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Then they came for the doorknobs

Then they came for the doorknobs

You’ll have to take my doorknob from my cold, dead hand.

There is nothing too small to regulate. Or ban.

Enter the doorknob, about to be banned in all new construction in Vancouver because … why do you hate old people and those who have hand or arm disabilities?

The Vancouver Sun reports:

In Vancouver, the doorknob is heading into a setting sun. Its future has been date-marked, legislated out of existence in all future construction, a tip to society’s quest for universal design and the easier-to-use lever handle.

And as it goes in Vancouver, so will it go in B.C., Canada, and perhaps even the world…..

And, as doorknobs go, so too will go those other ubiquitous knobs, the ones that turn on and off water faucets. For they too are being legislatively upgraded to levers more conducive to the arthritic, gnarled or weakened hands we earn with age.

In September, Vancouver council adopted new amendments to its building code, effective next March, that, among other things, will require lever handles on all doors and lever faucets in all new housing construction.

A columnist at Popular Science is quite pleased (via Memeorandum):

In Vancouver, the humble doorknob is being phased out. Kind of. Effective in March, new housing will be required to install levers on doors and faucets, instead of the good-ol’ round knobs of our forefathers.

Cue: libertarian cries of government overreach and nanny-state-ism and evil G-men in suits entering homes and stealing all of our doorknobs despite our constitutional right to them. Fine. But anyone against the idea might feel differently when they’re pushing 80.

The idea behind Vancouver’s decision is that, despite being of a more vintage grade than levers, doorknobs kind of suck. Ergonomics studies investigating different types of water-dispersing mechanisms have shown that lever-style faucets are far preferable to their knob counterparts. (Yes, there are studies for everything.) Knobs, you see, involve pronating and supinating your wrist, (stretching it, basically) which is less fun for everyone, but probably won’t make you run out and immediately and switch to levers. Maybe you like your nice art deco knobs.

Unless, that is, you’re elderly. You get older, maybe you get arthritis, and this doorknob-to-lever issue stops being academic.

I suppose that wanting to keep doorknobs is ageist.


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The columnist at Popular (non)Science* knows where he can put his levers. On businesses, apartments and condos the State/City might be able to justify such a ban. Telling Me I can’t put them in my house is definitely going too far.
I suspect the “writer” at Poplar (non)Science* would accept it if the State selected the model of faucet and door knobs.
He probably wouldn’t object if the State required a copy of the key. Just to aid the Fire Department or EMS in an emergency. Who could object to that? It’s for your own good. I’m sure the State would never misuse said key.

*Endorsement of a “Consensus” view of science(AGW) places the rag in the non-science category.

    Hanahan in reply to genes. | November 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    They’ve been telling us what to put in our homes for quite some times now. Magic toilets, light bulbs, and central hvac systems just to name a few building products that our nanny state over-regulates.

I despair for Canada. It’s like Seattle writ large. When did a country full of bold individualists, living in the challenging climate of the north, turn into panty-waisted socialists and nanny staters, compelling conformity from all to the approved social norms? I’d say “God help them”, but I’m sure He has been ruled off-limits in polite company.

    It seems to be an inevitable consequence of civilization. Specifically, a behavioral change engendered by dissociation of risk. I would compare it to the spoiled child syndrome. This is why welfare is so detrimental to human development.

    As for rejection of social norms, they refer to that phenomenon as progressive morality. They do not, however, qualify its boundaries, which implies it is simply monotonic change. So, if we were to observe the direction it has followed, we can conclude that it is a degenerative order.

legacyrepublican | November 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

This madness will soon conclude with a vote on becoming unhinged.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to legacyrepublican. | November 21, 2013 at 10:15 am

    That’s the next on their agenda!

    Unhinging all the door hinges I mean!

    Banning Door Hinges is next, then banning doors, and then banning….

    Those sociopath leftists are eternal malcontents!

Oh, wow. What a nice present for manufacturers. By banning a common type of fixture, it can, at a stroke, require people to change out their entire house instead of a single knob as soon as something breaks.

Follow the money. This is motivated by money. Altruism has nothing to do with it.

First they came for round door knobs, but I remained silent because I had lever-style door knobs.

9thDistrictNeighbor | November 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

The price of architectural salvage is about to go sky high, like so many other decent things on which progressives lay their boney little hands.

One of the earliest infringements on choice was the law requiring seat belts. After that, anything became possible. Thanks Ralph Nader.

you mean the levers that hook around belt loops causing me to fall?
thanks a**holes

    Old0311 in reply to dmacleo. | November 21, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Belt loops are the real danger. If a person is wearing a belt it could be to hold up his or her holster. If Zimmerman hadn’t had belt loops, poor innocent Trayboma would still be alive. J/K

    A_Nonny_Mouse in reply to dmacleo. | November 22, 2013 at 1:20 am

    No joke. The daggone things also “grab” gaping coat sleeves or coat pockets as you’re hurrying through the door before the bags of groceries slip. . . Believe me, THAT causes an abrupt stop (and some intensely colorful language)!

Ergonomic studies also suggest politicians are more effective when they pull their heads out of their a$$es

    TPHobbit in reply to mrzee. | November 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Reminds me of a great bumper sticker I saw in the professor’s and my city of residence, the People’s Republic of Ithaca. It read: “Your proctologist called. He found your head.” Probably thinking of the local public officials or, perhaps, the residents who vote them in

one way to stave off the effects of aging and arthritis is to exercise. i do hand exercises to stay limber and elimnate pain. the arthiritis in my “bird” finger is most acute. probably from overuse. lol so here’s the “fickle finger of fate award” to you canada.

We have the same “ban” here in the states due to the ADA.

Levers and any variation of levers are obvious phallic symbols. This is another move by the hetero-normal patriarchal privileged to impose the male superiority model on society.

Amanda Marcott, where are you?

How long before Obo the Clown campaigns : If you like your knobs, you can keep your knobs! The Affordable Levers Act won’t take away your knobs.

Thanks BC. I just got my next business – used doorknobs sold out of the trunk of my car.

No delivery. You have to come here to buy them. I ain’t no smuggler. 🙂

I’m surprised this seems to be restricted to Canada. The folks in Ithaca must be so jealous! And San Francisco. And and and … How long can it be before Obama issues an executive order making this a requirement nation wide?

Hey! I just realized. This is a huge step forward! Now, instead of saying, “It’s for the children” we can say, “It’s for the old folks!” Between the two, we can legislate ANYTHING. (As long as John Roberts can pretend it’s a tax)

Luddites, all of you. Technological advance needn’t always mean some incomprehensively complex mass of motherboards doing things only the engineers understand. No, even basic items could benefit from redesign. The door itself is essentially reduced to its simplest form, but the doorknob could well use some rethinking. Sticking with this reinventing the wheel theme, I have suggestions for the world-leading Canadian applied physicists and engineers:

1. Floors work well, keep them flat and between the walls and all that, but to benefit senior citizens and other victimized groups, let’s make floors higher so you don’t have to bend over so far to pick shit up.

2. Ceilings. Same thing in reverse. Aren’t they too high? Lower ceilings so grandpa doesn’t bust a nut falling off the three-step ladder we got him for Christmas while he’s just trying to change a freakin’ light bulb.

BONUS: Having raised floors and lowered ceilings, you will have minimized the space requiring heating or air conditioning, thereby helping to save the planet from global warming, a problem that is particularly acute in, um, Canada.

3. Silverware. Fork. Knife. Spoon. We’re all familiar with them, take them for granted even, but do they function as well as they could? Not one of the three has so much as a moving part! I don’t see why designers cannot combine the three functions into one, adding some bells and whistles to drag these archaic dining tools into the 21st century. (RE: Redesigning a fork to have moving parts, please consult the US Federal Government. Which branch? Any branch.).

4. Trash Cans (Kitchen/home, office, etc.). Examine the contents of, oh, a kitchen trash can. Among the usual detritus, see how many empty containers there are? What do they all have in common? THEY ARE FULL OF PERFECTLY GOOD, CLEAN, BREATHABLE AIR. How many cubic feet of badly needed clean, breathable air are being cast out like trash every day? No, we need someone to design a trash can with a container crusher on top or maybe on the side, or both actually. Ergonomically sound, of course. Maybe then we can ALL breath a little easier.

5. Steering Wheels. Why round?

You can see where to take this perfectly well yourselves – if you’d all just take off the Luddite blinders and open your damned minds.


This, among other reasons of encroachment, is why I am moving to Mars next spring unless, of course, I am called to Vancouver to be a doorknob navigator/supervisor/inspector ala Lois Lerner & ala Kathleen Sebelius. There I can leverage my years of experience with door handles. Leverage everything.

There should be a lever on Obamacare so that we can flush it.

MouseTheLuckyDog | November 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm

We are constantly told that we are too obese because we don’t get enough exercise. So what do they do? legislate something that requires we get even less!

You maple syrup swilling fools! Didn’t you see Jurassic Park? Lever handles kill!

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Jay Jones. | November 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Heh. I just got a mental image of dinosaurs going extinct because they couldn’t reach doorknobs with those short little arms.

TrooperJohnSmith | November 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm

The booger-eatin’ socialist, toothless morons in the UK played this card long ago. I think all construction in the UK now must have “latch handles”.

I grew up in Detroit, Fort Street on the river, a quarter mile from the Canadian border. Most Americans have no idea how vicious Canadians can be. Ask Americans from Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota, they’ll tell you the same. Pounding drums all night, raiding parties sent every damn night across the Ambassador Bridge and through the Windsor Tunnel to steal our Stroh’s beer by keg and case. Hiding our man hole covers and barking out till every dog in Detroit is going nuts. Sometimes they’d take women.

I’ve lived in North Carolina for thirty years now, 800 miles from the Canadian border, but to this day I still startle when I see a plaid flannel shirt or tuque on a passing stranger. I can’t go into a pancake house because the smell of maple syrup triggers flashbacks.

The problem is simple: if levers are truly better than knobs, in the long term the market will replace knobs with levers without any government input.

BUT while the government may well be right about levers and knobs, they issue such regulations and mandates on thousands of things every year. In most cases, the rules are at least premature, and very often they end up being proven wrong.

The economic costs of government regulations that misdirect resources are multiples of the savings when a rule proves to be correct.

I can see it now. Some enterprising person will be making Door knob runs to sell them there illegally and make a fortune! That means border patrol agents will have to start looking for those “dangerous illegal” doorknobs at the border. [lol]

BannedbytheGuardian | November 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I have always wanted to do the elbow thing tv docs do to turn off the tap yet I have not come across a suitable lever.

But this has some merit – too many easy to operate lever handles on cupboards & fridges so we are all too fat.

In the name of cost efficiency lets just switch them – levers for doors & difficult to twist knobs for food storage areas. Let’s face it ,if you have arthritis or agility problems you ain’t gonna be a triathlete or high energy combustible sort – so you need far less food.

Clearly no one on the Vancouver council owns a cat. The same is true of the designers of
sink faucets that are activated by touch or motion. But the latter people, at least, are not legislating their stupidity (yet). They are just relying on convincing people that it is “cool”.

So does this mean we will have to start saying they are as dumb as door levers? Not quite the same ring. 🙂

Aunt Clara (Bewitched)will have to go someplace else for her collection, then.

Next, they’ll come for toilet paper: Everyone will have to use fig leaves. Except the president, Congress and certain auto unions.

Tea Party, baby.

I live in an old house which has a thumb actuated lever on the front door. I have arthritis in my thumbs and have to use the heel of my hand to unlatch the door. I say “Ban lever door openers.” Idiots.

Remember the propane tanks???
Overnight, every single propane tank in the country had to be replaced with one sporting an Overfill prevention device.
Even though there was absolutely no way to overfill one of those tanks.
They were required to build them strong enough to withstand more than the vapor pressure of propane to start with.
So…. who got their pockets lined???