Product: Countermeasure
Cactus Traffic Stoppers   (+16, -1)  [vote for, against]
Did that cactus just ...

Watching the news the other night (as I do sometimes) I noticed that car chases along our usually calm highways seems to be on the increase. And seeing as how I now live in a large desert, there seems to be no shortage of spiny, intimidating vegitation just a few feet away from the roadway -

Introducing the cactus traffic stopper. The large saguaro cactus, standing tall and majestic, casting their shadows along the roadway - and now an on-demand spike strip!

In the event of a pursuit on the highway, or an ordinary city street, a police dispacher or police supervisor can call-in a remote spike-strip from these strategicly placed, spiny behemoths. Fake, of course, the cactus would fall into the path of a renegade car as if felled by an expert lumberjack (or cactusjack depending on your region). Hinges and remotely activated locks direct the falling cactus as to be the most effective. Varying height cacti can be used to cover different sections of the roadway. The taller the cactus, the more lanes of coverage. The smaller, the fewer lanes it'll cover.

By giving the cactus an easily replaceable, weather-proof skin, criminals won't be able to tell which piece of natural scenery could tumble into the road and stop their daring dash from 'ol Johnny Law.
-- Letsbuildafort, Jan 09 2005

cactiStop ~bz [bristolz, Jan 13 2005, last modified Jun 28 2005]

The mighty Seguaro Cactus http://www.desertus...y96/du_saguaro.html
MMmmm - spiny. [Letsbuildafort, Jan 09 2005]

The spine is mightier than the Ford http://half_crazy.t...elcome/welcome.html
From the back of the postcard: "The saguaro cactus, found in the deserts of Arizona, can weigh approximately 100 pounds per foot. This cactus weighed 10,000 pounds." [half, Jan 10 2005]

(?) Speaking of the desert... http://half_crazy.t.../hb/Conference.html
Lovely desert scenery background, shadowy figure foreground [half, Jan 10 2005]

Hear a sample of "Saguaro" by "The Austin Lounge Lizards"
The killer cactus story set to music. [half, Jan 13 2005]

even funnier in Tooting, S London.
-- po, Jan 09 2005

welcome back Lbaf, cute idea. and here's a pedantic moment for you;

"With an easily replaceable, weather-proof skin, the criminals won't be able to ... "

the criminals have easily replaceable skin? no wonder they don't get caught.
-- dentworth, Jan 09 2005

Yeah, criminals are too busy looking over their shoulders to pay attention to subtle differences.
-- reensure, Jan 09 2005

Sure why not. Welcome back.
-- sartep, Jan 09 2005

Thanks [dent] for keeping me on the straight and narrow.
-- Letsbuildafort, Jan 10 2005

cactuses for all. (+)
-- neilp, Jan 10 2005

Careful with your timing, those babies really can stop traffic (link).
-- half, Jan 10 2005

sooo cute!
-- po, Jan 10 2005

Awesome idea. +
-- phundug, Jan 10 2005

Awesom pics, [half]!
-- Letsbuildafort, Jan 12 2005

Ouch! My cousin pushed me onto a smallish cactus garden when I was a wee child. I had scrapes and cuts that made me look like I'd gone through a shredder. Still have cactus phobia. That sure as hell would make me stop, even if I was running from the law. [+]
-- Machiavelli, Jan 12 2005

I don't understand this but I like it anyway. Cacti are indeed painful. Am I right in thinking you have chosen cacti so as to disguise these traps as part of the background scenery? Or do you just really really like cactuses?
-- pooduck, Jan 12 2005

A little of both, actually, [pod].
-- Letsbuildafort, Jan 13 2005

<aside-ish> Isn't saguaro theft a problem now? I thought I read something about that. The thing is, at 100lbs/ft the things must be awfully hard to steal (not to mention the built-in spikes).
-- bristolz, Jan 13 2005

It was a problem for a while, though I haven't heard much of it lately.

They're suprisingly easy to steal, er-um, transport with the right equipment. They have a very shallow root system. There are trucks specially equipped with a thing like a medical stretcher/litter or maybe a cot, often covered in regular old residential carpet to minimize damage to the cactus and the handler. This cot/stretcher can tilt up, parallel to the cactus. Carpet is wrapped around the cactus, the stretcher is tilted up and the wrapped cactus is strapped to it. A little digging around the base of the cactus frees it to be tilted down on to the truck and hauled away. At least that's the way I'd steal them...
-- half, Jan 13 2005

Sounds like a complicated way of stealing a cactus. But my question is, why do people steal cacti?
-- Machiavelli, Jan 13 2005

Landscape elements. I know that I'd love to have a looming saguaro in my yard were it a bit more southerly.

Thanks for the detailed theft description [half]. You tell it as though from experience.
-- bristolz, Jan 13 2005

Clever signuaro, Ms bris.
-- FarmerJohn, Jan 13 2005

Indeed, [bris] - thanks for the illustration!
-- Letsbuildafort, Jan 14 2005

Great concept, but I have this fear that some authority might get the idea to rig up a radar gun to some sort of cactus-tipping device a little ways down the road. Then every time a car goes by too fast, the offending driver finds a prostrate saguaro in his path.
-- millionthMonkeyTyping, Jan 14 2005

random, halfbakery