The Dangers of Velocipedes (1869)

The Dangers of Velocipedes

Although the bicycle, or two wheeled velocipede, may be a very pleasant and agreeable mode of travelling, it cannot be denied that there is considerable danger attendant on its use, particularly in the more crowded thoroughfares. Whilst the rage for these machines is still at its height, and after affecting Paris, America, London and other places, has now travelled to the provinces and whilst the number in use in Birmingham and vicinity is daily increasing, it may not be inopportune to draw special attention to an accident which happened in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon to a rider on a velocipede. A gentleman proceeded down Key Hill on a bicycle, at a moderately quick pace, and at the bottom of the hill a brougham came at ordinary speed along Icknield Street, in a direction therefore at right angles with that in which the bicycle was travelling. The velocipede and the brougham almost met and the rider of the former, seeing it was impossible to pass behind the vehicle, turned the wheel of the machine so as to cross in front. Instead of obeying the attention of the rider, the velocipede turned completely over, just before the horse’s feet. The driver of the brougham did all in his power to turn aside, but was powerless to prevent the horse and carriage from going over the unfortunate velocipedestrian. The wheel of the carriage went over his shoulder and inflicted serious injuries and it was by little short of a miracle that he was not killed. The occupant of the carriage, a lady, kindly gave up her place to the injured man and he was conveyed to the General Hospital. During the week, several people have been slightly injured by falls and bruises, sustained whilst riding on bicycles.

Birmingham Daily Post, May 17, 1869

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