BICYCLES – A SUGGESTION
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES
You have lately admitted a good many letters on the subject of bicycles to your columns. Will you give me space to make a suggestion?
Hitherto bicycles have been looked upon by all sorts and conditions of drivers, from the coach to the coster’s cart, as a nuisance; they are not carriages and have no right to the road (so the drivers would appear to think). My suggestion is:
l. That the bicycle or tricycle should be elevated to the position of a carriage (the ‘bike’ has come to stay).
2. That notice of this should be given at every police station and every livery stable in the kingdom.
3. That it should be laid down by the authorities in addition that every bicycle being ridden by a bicyclist is entitled to at least three feet of the road, and that every driver is bound to see that this is allowed.
4. That every bicycle or tricycle be taxed, say sixpence or a shilling a year, and also carry a registered number as in France.
That some such rules are needed all over the country anyone who rides a bicycle knows. I have lately returned from a holiday in North Wales and as one who has both ridden my bicycle for many miles and also been driven on the coach, can testify how little the drivers make room for bicyclists (there are exceptions, of course) and how they seem to take pleasure (and it is by no means confined to the country parts) in seeing with how small a space man and machine can do. Going up a hill one day on a coach, there came down the hill, not a steep one, one man pedalling and another coasting and instead of giving way a little, for there was plenty of room on a broad road, the driver rather drew to the right, leaving precious little room for them, making us say from the top of the coach, “What a shame.”
Were the regulations such as I suggest made and enforced we should hear of fewer accidents and complaints from riders of bicycles.
Yours faithfully, BIKE.
The Times, Wednesday, Oct 24, 1900; pg. 13