Driving tricycles at a speed dangerous to the public (1881)

The conviction at the Hammersmith Police-court the other day of two young gentlemen for driving tricycles at a speed dangerous to the public will serve, we hope, to remind the users of bicycles and tricycles that other passengers have rights on the highway as well as themselves. It may be an open question whether the young gentlemen whom Mr Paget fined 40s each with costs were riding at fifteen miles an hour, as believed by the constable who laid the information against them, or were travelling at only six miles an hour, as alleged by themselves; but of one thing there is no doubt, that the new velocipedes, be they tricycles or bicycles, are often driven at a dangerously high speed and not unfrequently without the rider having either a bell or a bugle. It is no uncommon thing for the foot passengers in the outskirts of our large towns and in the country to be startled by the sudden “whir” of a bicycle which shoots past him at a speed of from ten to sixteen miles an hour, without the slightest warning. The approach is as silent as it is rapid, and its passage is only known by the whirring noise caused by the speed at which it is driven. No one would desire to interfere with the pleasure and the exercise which bicyclists and tricyclists seek by means in themselves so wholly unobjectionable, but it would certainly conduce to the safety of the public and contribute to the tranquillity of nervous people, who, after all, have some rights, if the regulation which was made some time ago as to the use of warning signals of some kind were rigidly enforced, and a more moderate speed was adopted in the suburbs of large towns. It has become the more necessary that a signal or warning bell should be used, from the fact that year by year the use of velocipedes is becoming more and more common. Where there was one a year or two ago there are scores now; and as there is reason to believe that the number will go on increasing, a word of warning, we trust, will not be deemed inopportune.

The Leeds Mercury, October 4, 1881

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