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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The Automotor and Horseless Vehicle Journal
November 17, 1896

The monthly meeting of the Council of the Central and Associated Chambers of Agriculture was held at the Society of Arts, Adelphi, London, on the 3rd isnt., under the presidency of Mr. J. Lloyd Wharton, M.P. The delegates considered, as a matter of urgency, the rate of speed to be permitted by the regulations of the Local Government Board for light locomotives on the roads.

Mr. Muntz, of Warwickshire, moved: "That in the opinion of this Council the maximum rate of speed at which light locomotives should travel along public highways for 12 months at least should be fixed at not exceeding 10 miles per hour, and representations to this effect be forwarded to the Local Government Board." He drew attention to the fact that under the Act the speed was to be not exceeding 14 miles an hour. They thought that rate was excessive. The Act further asserted that the machines were to be pulled up within 50 feet. The stoppage within such a short distance from a high rate of speed would seriously damage the roads.

Mr. H. Williams, Monmouth, seconded, and thought that eight miles per hour was sufficient. Agriculturists ran a great risk from their horses being frightened by cyclists. Of this class "the scorchers" were the worst. He regretted they did not postpone their scorching till they got to the next world. (Laughter.)

Mr. A. D. Wells (Berks and Oxon) opposed the resolution, and Mr. Corbett mentioned that in Switzerland electric cars ran along the roads at a speed of over 14 miles an hour without to any extent inconveniencing the traffic.

Mr. Lipscomb said that in his district (the West Riding) a year or two since traction engines had, through using the roads in frosty weather, damaged them to the extent of £1,000 per mile. The rate of speed, he thought, should be moderated.

They were in danger of being overridden. He dissented from the view taken by one of the speakers, that the proposal to moderate the speed of road locomotives was grandmotherly. Restrictions in this direction were as necessary now, in the light of experience, as they ever were.

The chairman said the minimum distance for pulling up light locomotives was 50 feet, and this he thought was much too short a distance. With heavy engines he thought this would result in serious injury to the roads. Fast traveling as all very well in the fen district, where a driver could often see two miles or more in front of him, but in districts where the roads had sharp curves and high hedges, he regarded swift traveling as extremely dangerous. He should like to see the maximum rate of speed reduced.

The motion was adopted.

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