Coachdrivers – Annoyed at bicyclists exercising themselves on the road (1876)

At Marlborough-street yesterday, Mr. Gee, hon. Secretary to the Bicycle Club, 17 Green- street, Leicester square, applied to Mr. Newton for advice. On Saturday afternoon he and several members the club, mounted on bicycles, were on the way to a race. Near the Welsh Harp, at Hendon, they came upon a stage coach, understood to be the St. Albans coach, on the outside of which there were a number of gentlemen passengers. One of them, who had evidently prepared himself beforehand for mischief, was armed with an iron ball attached to a rope. This person swung the ball with the object of catching the wheel of complainant’s bicycle and overturning it. By manoeuvring he contrived to escape the peril, but was lashed over the shoulders by the driver of the coach. Mr. Mitchell, of 7 Nelson Terrace, City Road, a member of the club, stated that he was one of the party of bicyclists, but was not so fortunate as Mr. Gee. The ball was again swung by the gentleman of the coach; it caught the wheel of the bicycle and overturned it, throwing him violently to the ground. He was dragged some distance before the rope gave way; his clothes were torn and his leg was injured. This occurrence provoked laughter from the coach passengers. Mr. Gee stated that the coach, which drove on, was followed and stopped at Edgeware. A constable was applied to, but he declined to take into custody the person pointed out – stated to be a relative of the proprietor of the coach – as he did not see the offence committed, and no marks of violence were visible. The iron ball was here produced. It weighed apparently about five or six pounds and was calculated, if it came into contact with a limb, to fracture the bone. The only conjecture for this outrage was that the coach people felt annoyed at bicyclists exercising themselves on the road. Mr. Newton said the only advise  he could give, presuming the facts were as stated, was for the person who had been thrown down to bring an action for injuries and damages sustained and for the secretary, who had been whipped, to apply for a summons to the local authorities and then the matter could be properly investigated. The applicants thanked the magistrate and promised to act on his advice.

(The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Aug 30, 1876; pg. 9)

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