Rules of the Road: Detroit in 1900

Harry Sale, Norfolk, VirginiaThere were certainly fewer rules for Detroit cyclists in July 1900. Unlike today, bells and lights were not required on bicycles.

However there was a common speed limit of 12 miles per hour (and 8 MPH around corners.) This speed limit was lower than Grand Rapids (15 MPH) but higher than Chicago’s (10 MPH.) In Des Moines, Iowa the speed limit was “a moderate gait,” which makes one think these limits were originally set for horses.

Given the road conditions in 1900, these speed limits may have been reasonable. The Michigan LAW didn’t seem to take issue with Detroit’s limits.

The League of American Wheelmen (LAW) also made these suggestions.

Wheelmen will find it advantageous as a precaution against arrest to govern themselves in accordance with the following suggestions covering points on which some cities have legislated and others have not

  • Keep to the right
  • Ride no more than two abreast
  • Keep off the sidewalks
  • Move cautiously around corners
  • Ride straight keep your wheel under control sit so you have a clear view of the road and keep at least one hand on the handle bar
  • Before riding on a cycle path, find out whether or not you are entitled to use it without buying a license tag
  • If you collide with another wheelman or a pedestrian, dismount, and if he asks for your name and address, give it

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One Response to “Rules of the Road: Detroit in 1900”

  1. Rail trail mired in legal issues; m-bike.org; Go Bike! ride rescheduled | PedalGR Says:

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