Buy Handmade Wheels Because Robots Kill Jun 19, 2014


I took some liberties with this illustration

In 1920, the Czech play “R.U.R.,” or “Rossum’s Universal Robots,” was written by Karel Čapek. The story followed a manufacturer who makes a race of servants that ended up revolting, killing everyone in their wake. Karel wrote about these sentient beings and first coined the phrase “robot,” which derived from an Old Church Slavonic word for “forced labor.”

Now, it may come as a surprise to you, but over the years, robots have in fact killed many factory workers, worldwide. More often than not, it’s by shear chance, but the facts are there and as robotic technology continues to advance in factories, one debate has risen: “are we signing our fate?”

All this may sound silly, but for some reason, a recent New York Times article tied into a piece I’ve wanted to write about how you should buy handbuilt wheels. Not just to support your local bike shop, but because the more our industry relies on “R.U.R.s”, the less people it employs… Also, robots will kill us all, dude.

It’s just a thought. Click on below for a visual representation of these OSHA-documented robot fatalities and head over to the New York Times for an interesting piece on the robot labor force.


  • Chris Loudermilk

    Unless the zombies kill us all first.

  • Adam Miller
    • Alex Hillis

      They’re definitely the funniest robots.

  • naisemaj

    death by heavy machinery scares the shit out of me!

  • henrilefebvre

    my damn alma mater is the damn church of robots

  • Felix

    the stupidity of a large part of humanity makes me doubt these accidents wouldn’t have happended without robots. (see random fail-video for reference)
    but i will totally buy handmade wheels as soon as i can afford them or at least build them myself.
    uhhm, so is it ok to calculate spoke length with a computer? or do i have to fear intentionally fragile wheels that will kill me on the next descent because my macbook suffers under it’s messy desktop and blames it all on me which totally isn’t true?

    • Adam Miller

      I’m surprised there’s only one meatpacking plant injury/death listed here, because even without robots (and even without people being stupid) they are so, so, so dangerous–which goes without saying, since most of it involves moving quickly, all day long, cutting up animals.

  • I’ve seen one of those Holland wheel machines eat someone and spit ground hamburger out the other end. KILL ROBOTS!

  • Sebastian Kills Francis

    how many more will die from heavy metal ?