“Appalling dangerous driving on the roads” Grandad Beck was quoted as saying by the Bridport News in 1935. In 1930 over 7,300 people were killed on the roads, compared with 1,700 in 2013. After the invention of motor engine the variety of road users increased as never before. The pedestrians, horses and horse drawn vehicles, and from the late Ninetieth century bicycles where joined by many forms of motorised vehicles. By 1930 there were approximately one million private cars in Britain.
The cases I have chosen to write about include some of the variety of road users. The first involve a Pony and cart in Bridport where the passengers landed on the pavement when they had a collision with a charabanc, a lovely name for a bus or coach. Cyclists also had to share the road with motor vehicles and these amounted to nearly 50% of traffic (see Traffic Regulated by Automatic Signals) and I have written about one of the many accidents between cars and cyclists.
I wrote about the installation of traffic signals in May 1935, at the Town Hall Bridport in a previous post, Bridport Gets Road Traffic Signal Lights at Dangerous Corner. In 1934, Bridport Borough council discussed the need for these lights and also wanted a set at another dangerous corner, close by, at Barrack Street – this is the road going North from the town centre, which is no longer a through road. Traffic lights were eventually installed at Barrack Street and remain in use until the bypass was opened.
When researching this post I was surprised at the number of bicycles in the town. Perhaps I should have realised that in the early part of the 20th Century, bicycles were relatively cheap and faster than walking. There was no mention of horses or horse drawn vehicles, this is most likely because they were not included in the count or possibly because there were none in Bridport that day. Continue reading “Traffic regulated by automatic signals is “marvellous””