spinning wheels
January 27, 2005 7:51 AM   Subscribe

An Iowa law outlawing spinning rims? I admit that spinning rims are goofy and have no redeeming social value but outlawing them? When Spinning Rims Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Spinning Rims
posted by halekon (61 comments total)
Hey, look: a blog.
posted by squirrel at 7:59 AM on January 27, 2005

While I think a law outlawing them is unnecessary, I do see a slight driving safety issue with them. It is very slight though.

The first time I saw spinners was at a four way intersection where I had a green light. The truck was stopped on my right, but I saw the rims spinning and quickly (and wrongly) assumed the truck was in motion and about to smack right into me.

Of course that was the only time that happened, and I certainly don't think it's a reason to outlaw them altogether. They're so ubiquitous now I can't imagine there's that many people that haven't seen them.
posted by AaRdVarK at 8:01 AM on January 27, 2005

He also wants to let old folk shoot young and disabled deer Do these people have nothing better to do?
posted by zeoslap at 8:03 AM on January 27, 2005

Hey now, hey now. This isn't an "Iowa law", this is one moron legislator's fancy

Struyk said he was nearly involved in an accident in November near Bentley, Iowa. He was driving a truck pulling a 16-foot trailer loaded with a dozen ladders. He approached an intersection as a car with the spinning wheel covers approached from another direction. He said the spinners made it appear as if the car might still be moving through the intersection, so he braked hard and the trailer nearly jackknifed.

Well, maybe you shouldn’t be hauling around giant trailers full of bizarrely heavy ladders which have no trailer breaks in the middle of an Iowa winter when you don’t even know how to drive (or at least, don’t know how to drive properly with that kind of a load).

On the other hand, this law would give cops one more reason to pull people over for ‘driving while black’. I think two of the three or four bespinnered cars here in Ames, IA (where I live) are driven by black people.
posted by delmoi at 8:04 AM on January 27, 2005

They're so ubiquitous now I can't imagine there's that many people that haven't seen them.

They are not, in fact, ubiquitous in iowa.
posted by delmoi at 8:05 AM on January 27, 2005

Aside from the issue raised by AaRdVarK, I can't see how this can be a law. If it is saftey, then hanging things from the mirror would be an unsafe practice - time for a law!
I could not care less about the spinning hubs, personally I find them stupid and it's amazing to me how much they cost. But, people are free to express however they want ...without the government sticking their nose into it.

Meanwhile, the last part of the bill:
1 18 This bill prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle
1 19 equipped with spinner hubcaps on a highway. Spinner hubcaps
1 20 are defined as removable hubcaps or wheel covers that continue
1 21 to rotate, or appear to rotate, after the vehicle is stopped.
1 22 A person convicted of a violation commits a simple misdemeanor
1 23 punishable by a scheduled fine of $10.
1 24 LSB 1665YH 81
1 25 dea:rj/sh/8

posted by fluffycreature at 8:06 AM on January 27, 2005

I say let them keep putting spinners on their cars. I mean, that's got to be the dumbest thing in history..."here, I'll be putting on 10,000 dollars worth of titanium alloy on my 'dub's' and leave it parked out where someone can steal them. I am teh smrt!"
posted by Hands of Manos at 8:06 AM on January 27, 2005

If rims on rides are outlawed, dubs on choppers will still keep rolling.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:08 AM on January 27, 2005

I think those cheapo Autozone-brand spinner hubcaps should be outlawed...extra penalties if you're caught driving with them and some of the spinning spoked have been smashed off (so the half-spinner only can manage a weak little nodding motion as you drive).
posted by tpl1212 at 8:12 AM on January 27, 2005

-Special thanks to mosch (via #mefi) for the spinning teeth link.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:12 AM on January 27, 2005

One safety issue I can see is that on ice and snow, spinning rims (which can be stationary while the wheels are turning) could easily create the illusion that the driver had slammed on their brakes, locking the tires and going into a skid. This could cause other drivers to slam on *their* brakes, causing actual skids and accidents.

Other issues:

A person with spinning rims who hits the brakes is going to look like they haven't, possibly causing other cars to try to scramble out of their way.

A person with spinning rims pulling up to a red light is going to look like they aren't slowing down and are going to run the light, potentially causing people going through the intersection to lose their nerve and slam on the breaks, which could possibly get them rear-ended.

A person with spinning rims who's sitting at an intersection is going to look like they're accelerating, which could cause someone looking at them to pull out in to a closed intersection and get t-boned.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:12 AM on January 27, 2005

whoops, hit post instead of preview!

The other day I was at a gas station and I thought there was an earthquake. It wasn't, it was a guy pulling up in his Ford Subdivision to get gas. He was blaring 50 Cents on his 200,00 17" woofers in the back. He had his spinners on his behomoth and filled it up. I cleaned out my Civic before I went into pay and he got in line before me. When he got up there, he whipped out a credit card. Declined. Whipped out credit card #2. Declined. Pulled out his wallet and said all he had was a 5 dollar bill (the gas attendant was not amused...nor were the people impatiently waiting behind him). He ran out to his vehicle to see if he could find more money. When I paid and walked back to my car, I saw him clinking around pennies and dimes trying to equal up 30-40+ dollars that he had to pay in gas.

posted by Hands of Manos at 8:14 AM on January 27, 2005

If it is saftey, then hanging things from the mirror would be an unsafe practice - time for a law!

I have gotten warning tickets for this in Illinois! I was driving back from college and I had my IU parking permit hanging from my mirror and I got stopped for speeding. In addition to that ticket, I got a warning ticket for the parking permit...the officer said that it was obstructing the view from the windshield. (It was your standard-size parking permit, around the size of this one. Nothing too humongous!)
posted by SisterHavana at 8:24 AM on January 27, 2005

Iowa, schmiowa. Some nutjob in Oklahoma wants to resurrect cockfighting by putting tiny little boxing gloves on roosters. I think he was waiting until Dave Barry retired to trot that one out.
posted by trondant at 8:25 AM on January 27, 2005

I agree that the spinner wheels are stupid looking and that this is a stupid idea to outlaw them. He might have a point about the not knowing if they're slowing down or not but I think its a pretty weak argument.

People are far more distracted by cell phones, radios, kids in the back seat and trying to look cool.

I live in a neighborhood where the thumpier your stereo is the cooler you are. And the lower your brand new Escalade is, the cooler you are. I hate my neighborhood, especially when the fucktards think its cool to sit outside the houses and thump their stereos loud enough to rattle pictures on my walls.

The thumper stereos should be outlawed before spinner wheels get outlawed.
posted by fenriq at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2005

If it is safety, then hanging things from the mirror would be an unsafe practice - time for a law!

Actually, in Minnesota, there is a law. Or so says that cop who pulled the lady and I over in December. I can't seem to find anything on the net that suggest that such a law exists though, so now I wonder if the cop made it up as an excuse for pulling us over. He didn't give us a ticket though, so no harm I guess.
posted by panoptican at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2005

They spinning nigga, they spinning!
posted by orange clock at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2005

There is also an attempt being made to pass a similar law in Virginia.
posted by mhaw at 8:38 AM on January 27, 2005

Aren't they called sprewells?
posted by drezdn at 8:48 AM on January 27, 2005

A simple solution: embed the spinners with flashing LEDs which, while spinning, spell out SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.

That'll get The Man off your back.
posted by BoringPostcards at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2005

I think that outlawing these will definitely reduce their popularity with the youths.
posted by Capn at 9:02 AM on January 27, 2005

If it is saftey, then hanging things from the mirror would be an unsafe practice - time for a law!

That is actually illegal in many places, including VA as it blocks your view.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:03 AM on January 27, 2005

If it is safety, then hanging things from the mirror would be an unsafe practice - time for a law!

Um. We have that law in Illinois. No fuzzy dice for you, and yes they expect you to take down your parking permit when you drive and re-hang it when you park. Tho I've only seen people get hassled for fuzzy dice and the like, they tend to overlook parking tags.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:08 AM on January 27, 2005

I'd agree that it's thrown me from time to time, seeing those out of the corner of my eye, and my brain interpreting it as a car moving when it was not (or at a different rte of speed).

In my case, never been a safety issue, but I can absolutely see where every once in a while it leads to an accident, unlike harmless things like neon lights, etc.. So yeah, let's ditch 'em.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:10 AM on January 27, 2005

It's a tough choice. A stupid pointless law that will be used to harass people, or allowing spinners. I have no real safety issues with them-- I just kind of hate them.

Limiting the size of SUVs would do a lot more for safety, but it's easier to look around that elephant.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2005

especially when the fucktards think its cool to sit outside the houses and thump their stereos loud enough to rattle pictures on my walls.

fenriq you should check with your local Police, but in many places that constitutes a noise violation and they can be ticketed. It's not something the police are going to patrol for, but you can call it in, just like when those darn neighbors are having a loud party.

on spell check, it suggests fucktards should be buckboards..
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:13 AM on January 27, 2005

(It was your standard-size parking permit, around the size of this one. Nothing too humongous!)

Did you notice on that parking tag it says, "Remove before vehicle is in motion"? :)
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:19 AM on January 27, 2005

I can tell someone is walking without looking at their feet. What's the point of all these arguments about people who aren't paying attention to traffic signals or the road in front of them? Maybe we should outlaw moonwalking too. This is one of those attempts to punish everyone for the stupidity of a few.

Why don't they just demonstrate some honesty and say they want to outlaw them to keep the blacks and the wigga's out of their town; the latter not being such a bad idea perhaps.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:21 AM on January 27, 2005

This law actually makes sense..

I rode motorcycles for 25 years, and learned that the BEST way to tell if a car was about to pull out of a side street in front of me was to watch the rims of the car.
The law is a good idea...
posted by HuronBob at 9:30 AM on January 27, 2005

I haven't seen a vehicle on the road with spinners in the UK yet, but I did see a few on display at a recent motorshow. I made a comment to a friend about the (remote) possibility that a curious child could stick a finger in the still spinning blades of a recently parked car. The words were barely out of my mouth before a small boy walked up and did exactly that on a display wheel. Luckily the blades were moving pretty slowly so hopefully he didn't hurt himself too much (he ran off, lower lip quivering).
posted by Edame at 9:46 AM on January 27, 2005

MrBobaFett, if you removed the tag before the vehicle is in motion, you would get a parking ticket!

(think about it for a second...) :-)
posted by shepd at 9:58 AM on January 27, 2005

I don't understand why people are allowed to darkly tint all windows on a vehicle (except the front windshield). Being able to see through the windows of a car can be important to other drivers' safety and I would think law enforcement hates not being able to easily see into a car. This seems at least as important as spinners to me
posted by metoo at 10:03 AM on January 27, 2005

metoo - In California you can't tint the front passenger and driver's side windows. (You can still tint the rear windows - both sides and rear windshield). I brought a car in from out of state and got a warning on that. THe real reason is that when police pull you over they want to be able to see inside and know that you're not doing something stupid (pulling a gun, trying to run, etc).
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2005


I live in a similar neighborhood. Some things you should know (from what I was told by the Police Chief in my area)

911 - you pay for it, you use it not for just emergencies but to contact the police immediately. It's a dispatch.

When calling about a noise disturbance, make sure to request that the officer stops by your house (this puts it as a priority).

Document who's house, car, car tag (if you can get it) as so they can pinpoint the exact location of the disturbance

Videotape/snapshot the noise offender as well

If, for any reason, the cop dismisses you and/or thinks your request is silly, call the commander in chief. you pay their salaries and "protect and serve" is not there to look pretty.

Do not let up and keep calling. We had a lot of gang influence/noise problems/prostitution in our area...I stayed on the cops for every little thing and my neighborhood cleaned up considerably. We still have problems, but at least I'm not hearing gunshots ring out every week now.
posted by Hands of Manos at 10:47 AM on January 27, 2005

huronbob beat me to it.

motorcycle safety classes teach to look at rims. it works really well; the rotational motion is more obvious than a creeping bumper.

don't know if that alone is worth outlawing them, but it's not an insane argument or (necessarily) a cover for racism or classism.

and fenriq, noise statutes particular to vehicles already exist. one of my roomates in college was family friends with a LEO and had stories about the vehicles that had been ticketed for being heard 2 blocks over. i believe the LA law is that audible from 50' of the car is ticketable.
posted by flaterik at 10:53 AM on January 27, 2005

They can pry my bling from my cold, dead hands.

Just kidding. I don't have enough money to put gas in my car, much less completely useless, gaudy rims.

panoptican: I think the law here specifically regards things hanging down past the bottom of your rear-view mirror by more than a few centimeters or something. Which was a really fun thing to point out to school officials back in high school when they made us hang parking permits from our rearviews or get booted. But, y'know, it's not like most cops will pull you over for that specifically. It's one of those convenient excuse laws.
posted by baphomet at 11:15 AM on January 27, 2005

Stupid idea.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:19 AM on January 27, 2005

People with spinners should be shot dead on the spot.

Those fucktards make it very dangerous for those of us on motorcycles: we rely on wheel-checks to predict what a driver is about to do. When the wheels appear to be rolling fast, we have to quickly choose how to deal with the threat: if it looks like we need to make a significant defensive move, we are put at high risk.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:32 AM on January 27, 2005

Thanks to you folks who reminded me about the noise violation codes.

And, as a long time biker myself, I don't look at a car's rims as an indicator of its future intentions. I look at the driver and presume that they're going to do the absolutely most dangerous thing possible as I get near them.

I do think these things are called SpreeWheels or something like that. Whoever suggested incorporating LED's to spell Save Our Troops or whatever is onto something. Whoever is whatever enough to buy the rims would love to be able to put a rolling billboard on his wheels too.

And yes, most would probably have "They spinnin', nigga, they spinnin'" as noted above.
posted by fenriq at 12:57 PM on January 27, 2005

put a rolling billboard on his wheels too.

i've seen lots of taxis that do exactly that.

instead of continuing to spin after the vehicle stops, their inverse spinners just always stay upright. and, of course, they have ads on them.
posted by flaterik at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2005

I didn't realize that they taught motorcyclists to look at rims to discern vehicle movement. As a long time urban bicyclist, I have to agree with fenriq - I look at the driver and presume that they're going to do the absolutely most dangerous thing possible as I get near them.
posted by fixedgear at 1:43 PM on January 27, 2005

fixedgear & fenriq - they teach that, too.
posted by flaterik at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2005

These wheels, they spin?
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 2:14 PM on January 27, 2005

I can't see this as a safety issue. If anything wouldn't it prevent accidents? Afterall you're thinking the vehicle is in motion when it's not; not the other way around. And if you can't handle a stop without falling off the road maybe you should just turn in license now.

This is all about the harassment. It's like the brain dead law they are ticketing ricers with here in Alberta: You can't modify a muffler tip to make it larger. Note that it doesn't matter how quiet the muffler is (tips have little impact on noise level unless they are resonators). And replacing a factory muffler with a 1.5 outlet with a 3" flowmaster 40 (A loud free flowing muffler) is legal because you haven't modified the muffler. But heaven forbid hack off the 1.5" outlet on the factory muffler and replace it with a coffee can. Can you think of anything more idiotic?

On the whole looking at the wheels thing, Canadians heard the same whining and moaning when daytime running lights were made mandatory, "I won't be able to see which way cars are turning because the DRL will obscure my view of the wheels" and some how we managed to avoid wide spread carnage.

On the tint thing, states like Arizona allow you to tint everything but the windshield to a reasonable level. Something like 35% transmittance. Reason: to avoid baking occupants like a chicken under the sun. Wide spread air conditioning in cars is fairly recent and won't protect you from a nasty sun burn.
posted by Mitheral at 7:22 AM on January 28, 2005

Have you encountered the spinners, Mitheral?

I have. Damn near caused me an accident, because it sure as hell looked like the asshole was coming through the red light.

Good drivers "read the wheels" to know what the vehicle is up to. Looking at the driver can give you all sorts of information, but in the end it comes down to what the vehicle is doing. Drivers lie, looking one way and going another, etc. Wheels do not lie.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2005

These wheels, they spin?

This cliche, it's dumb?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:42 AM on January 29, 2005

You're making a mistake if you rely only on wheel movement to decide if a car is moving.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:44 AM on January 29, 2005

I have been through drivers' training for both cars and motorcycles. In both classes they emphasize the importance of looking at the wheels to know what the car is doing.

Yes, you also look at the driver, and you look at other vehicles, and all that jazz, but the fact remains: the only 100% proof is with the wheels. If they are not moving, the car is not moving.

Spinners eliminate this important bit of driver interface. They are stupid and they are dangerous, and they are so absolutely unnecessary that they need not exist.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 AM on January 29, 2005

It's difficult for me to get behind the idea that necessity
dictates whether something is worthy of existance. Lots of things like HI-DEF TVs, the NFL, expensive wine, sport fishing have very lilttle value in some realm of pure necessity, but i hardly would endorse eliminating their existance. Why, i would wager the NFL hurts plenty more people than accidents caused by fancy hubcaps and i think football is still legal in Iowa.

Spinners are fairly popular where i live and i read my local newspaper every day. A spinner related accident would have surely been printed because it has a lot of qualities that modern journalist covet. (racial overtones and the such.) I've never read anything about it happening.

Ultimately, though, urban fads seem to change and evolve so quickly that all of your spinner problems will be gone soon enough.
posted by firemouth at 2:23 PM on January 29, 2005

The wheels are considered cool for the exact same reason that they're dangerous: they produce an optical illusion. People who don't see this as a safety issue clearly have different driving habits than those who do. Maybe you have superhuman depth/movement perception or maybe you just drive an H2 and don't worry, but bicyclists and motorcyclists absolutely do need to use every single bit of information they can gleam in the fractions of a second where they need to decide whether to: a) slam on their brakes and do a wheel stand or land on their face to avoid a worse fate, b) swerve into another, possibly occupied lane to reduce the chance of a collision away from immanent to unknown, or c) decide that the chump asshole is just another modder with tinted windows and rotating rims.

THESE DECISIONS ARE MADE IN FRACTIONS OF A SECOND AND MOSTLY BY REFLEX. By the time I retrain my reflexes to account for these fucktards, I may already be seriously injured or worse.

There is no freedom of expression with regards to automobiles. The State allows you use of its roadways at its own whim and if you drive a car you've already submitted to a ton of arbitrary and extreme reductions of your freedom already. Automobiles are the number one cause of accidental death in America. If you're young and healthy and die today, odds are that it was because of a car. The people who are arguing that this is a negligable safety issue seem to me to be in denial of exactly how quickly their own routine commute may become deadly.
posted by Skwirl at 3:37 PM on January 29, 2005

look, i know this thread has petered out but i've got to vent this thought. Motorcyclist who are supporting the anti-spinner law are missing a point. If motorcycling requires such incredibly detailed and focused driving just to remain safe, then maybe motorcyclist are the problem, not rims.

Or are motorcycles too important to your self-image to sacrifice-JUST LIKE spinners are important to some other persons self-image.(even if you can't identify)

I mean, after all, if pure road safety was our true goal, then Festivas would no longer fear Hummers or Expeditions. We all make decisions to indulge the things we like and, sometimes, there may be some public cost. The roads of America have always been a vehicle for our self-indulgence.
posted by firemouth at 10:05 PM on January 29, 2005

Don't be stupid. The looking-at-wheels defensive driving technique also applies to car drivers, bicyclists, and even pedestrians.

That there are people who are so selfish as to think their "right" to gewgaws is more important than others' right to increased safety is pretty damn scary.

There are plenty of rules dictating what is and is not acceptable: new vehicles must have a centre-high brake light, must have daytime running lights, must not have blackened windows: all things that are dictated to improve others' safety, not the owner's.

Spinners are another aspect well worth regulating: they destroy an essential element of defensive driving technique.

Pull your head out of your ass and recognize that it's not always about your ego.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2005

White cars are tough to see in the winter.

Perhaps they should be illegal?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 3:54 PM on January 30, 2005

Oh sweet jesus.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:01 PM on January 30, 2005

chill out five fresh fish. I could understand that kind of angry passion if your mama died in a spinner wreck, but otherwise, don't be so viscious. We can disagree without insulting. However, I wonder how many people utilize this important bastion of defensive driving. A informal poll of a dozen of my friends exposed exactly zero wheel watchers. (byclists included) I'm sure there are lots of you out there. But cross-referenced with the number of spinner enthusiast and cross-referenced with the number of accident ripe scenarios involving both driver types, I can't see this being the ticking safety time bomb you describe.
posted by firemouth at 8:11 PM on January 30, 2005

As a cyclists, I too use wheel movement to decide if a vehicle is moving. I look at the rubber though, not the rim.

It's not the only tool I use. I also look at the body of the car. It's fairly easy that way to tell if a 2000 pound vehicle is in motion.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:37 AM on January 31, 2005

They're so ubiquitous now I can't imagine there's that many people that haven't seen them.

I haven't. I heard about them about a year ago, though, and have been keeping my eyes peeled ever since. I realize that they probably look tacky as hell, but I'm just curious, damnit. I want to see!
posted by rafter at 8:41 AM on January 31, 2005

...don't be so viscious.

I consider spinners a significant threat to my ability to drive defensively. Of course I'm going to have a strong opinion about them.

A survey of your friends, who are unlikely to have taken defensive driver courses, let alone motorcycle driver courses, is moot: if they are not looking at wheels to quickly and accurately determine when a car is nudging forward, they are not practicing best defensive driving techniques.

When it comes to automobile safety we should not bow to the lowest common denominator.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on January 31, 2005

The fastest way to get rid of these things is to have old white people use them. So that's your goal for the year, old white people: get spinning rims for your car. Also, please buy giant speakers for your car and blast the top ten here. (Especially you deaf folk out there -- no loss to you.) You could redo your Winnebagos. With any luck, the current users of these annoyances will sell their cars and swear off driving before the year's out. Then you can donate your spinning rims and car stereos to people in a country you hate.

Maybe the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation could be talked into helping with this.
posted by pracowity at 11:11 AM on January 31, 2005

one more question then i'm out of the hubcap conversation. if spinners are deadly, then why has it taken Iowa to realize this. places like ny and la must be five years ahead of Iowa spinnerwise and spinner density must be considerably greater, yet no similar legislation has been passed. I remain firmly unconvinced.

As for the art of the pedestrian, I consider myself an ordained ninja. Years of walking 3 miles to work nearly everyday through morning rush hour in a densely populated urban center have honed my car predicting skills to a fine and deadly sheen. But never have I used the Wheel Watching Method. That may change now, of course. I don't walk quite as much, but when I do, I'll give your method a spin (as they say). What bitter poetic justice if i fall victim to THE DEADLY SPINNER.
posted by firemouth at 4:20 PM on January 31, 2005

DISCLAIMER: I myself think spinners are incredibly tacky and vulger. I snicker smart-assedly to myself when i spot them. But everyone remembers that old warning first, they came for spinning hubcaps, i didn't like them so i remained silent...
posted by firemouth at 4:26 PM on January 31, 2005

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