Revelstoke Museum Curator Cathy English has been mightily amused by the uproar over cyclists’ behaviour on and off city sidewalks.
She has been so amused she sent The Current a PDF of an old Revelstoke Review from July 14, 1939, that contains a column headlined The Cycle Menace. The column is on page two. Click here to view the PDF. Or, you can read it below:
THE CYCLE MENACE
The greatest menaces on the streets of Revelstoke and the highways of the adjoining district is the bicycle. And this is so simply because of the careless and smart-aleck cyclist. It. is no exaggeration to say they are as thick as the proverbial fleas in Revelstoke traffic and about as insensible to the trouble they cause.
Some of them wobble about the roads like drunken things, dart across traffic from behind parked cars, ignore signals, cut corners, ride against traffic, in fact, commit every offense possible, with variations, as part of a studied routine.
There is no need to go into the old argument of motorist versus cyclist.
The bicycle has as much right to the public thoroughfare as the most expensive car or, the ten-ton truck. It is a recognized form of transportation and the riders have equal privileges with any one else on the road. But like the operation of the motor vehicle, operation of a bicycle is a privilege and not a right. It carries equal responsibilities. This is recognized in many cities where bicycle riders must have a licence, but as yet Revelstoke has not adopted this means of controlling bicycle traffic.
Because bicycles do not figure more prominently in traffic tolls than they do does not mean cyclists pay greater attention to their responsibilities as a class. More frequently than not it is sheer good luck plus the vigilance of the motorist — often the pedestrian — which accounts for the preservation of their record. There is not a day of summer when that combination does not act to save the life or limbs of a youth somewhere in this district.
The bicycle is more easily manipulated than the motor car: Possibly the cyclists often know just what they are doing, and by constant practice lose sight of the risks they are taking. But the motorist doesn’t know, has no way of telling. And too often in taking chances they involve him in an accident. Many a crushed fender, many a costly skid, is directly traceable to the cyclist who escaped without harm.
Escape is no reason why he should go free to repeat his dangerous antics.
If he is to continue using the roads he must be made conscious of the obligations which are his. It should not be too much to insist that he obey the fundamental rules which regulate all vehicular traffic. Infractions ought to bring the same penalties levied on the motorist, Surely young lives and the motorists’ nerves are worth that much consideration. If individual common sense won’t provide it, the law should.