Man fined for driving too fast at 20 mph


Let’s have a short series of interesting excerpts from The Guardian, this time going back in time to 1912, when there weren’t many of us.

The remarkable amount of automobile traffic passing through Northwich was becoming a problem. At least that’s what the magistrates of the Northwich Petty Sessions say when Harold Robert Hodgeson, a printer from Bromborough, stood before them.

He was charged with riding his motorbike fast enough and causing danger to the public on Station Road. A police officer on duty reported that 300 cars and motorcycles passed him in four hours.

Sergeant Proctor was with PC Durnall, and they were standing at the crossroads opposite the station when a motorbike and sidecar stormed across the bridge from Manchester.

The officers watched the motorcyclist for 300 meters and he drove at a reckless and dangerous speed which he estimated to be at least 20 to 22 miles per hour.

When the motorbike was about 50 meters away, the officer got out and shouted “lift up”, the defendant applied the brakes, but the cycle continued for about 10 meters.

The officer asked him why he was driving at such a dangerous speed.

The answer was that he rushed forward so as not to get caught behind a pony and a trap, and before the motor coming towards him prevented him from overtaking.

Alfred Carter of 90 Station Road estimated the accused’s driving speed to be at least 20 mph.

The President said the narrow streets of Northwich needed extra care and fined Hodgeson 10 / – (£ 58.50 today).

That same year, the Clerk of Weaverham Parish Council sent a letter to County Council requesting the erection of motor vehicle hazard notice boards near schools in County Weaverham.

This was to ensure a safety measure for children attending school.

The road surveyor noticed that Forest Street was one of the most dangerous places in Cheshire!

Mr. TA Johnson also stated that the corner of the Gate Inn was also very dangerous.

The clerk was responsible for contacting the county council to have the billboards repaired.

Even in 1912, with much slower traffic on the road, accidents did occur.

One involving a car driven by the driver of Mr. Earl of Sandiway Cottage, Hartford.

The other was driven by a gentleman from Blackpool who drove from Tarporley to Warrington.

The cars passed each other on a bend at Norcott Brook and both cars were damaged. The one belonging to the gentleman of Blackpool was reduced to a desperate wreck, and he received a serious wound to the scalp; the lady with him received a broken shoulder.

As for Mr. and Mrs. Earl, they were luckier. They were traveling with the driver behind the wheel and Mr. and Mrs. Earl with their little girl.

Apart from Ms. Earl, who clung to both the car and her daughter to protect her, Mr. Earl and the driver were thrown from the vehicle and escaped injuries; Mrs. Earl only received a few cuts.

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