25, 2005


Great idea for broken down vehicles but cars involved in a collision can not be taken away until after the police arrive anyway. Usually two truck drivers are standing around waiting for the OK to take the car.
posted by StarForce5 at 11:21 AM on August 25, 2005


As though a car being towed at 20 mph down the highway is going to slow traffic any less?
posted by ToasT at 12:55 PM CST on August 25 [!]


20mph is exactly 20mph faster than standing still. I figured that much would be obvious.

And generally I would think it would be towed to the nearest exit off the expressway?

Or, what inthe80's just said because I typed before I read the final comment.

I think it's a good idea. Limited application, yes, but still useful.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:23 AM on August 25, 2005


I think you might want to work out a deal with the police before you base your business on the illegal practice of a motorcycle driving between lanes of traffic and in the breakdown lane. That is probably an obstacle that could be overcome. As for 20 mph, this is most useful for packed roads with essentially stopped traffic. A 20 mph tow for an exit or so won't make much difference.
posted by caddis at 11:39 AM on August 25, 2005


caddis, when I was driving motorcycles (about 15 years ago in California), it was perfectly legal to 'share' a lane with a car, as long as the overall traffic speed was 40mph or less. The law may have changed since, and it has been so many years that my memory is indistinct, but I'm absolutely certain that it was legal at that time and place.

I still never did it, which is why my memory is fuzzy. I drove under the rule of 'treat the bike like it's a car when in traffic... don't go places or do things that cars can't do.' Kept me out of trouble.
posted by Malor at 11:45 AM on August 25, 2005


caddis, that isn't illegal everywhere.
posted by odinsdream at 11:49 AM on August 25, 2005


That's entirely cool.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:02 PM on August 25, 2005


The downmarket version.
posted by cenoxo at 12:07 PM on August 25, 2005


caddis, I ride my motorcycle almost every day here in California and it is perfectly legal to split lanes, its not recommended but it is legal. Which is good because if I had to sit in traffic like a car on my motorcycle, I'd stop riding.

Possum, good point about the driver of the broken down car, I hadn't thought of what they do while they're car is towed away.

I am equally as impressed with the concept of the bike mounted tow system as I am with the guy's follow through on a good idea.
posted by fenriq at 12:09 PM on August 25, 2005


fenriq, it's neither explicitly legal or illegal.

my understanding is that if CHP doesn't like the cut of your jib, they can pull you over.

of course that's true regardless of whether you're lane splitting...

i've been doing 30 miles/day with heavy lane splitting since october. and the last month or so i havn't had a license plate (dangers of actually taking a dual-sport offroad). it's very much giving me the feeling that they couldn't care less...

I can't believe it's illegal everywhere else. It's just STUPID to sit in gridlock on a bike.
posted by flaterik at 12:12 PM on August 25, 2005


the illegal practice of a motorcycle driving between lanes of traffic and in the breakdown lane.
In Texas it is illegal for motorcycle riding between lanes {"splitting-lanes"}. Though it's common seeing tow-trucks driving illegally in order to tow a vehicle. As it’s an emergency service vehicle and why it has the emergency lights on it’s roof while making the illegal driving maneuvers.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2005


I can't believe it's illegal everywhere else. It's just STUPID to sit in gridlock on a bike.
Growing up in California saw it all the time as a good thing. Living in Texas I can say there may be good arguments for not having it here. See the law being beneficial for saving lives which can be attested by anyone who has ridden a bicycle in the streets of Dallas.

Many of my friends who moved from Cali to here, make the statement; “you’re nuts to split-lanes after seeing the Texas drivers drive.”
For example: in Dallas lane change signaling accomplishes the cars behind you to speed up and pass you.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:29 PM on August 25, 2005


Thomcatspike, you have the most bizarre prose style this side of Harold Robbins. (Not a criticism.)


Flaterik, some people think lanesplitting is as stupid as your view of sitting in traffic. I think both are stupid, but I gotta get to work on time.
posted by scratch at 1:17 PM on August 25, 2005


The law in CA is:
"Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner."
http://www.chp.ca.gov/html/answers.html
posted by bikergirl at 1:21 PM on August 25, 2005


Thanks bikergirl! I love the question and answer after the bike one though.

Safest lane splitting I ever did was behind a CHP motorcycle cop, funny how everybody sees the cop bike.
posted by fenriq at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2005


Interesting. I never realized lane splitting was allowed anywhere.
posted by caddis at 2:01 PM on August 25, 2005


For example: in Dallas lane change signaling accomplishes the cars behind you to speed up and pass you.

That's certainly true in LA as well.

90% of the time I spend between lanes, there's a car on BOTH sides of me. And I'm probably paying more attention to their lane position than they are - it's not hard to tell when someone is thinking about changing lanes. Seven thousand miles of motorcycle commuting, and I have yet to be surprised by a driver's lane change (they don't have to surprise me to piss me off).

Flaterik, some people think lanesplitting is as stupid as your view of sitting in traffic. I think both are stupid, but I gotta get to work on time.

Some people think the world is flat, too. Doesn't mean I should listen to them.

...um, you think both are stupid? So, um... wait, what? This is kind of a binary question. (since for some of us "stop riding" isn't acceptable)

Safest lane splitting I ever did was behind a CHP motorcycle cop

I've been PASSED by CHP while lanesplitting. Makes me pretty sure that I'm being prudent about speed when that happens.
posted by flaterik at 2:07 PM on August 25, 2005


I'm also a California Lanesplitter. It keeps me sane, as sitting in a car for an hour to get to work drives me batty.

I think this would be perfect for disabled vehicles on LA/Orange/Riverside County highways. We have a Highway Service Patrol already, consisting of big tow trucks, but they move as slow as traffic. The Gold Wing could get to a stalled car quickly and get it off the highway, or at the very least into the breakdown lane. Even if it saved 5 minutes of traffic backup time it would make a huge difference, since one down lane can back up LA traffic for 10 miles!

"Safest lane splitting I ever did was behind a CHP motorcycle cop, funny how everybody sees the cop bike."

fenriq, get a white or silver helmet and always ride with your hi-beam on. Then the car people THINK you're a CHP bike. The difference between a silver/white helmet and any other color is really obvious if you've ever made the switch.

Oh, and I had an LAPD bike officer give me a verbal warning for passing on the right on a surface street (Highland Ave) - which is not lane-splitting, even though a lot of motorcyclists do it. Why didn't he give me a ticket? Because I was following him as he passed all the traffic on the right! :)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:10 PM on August 25, 2005


Flaterik, I don't think there are only two options, he might think it's stupid to not have a jetpack or rocket pants or a commuters flying picnic bench, or he might think it'd be better if all vehicles moved at a nice fast pace so no one has to do any sitting or splitting.
posted by The Monkey at 5:04 PM on August 25, 2005


Ah, boy wouldn't that be great. Have you ever driven in Southern California, The Monkey?

Too many cars, too many people, nowhere near enough lanes... and there never will be. And not much mass transit in Los Angeles. This part of the state is the definition of "auto insanity."

What I wouldn't give for a subway line that runs along Wilshire from downtown to the beach in Santa Monica!
posted by zoogleplex at 6:03 PM on August 25, 2005


The reason lane splitting is legal in California is many bikes are air-cooled. If you had to sit in traffic on I-5 in July your bike would die.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 6:30 PM on August 25, 2005


Score one for the rice-burners!
posted by Balisong at 6:34 PM on August 25, 2005


Wondering about the legality of lane splitting in my home state, I found this. Pretty informative.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 8:31 PM on August 25, 2005


Great link... ummm... .ooO?

I assume those are supposed to be toes?

Anyway, great grid. Good info.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:43 PM on August 25, 2005


Milton, another reason why bikes can and should split lanes is that hands and forearms can get very, very tired having to constantly work a clutch. And a tired grip is a dangerous grip.
posted by fenriq at 10:52 PM on August 25, 2005


What I wouldn't give for a subway line that runs along Wilshire from downtown to the beach in Santa Monica!

I wouldn't give a limb. Or my girlfriend.

But most everything else would be up for grabs.

I wouldn't even mind that it would take away my daily excuse to ride my motorcycle.
posted by flaterik at 11:14 PM on August 25, 2005


We coulda used the Goldwing tow bike this morning, because there was a stalled car in the left lane of the 10 freeway near the Robertson exit that was backing up traffic very badly. Of course, on my bike I wasn't slowed down too much, and just zipped past the stalled car. If I'd had the Goldwing, I'd have been able to hook the thing up in around 5 minutes and pull it off the road. As it was, I'm sure it took a tow truck at least 1/2 hour just to get to it. Perfect application for this.

Off-topic, as I was passing the stalled car there was a guy on a Harley in front of me with a HANDICAPPED LICENSE PLATE. How do you get a handicapped plate if you're able to ride a motorcycle???

(Certainly it's pretty easy to do the reverse... ouch.)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:04 AM on August 26, 2005


a guy on a Harley in front of me with a HANDICAPPED LICENSE PLATE. posted by zoogleplex

You'd be surprised.

why bikes can and should split lanes is that hands and forearms can get very, very tired posted by fenriq

It's an excellent reason, as a rider though I find lane splitting mentally exhausting especially with the amount of SUVs and trucks on the road today, however overheating is the basic reason. I only split if I have a high mental and physical confidence which can suffer after a 10 hour day at work.

I have to commend Tennessee for recently passing a law that allows motorcycles to ignore red lights after 3 minutes if the bike doesn't trip the weight/metal sensor. I rarely have that problem in the city, but in the 'burbs you sometimes have to wait for a car to pull up before the sensor knows there is someone there. Drives me bonkers.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:14 PM on August 26, 2005


(Certainly it's pretty easy to do the reverse... ouch.)

The two 4 inch plates in my arm concur.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:16 PM on August 26, 2005


« Older Blogger claims to hack National Zoo panda name vot...  |  Top 10 What Have the Brits Eve... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments