Amen to that. Roads were built for horses, carriages , the mass transit of people on foot and in the latter half of the 19th century, cyclists. This is often forgotten by petrolheads, the unimaginative and the ill-informed (such as the car passenger who got out of a car to try and scrap with me the other day after the driver completely ignored the highway code and didn’t want to give way to oncoming traffic from the right. One or two expletives were exchanged). In an attempt to make up for around 100 years of motoring propoganda and slick ad-men, Carlton Reid is on the verge of publishing an e-book that attempts to set the record straight. In his own words:
Motorists are the johnny-come-latelies of highway history. The coming of the railways in the 1830s killed off the stage-coach trade; almost all rural roads reverted to low-level local use. Cyclists were the first group in a generation to use roads and were the first to push for high-quality sealed surfaces and were the first to lobby for national funding and leadership for roads.
Without cyclists, motorists wouldn’t have hit the ground running when it came to places to drive this new form of transport.
‘Roads Were Not Built for Cars’ is a history book, focussing on a time when cyclists had political clout, in Britain and especially in America. The book researches the Road Improvements Association – a lobbying group created by the Cyclists’ Touring Club in the 1880s – and the Good Roads movement organised by the League of American Wheelmen in the same period.
The book will be published in Summer 2012 and, thanks to research grants and advertising support, will be free to read online and free to download to Kindles, iPads, iPhones and other e-book readers. The free distribution model will be used in order to get the book seen by as many eyes as possible.
There’s a rather nice clicky preview thingy available here. It’s free to download on a Kindle, iPads and other e-book readers. I like a good old fashioned book, printed on fine paper, cloth bound, beautifully illustrated and printed in a dusty old print shop with the author peering over the press. This is the electronic equivalent.
Details of ‘Roads were not built for cars’ can be found here