Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Fool Driving" in Pelham in the New-Fangled Automobile in 1906

In 1906, The Outing Magazine published an article entitled "How Fool Driving Affects the Popularity of the Automobile". In the article, the author describes a sharp turn on today's Shore Road in an area between Pelhamdale Avenue and the boundary of Pelham Bay Park. The number of accidents that occurred at that location on a single Sunday afternoon was staggering. An excerpt of the article describing the matter appears below.

"Manufacturers, with only a few exceptions, insist that legislation regarding automobiles is an unnecessary hardship and more than that, unconstitutional. There is not the slightest doubt that the same regulations that apply to horse-drawn vehicles would be sufficient protection against highway accidents if it were not that about one out of every ten motorists either is mentally incapable of sanely running a car or else is criminally negligent and careless in the handling of his machine.

As an example of this statement, the writer spent an entire Sunday afternoon last month watching automobiles traveling on Pelham Road between the boundary of Pelham Bay Park and Pelhamdale Avenue in Pelham Manor. Within three hundred yards of Pelhamdale Avenue is a fairly sharp turn in the road, hidden on two sides by trees and an embankment. In four hours, 207 cars of one kind and another passed the point. Of these, 31 took the turn at the same speed they had been making straightaway, while 176 slowed down, and yet the danger to the car that slowed down was greater than it was to the speeding car.

In four hours there were five accidents on the turn, but fortunately each was to an automobile. In a half-mile stretch at this point there is no sidewalk and the street is only thirty-one feet wide, but at times motorists tried to pass each other traveling three abreast at not less than twenty miles an hour.

Pedestrians have beaten a path in the ditch, and in four hours only two teams were seen on that street, all having been compelled to utilize the Boston Post Road a half mile further inland, and thus lose the beautiful scenery along the Sound.

This is the sort of thing that causes legislation and local hold-ups, and right at this point, within a month, constables and a Justice of the Peace will be stationed to arrest the Road Hog -- and, of course, a great howl will be set up, although every arrest probably will be deserved."

Source: How Fool Driving Affects the Popularity of the Automobile in The Outing Magazine, Vol. XLVII, No. 5, p. 664 (Feb. 1906).

Please Visit the Historic Pelham Web Site
Located at
Please Click Here for Index to All Blog Postings.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 6:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your web site is great! Here is the url of the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library, if you would like to take a look:



Post a Comment

<< Home