By James Longhurst
American citizens were driving motorcycles for greater than a century now. So why are such a lot American towns nonetheless so ill-prepared to address cyclists? James Longhurst, a historian and avid bicycle owner, tackles that query via tracing the contentious debates among American motorbike riders, motorists, and pedestrians over the shared road.
Bike Battles explores the various ways in which american citizens have thought of the bicycle via renowned songs, advantage badge pamphlets, advertisements, movies, newspapers and sitcoms. these institutions formed the activities of presidency and the courts after they intervened in motorbike coverage via proceedings, site visitors regulate, highway development, taxation, rationing, import price lists, security schooling and motorbike lanes from the 1870s to the 1970s.
Today, biking in American city facilities continues to be a problem as urban planners, political pundits, and citizens proceed to argue over motorbike lanes, bike-share courses, legislations enforcement, sustainability, and public safeguard. Combining attention-grabbing new examine from a variety of resources with a real ardour for the subject, Longhurst indicates us that those battles are not anything new; in reality they are easily a continuation of the unique conflict over who is―and isn't―welcome on our roads.
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Extra info for Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road
In Ford’s view, the history of public roads demonstrates that automobiles were the complete victors in the battle for dominance of the road network, vanquishing all other contenders. But simultaneously, other observers see an end to automotive dominance. ”30 20 » Introduction A New Hope Are today’s bike battles something new, with the possibility of resolving the “whole car/bike thing”? Or is this political fight simply a rehash of previous disputes? And why is it so difficult for bikes and cars to coexist on the street in the first place?
39 Now that they were in the same category as horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles were clearly subject to the basic rules of the road: traveling on the right half of the road when meeting oncoming traffic, overtaking on the left, giving way where appropriate, and exercising due care and vigilance. Following the rules of the road protected cyclists against accusations of negligence, as in the 1892 case concerning Alfred Schimpf of Albany, who, traveling at a tame three miles an hour on the correct side of the road, collided with a faster-moving horse-drawn wagon traveling on the wrong side of the road.
Two cyclists were riding down the street “when a vehicle passed them and the occupants yelled at them to get out of the road,” noted the police blotter. ”2 These present-day disagreements are just the most recent incarnations of long-running battles between road users with each new incumbent telling the previous generation to get out of the road. But all of these actors make assumptions that belie the fundamental legal principle of the road. How that legal principle has interfaced with physical and political reality is the first of the bike battles.