Should police constables stop furious cyclists? – archive, 1896 | Cycling

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To the editor of the Manchester Guardian,

Sir, – In your article of this morning, upon the right of a police constable forcibly to stop a cyclist, you say “It is most undesirable that constables should get it into their heads that they are at liberty to stop, without warning, every cyclist who seems to them to be riding too fast. The cyclist is clearly entitled to be warned, and ought to be warned before stronger measures are resorted to,” &c.

If a police constable has not this right, of what use is he in this matter of furious riding, and how can he warn a cyclist? Of course a constable must act with caution and judgment where cyclists are concerned, as he must do in all other cases; but what is wanted is some means of getting hold of a furious rider. The constable ought to be provided with a lasso or some sort of hook. The French case that you refer to of a “cowardly and malignant attack” upon cyclists by peasants has no bearing upon the everyday danger from cyclists who skim past you at a junction of streets or as you are getting into or out of a tramcar. And no thinking person, I suppose, seriously looks upon the cyclists bell as anything but a snare and a delusion. Does it tell us which side to move to, or even from what point its sound comes?. Our eyes are not in the back of our heads, as some riders seem to imagine. I trust our local authorities – or parliament if local bodies have not the power – may soon make it illegal to ride on a cycle at all after dark. Yours, &c, Audi Alteram Partem

The Guardian, 7 August 1896.
The Guardian, 7 August 1896.

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