January 1899
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Month January 1899

NO SKATING ON THE ASPHALT

THE CONSTITUTION: ATLANTA, GA. SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 1899.

The Edict Goes Forth from the Police Court.

BOMBSHELL TO THE SKATERS

An Arrest Made Yesterday Morning as a Test Case—Ruling of the Police Court Judge.

Shall the boys skate on the asphalt streets or not?

This is now a burning issue with the police authorities, an issue which was focused yesterday morning by the arrest of one of the small boy skaters, and his trial in the police court.

It is claimed by the anti-skaters that the boys are a nuisance, as they get in the way of vehicles and catch hold of wagons and carriages when going up hill. The people who are with the skaters say the boys have as much right to skate as the “bicyclists have to bike;” that it is merely a matter of choice whether a person wishes to ride on two wheels or eight wheels; and that it will be base discrimination to rule out the roller skate and still allow bicycles the free use of the asphalted thoroughfares.

Yesterday morning Bicycle Officer McCurdy arrested Earl McDaniel, one of the boys who skate on Peachtree street. The fact that it was an officer on a wheel has not been lost sight of by the skating contingency, McCurdy says he made the case to test the matter.

The youth who was laid on the sacrificial altar of a legal test appeared in the police court yesterday afternoon. He pleaded guilty to the fact that he had rolled over the asphalt of Peachtree on roller skates. But he pleaded an ignorance of any law which disallowed such a pastime.

“There has been much complaint of late,” said Officer McCurdy, “of these boys annoying those who were riding in vehicles. I have made this case in order to get the court’s ruling on the matter.”

Judge Andy made a long and close search into the mysteries of city ordinances. He finally said that the only law he could find which might reach the skaters was the ordinance prohibiting any one from blockading the streets.

“I will dismiss this case,” said the recorder, “but I wish it understood that I am inclined to be with the anti-skaters in this fight, and I will have to fine the next boy who is caught skating on the asphalt.”

This decision is a bombshell among the boys who skate on Peachtree and Washington streets. At least one hundred youths have secured roller skates to use on the two streets paved with the smooth asphalt. What will be done now that the edict has gone out from the police court cannot be said. It is possible a fight will be made in the courts to the finish.