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Deathtrap of the day: “Devils Broom”

October 30, 2006

Part of my job at the Lancaster New Era is posting our stories to the Web as they arrive in the newsroom. But a fun side job I do is scanning the Web for unique story ideas for our reporters.

Kite TubeMonths ago, I alerted our outdoors writer Ad Crable about the Wego Kite Tube and its increasing popularity on area waterways. This inflatable toy is dragged by a speedboat (like a water skier) and rises into the air gracefully like a kite when it gets to a good speed.

Unfortunately, it often doesn’t come down so gracefully.

Days after I mention that the toy was involved in several deaths and severe injuries nationwide, the Kite Tube was recalled. But not before some scary videos made it to YouTube.

Now today, as I’m scanning the news wires, I come across a picture of this device, called the “Devil’s Broom.” This device screams “accident waiting to happen.”

TThe Devil's Broom (AP)his photo from the Associated Press is captioned as such:

10-year old Julian Danner rides his “devils-broom”, a motor-assisted gear for inliners and skateboarders, prior to the opening of the international fair for practical inventions “IENA 2006” in Nuremberg, southern Germany, Monday, Oct. 30, 2006.

Asking Bernard Harris, our resident newsroom “bicycologist,” for his thoughts on this latest wonder, he said it would never fly here in Pennsylvania, due to laws about motor vehicles on streets. Since this unicycle from hell utilizes a gas motor, it would likely need licensed. Good call. Those same rules stopped the proliferation of Segway scooter gangs here!

So, since this is likely just a prototype from the mind of 10-year-old Danner, I give him points for ingenuity, but deduct points for safety (and no knee and elbow pads!!!). Though if the “Broom” does make the States, can you picture all the hilarious crotch-injury videos that YouTube will feature involving Broom riders?


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