1940s: “A Ride of Death”



34 Responses

  1. Joel

    What is disturbing is that very few of these accidents are the fault of the cyclist. Who decided it was OK to tailgate cyclists?

  2. Gustavo

    Interesting for any country where bycicle riding is US developed, US manual’s of anything you might imagine.

    • CopperPin

      Yes, especially those Lance Armstrong wannabes that are always clogging up the roads. I make a point of forcing them to the shoulder whenever I can and this would remind them what will happen if they don’t move. Bicycles don’t pay licencing fees or road taxes and they have no right to be on the road. What are they training for that’s so important that they can get in everyone else’s way?

      • copperpinhead

        we ALL pay for the roads whether we drive, ride, walk, or stay at home. troll.

      • Liam

        No, he was rude and inconsiderate like you. Anyone that gets stressed behind a cyclist has bigger issues with patience and kindness to humankind.

      • Liam

        You better not walk on any sidewalks then, pedestrian wannabe.

      • Stem slasher

        Time to crack open your dusty driver’s handbook and educate your brain. Bikes have a right to share the road. Baby strollers don’t pay road taxes either, yet they wear out your expensive crosswalks! Better give them the ol’ bumper thumper.

  3. Bikenik

    From this publication it would seem the motor vehicle has the right-of-way in all situations and its ‘open season’ on the ‘careless’ cyclists that do not respect this rule.

  4. William Furr

    Reads like car industry propaganda designed to scare people off of bicycles. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Shame the result was the virtual elimination of people on bicycles in the US aside from recreation on protected paths. These same scenarios could just as easily have been used to control and limit automobile speeds and usage. Almost every one of those drivers should have lost their license at a bare minimum and in many cases been sent to prison.

  5. Brian Gonigal

    Wow, usually you have to watch read or watch a piece of 1930′s anti-marijuana propaganda to get this kind of hysteria, over-reaction and exaggeration of the consequences (according to this pamphlet, bicycle mishaps that *don’t* result in instant death or crippling for life are quite rare). It’s really hard not to come away from this with the strong impression that for some unfathomable reason someone was trying to terrify kids into never, ever getting on a bicycle to begin with. Was some crazy Fundamentalist preacher back then shouting that they were “tools of the Devil” or something?

    On a completely unrelated note, who in real life has *ever* referred to that vehicle as a “street transportation bus”?

  6. Denny

    As a learning tool,these discriptions can make a young person more aware of their surroundings.
    A common sense lesson.

  7. CJ

    @William Yes, every one of these fictional drivers should have faced consequences. It is an outrage that this government issued pamphlet on bicycling didn’t address the punishments these cartoon drivers received. IF ANY.

  8. Joanne Powers

    Well I am afraid of riding bicycles these days, but those days I rode one every day and never saw this pamphlet. Looks like the early 40′s.

  9. the13th

    As someone who has crashed very recently, this pamphlet is just utterly horrible to look at, or even fathom that some sadistic illustrator would make what looks like a huge morbid joke out of a very serious situation.

  10. stib

    As the automobile grabbed more and more urban space, roads that used to be safe for pedestrians and children suddenly became dangerous. This is the propaganda that successfully changed our attitude to the space around us, and made us believe that is was OK for a large part of our urban area to be a no-go zone.

  11. John

    I’m embarassed to admit that this book was distributed to all students in my class in the 1st or 2nd grade (circa 1965-66). I remember it scared the piss outta me, but I still bashed up kneecaps and elbows many times while piloting my Schwinn Stingray.

  12. Hairlips

    aaaah yes, doesnt everything lead to skull fractures and eventually death.

  13. Yoda

    What do you get when you cross the Tour de France with the Hunger Games?

  14. Bill Thompson

    Well, thank goodness Big Brother has the good sense to mandate styrofoam helmets for everyone now. Everyone is safe! No more cracked skulls! And cars are much less pointy. X-D

  15. Mike Barnett

    I’d like to see this pamphlet updated to show kids texting and/or walking around with earbuds stuffed into their skulls. I can’t believe all the whining about scare tactics and morbidity that I see in the posts. Is our society really that offended by stuff like this, even while we watch, and let our children watch, intensely violent movies and television? Are you kidding me?? Get off your false high horses, people.

    You want real morbidity? It’s not in pamphlets… take your kids to see the actual results of these accidents in the hospitals, extended care facilities, and morgues. Let a few kids get nauseated… at least they will have a chance to think about the consequences of their actions.

  16. Andy McBurney

    Too bad people still blame the victim when the victim is on foot or bike. We deal with it all the time PEDS. We try to move away from the “blame the victim” mentality by personifying “the motorist” (these cartoons just talk about the car as if it were an inevitable force). Also, we try to explain how defensive behavior is necessary due to insufficient engineering. (ex: didn’t see the bus because the house limited visibility from the alley) You can’t scare people into traveling safer. Fear only coerces people to travel more narcissisticly and be more impatient and reckless (by whatever mode they choose to travel).

  17. Julio

    I guess that chivalry still dictated a lot back then. The girls didn’t get killed like the boys did.


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