The Origins of the Clarion Cycling Club and cycling in the 1890s
58. Manchester CCC's Knutsford ride and Swiftsure on cyclists and pedestrians
At the end of his regular "Cycling Notes" in the Clarion on 4 May 1895 Swiftsure wrote:
I am requested by the secretary of the C.C.C. Manchester and District to mention that tomorrow (Saturday) their club run is to Knutsford* and they propose to make it a social. Friends and relations are invited to come by train. Cheap excursions are usually run to Knutsford on Saturday afternoon, and given fine weather it is hoped that a goodly number of Clarionettes will avail themselves of this cordial invitation.
* Knutsford is, of course, the 'original' of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford.
And the following week - 11 May - Swiftsure alerted readers to more dangers to cyclists - and pedestrians.
The publicity which has latterly been given to the fact that a society has just been started in Paris, having for its object the obstruction of cyclists by pedestrians has made me think that a few words on this subject may not be thrown away. It is the general opinion among cyclists that the proper place for the foot passenger is the pathway, and if he persists in walking on the roadway the cyclist would be justified in running into him.
Whoever thinks this, however, had better disabuse their minds of such an idea at once. By law the pedestrian has the first right of way on the road; the footpath is merely made for his convenience. All vehicles - amongst which bicycles are included - must be driven so as not to be dangerous to the pedestrian. If every cyclist will bear this in mind, and accommodate his progression accordingly, much of the friction and annoyance felt by the general public towards cyclists would speedily disappear.
Next time: More Clarion Cycling Clubs