Traffic

1917 Nash

An article in the San Francisco Examiner, Jan 13, 1918

San Mateo Arrests 1500 Traffic Violators

Redwood City- Jan 12

Since August 1, 1917, when the San Mateo officers began a rigid campaign against violators of traffic ordinances, more than 1,500 auto violations have been hailed before San Mateo courts. Nearly all of the cases have been for “cutting in” or carrying blinding lights, little attempts being paid during the crusade, to speeders.

Exactly what do they mean by “speeding” in 1917? A fast walk? A quick average of internet posts suggest that a 1917 could go as fast as 30 mph on a flat road, but roads at that time were pretty rough, so that might be a death wish.

“Cutting in” was, and is, a problem. We don’t merge, and we don’t yield. What we would like are roads wide enough so that we could all go side by side. That’s why we build multi-lane freeways. This problem of yield is a metaphor for other areas in life. Signs tell us to yield, and we just ignore them. When people tell us to yield, we say they are on a power trip. A “yielding spirit” is a character flaw. We are destined to crash into one and another.

The interesting item is “blinding lights”. What did the ordinances say about lights? Did they rate them in candlepower? Did they have candles?

Another article mentions 1,300 vehicles were stolen in 1917. Statewide? Area wide? All but 106 were recovered by local police. 72 Fords, 6 Buick’s/Chevrolets, 3 Dodges, 2 Stutz, and one each for Mitchell, Overland, Locomobile, Empire, Maibohn, Saxon, Dort, American, Maxwell, and Oldsmobile.

The numbers don’t quite add up, but I am impressed by the number of makes and models.

About johndiestler

Retired community college professor of graphic design, multimedia and photography, and chair of the fine arts and media department.
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