Is this a feature or a bug?


For a number of reasons I’ve taken to riding my bike home after dropping the boys @ school, working, riding back and driving them home on the days when other obligations don’t preclude this.

Yesterday was one of those days.  When I arrive at the school to pick up the boys from aftercare, I just sign them out and then let the counsellors know that I’m going to put my bike on the rack on the van and then drive back over to the pickup location since it usually takes close to 10 minutes to get all 3 of them from wherever they are in the school.

I get to the van, park my bike behind it, take off my helmet and hang it on the handlebars, dig the keys out of my backpack, push the unlock button 3 times so that all doors are unlocked, walk to the driver’s door, throw in my backpack, put the keys on the seat and, leaving the door open, walk back to the back of the van to put the bike on the rack.  Noticing that the helmet is still there I grab it and throw it in the front and, out of habit close the driver’s door.  I walk to the back of the van, turn the bike and just as I’m lifting it onto the rack I hear that sickening click that could only be one thing. Well, it’s only a sickening click when your keys are inside the van.

The van just locked itself.  Out of the blue several minutes after I had unlocked it.  Just as I heard that noise I remembered it doing this to me one time before several years ago.  Luckily for me, that time I was in my driveway with spare keys in the house.  This time, sadly, my keys, phone, wallet, dry clothes! etc… all in the front seat of the now-locked van.

So I had the pleasure of explaining this dilemma to the counselors (who were greatly amused by it), asking to use a phone to call DH who was busy getting fillings or something at the dentist so, of course, he didn’t answer.  We eventually got home after hanging out in the parking lot for over an hour like a family of vagrants.  Not really what I had planned for my evening.

So, I had plenty of time to think about this.  While it would seem (to me, anyway) that this is a malfunction, I suspect this is actually meant to be a feature.  Not sure how I’ve avoided having it happen more than twice in 6years if that is the case. If it is a feature, I do hope current models have an “opt out” switch.   Is it really so inconceivable to the engineers of this that a person might a) unlock their vehicle b) put down their stuff (including keys) and then c) do something else before actually driving away? As a feature, I personally think the hazards outweigh the potential benefit by a significant margin.  In general, I think we can assume that getting locked out of their van is a bigger problem for the average Odyssey driver than unlocking the vehicle and forgetting to lock it back again.

I think the resources spent on incorporating this feature would’ve been better spent on devising some kind of self-cleaning apparatus.  Or maybe a means for me to locate it when I forget where I parked at the mall.  Those things I can use. Locking me out without warning? Not so much.

Now I think I’ll go google the manual for the van and see if there’s a way to disable that.


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