Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/573

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

jected to in the street, and because the wheeling is nicer. They run swiftly, and when under high motion can not be quickly stopped. That their movements are disagreeable to pedestrians is inevitable. They are sources of constant anxiety and apprehension to them. Accidents have occurred with them, and they are continually liable to occur. The sidewalk belongs to the community, and is indispensable to the daily uses and necessities of all classes of people. Everybody has the right to walk there without molestation or the apprehension of molestation. Nothing should be permitted there which will awaken the dread of danger and compel the pedestrian to be constantly on the lookout to protect himself. Our correspondent says that they can be easily avoided, but how can a bicycle coming noiselessly from behind be avoided? They have India-rubber tires, and people have no eyes in the backs of their heads. But it is by no means a question what people with their senses about them can do if they give all their attention to personal security. The instinct of self-preservation does, of course, save the mass of people from being run down by bicycles when exposed to them. But is it right to introduce an extra exposure of this kind on a public sidewalk that will keep the sense of personal solicitude against danger constantly uppermost in consciousness? Besides, all people are not vigilant in such matters; many are heedless and stupid, and others abstracted or absent-minded. Then, again, there are the children, the aged and infirm, the invalids, the deaf, the cripples, the blind, and the half-blind, and these constitute a very large proportion of those who use the sidewalks, and have a right to use them without annoyance. To all these people the large bicycles ridden by sporting boys are a constant source of fear and dread, a pest of the pathway, and an undoubted nuisance.

We are here speaking of the rights of pedestrians on a common-sense view of the case. But our correspondent says, "It will be admitted that bicyclists, like other domestic animals, have some rights, which, once defined, are as much entitled to protection as the wider liberty allowed pedestrians." Admitted, of course, the only question being on the definition. We have contended negatively that the riders of large bicycles have no right upon the sidewalks, any more than equestrians, but this is not a denial of all rights. What, then, do the bicyclists themselves maintain? They assert that the bicycle is a wheeled carriage, and its rights simply the common rights of carriages upon the street. The representatives of the bicycle associations in New York claim that their right is to the use of the highway, and they explicitly disclaim any right to the use of the sidewalk.

W. R. Pitman, captain of the Ixion Bicycle Club, on being asked his opinion as to the propriety of bicycles being ridden on the sidewalks of small villages, said emphatically that "bicycles had no business on sidewalks anywhere; that the sidewalks were meant for foot passengers and not for carriages, which the bicyclers claim their machines to be."

Dr. N. M. Beckwith, captain of the Citizens' Bicycle Club, said that in his opinion bicyclers had no right to sidewalks at all, and remarked that the bicyclers wished to have their machines regarded as carriages, and claimed all the rights and privileges given to carriages, and in so doing they certainly could not also wish to be looked upon as foot-passengers.

Charles A. Reed, captain of the Columbia College Bicycle Club, said that he thought bicycles had no right on sidewalks or foot-paths except when the road was utterly impassable to them, and that a bicycle could certainly be ridden wherever a light buggy could be driven.