Fringe Box



The Way We Were… Cycling in the 1920s

Published on: 13 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 13 Nov, 2013

An article on how Surrey County Council decided to give permission for a cycling event to take place on Surrey roads caused an avalanche of comment.

As  mentioned in a subsequent opinion piece, tension between different kinds of road users and criticism of their behaviour is nothing new.

Here are a few extracts from “The modern Cyclist 1923” which proves the point:

Laws and customs of the road

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923 - Not bad for a bob (5p)

The front cover of The Modern Cyclist 1923 – Not bad for a bob (5p)

“…Whenever you propose to turn to the Right hold out the right arm horizontally and never the left. To hold out the left arm and then turn to the right, as I have seen both cyclists and motorists do, is a symptom of imbecility…

“…Cyclists can save themselves from much annoying hooting from overtaking motors if, as soon as they hear the first warning sound, they wave the right hand a few times to and fro, low down, as a signal that they have heard and are aware of the car’s presence. In motoring practice, the sign means “Come on.” There is courtesy in it as well as convenience…

“…Never on any account overtake and pass any sort of traffic while turning a corner or curve around which you cannot see. Let your permanent thought be: “There is a blithering idiot round that corner, and there is no knowing what he’ll do. Safety First.”

“Although the Law requires you to keep to the left when required to by other traffic, you have a legal right to ride on any part of the road at other times. But modern conditions make it very risky to stand in one’s legal rights in the matter. It strikes me as bad manners for cyclists to ride more than two abreast at any time or anywhere.

Next time I will share some extracts from another section of the book, “Cycling for the Unsound”.

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