San Francisco scorcher law, 1903


Ordinance No. 899

(Approved June 26, 1903)

Regulating the use of bicycles, bicycle tandems and vehicles and machines of similar character on public streets.

San Francisco Scorcher Law - read post for image text

Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco as follows:

Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive any bicycle … at a rate of speed faster than six (6) miles an hour.

Section 2. It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive any such vehicle upon or along any public street unless the feet of the person riding or driving the same shall be kept upon the pedals thereof at all times while such vehicle is in motion; the practice of “scorching” or “coasting” is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive any such vehicle along the sidewalk of any public street.

Section 4. Every person riding or driving any such vehicle upon or along any public street shall keep to the right of the center of the roadway when approaching or passing other vehicles.

Section 5. Any person who shall violate … this Ordinance … shall be punished by a fine not to exceed five hundred (500) dollars….

Note: $500 in 1903 is worth about $12,000 today.

Image from Eric Fischer, who collects all kinds of interesting data and history about San Francisco Bay Area transportation. Via Jym Dyer, who bought the domain scorcher.org after he fell in love with the word ‘scorcher.’

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