Friday, May 28, 2010

This Day in History May 30, 1896

Bike to Work month is coming to an end and Memorial Day weekend is here. Bicycle advocates celebrate the month of May and the work the League of American Bicyclists has done in bringing national recognition to Bike To Work month. However, there is also another important event that occurred during this month on May 30, 1896.

The event was recorded in the NY Daily Tribune. It is the first reported incident of a motor vehicle running into a bicyclist. The motor vehicle was a Duryea Motor Wagon or a "horseless carriage" as it was called at the time. The driver was Henry Wells on his way to take part in an automobile race. The bicyclist was Evylyn (or Ebeling. . . different sources appear to have editing problems) Thomas.

It appears the result of the incident was an out of control horseless carriage going through an intersection resulting in giving Miss Thomas a fractured leg.

Today, many incidents of motor vehicle and bicyclist collisions are referred to as accidents when in fact many of these incidents could have been prevented and thus be avoidable as an "accident".

Regardless of who is at fault if we treated everyone who uses our roadways as equals, whether motorist, bicyclist, pedestrian, etc, there would be a lower count of "accidents" as we treat others as human beings.

See the article in the NY Daily Tribune here and also note there were other incidents involving bicyclists (or scorchers) running into pedestrians and other bicyclists.

Let's keep the spirit of Bike To Work month with us throughout the year. Continue our advocacy efforts and also practice proper bicycling behavior, educate yourself on the law and know your rights. (See Bob Mionske's book and website here for more information on bicyclist rights).

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