Sunday, July 3, 2011

An 1890s View On Safety

Title page
Title page of the popular 1890s book, "Cycling for Health and Pleasure

The view on crashes between two bikes would probably not meet with the approval of modern litigators. From page 67 of Cycling for Health and Pleasure, published in 1895:
Riders ought to observe all the rules of the road, and not court disaster or engender ill feeling by disregarding them. It is very common for a number of wheelmen to divide, both on meeting and passing vehicles, and in so doing increase the chance of frightening horses, and make collisions far more probable. In the case of collision between two bicycles, it should be remembered that the aggressor will receive the less damage if the machines are of equal strength, so that if a collision is actually unavoidable, it is worth while to become the aggressor if possible, or at least to endeavor to give as much shock as you receive.
"In case of collision between two bikes"

"Cycling for Health and Pleasure" was apparently popular - the Library of Congress has editions from 1890, 1895 and 1896. The 1890 version was published by the small "Wheelman Press" while the later editions were published by the large commercial publisher Mead, Dodd.

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