Tag automobile

The Automobile Ordinance

The Constitution: Atlanta, GA – Thursday, June 23, 1904

The general council of Atlanta is to be congratulated on adopting an ordinance regulating the operation of automobiles on the streets of the city. The rapidly increasing local use of these machines, the number of more or less serious accidents of the last few months, and the fact that no municipal laws existed governing their operation, combine to make the passage of the ordinance very timely and advisable.

That portion of the ordinance which restricts speed of the “devil wagons” in and outside the fire limits is so framed as to be just, both to the automobilists and the public, generally. The speed of 8 miles an hour inside of the fire limits and 15 outside ought to satisfy the owners and chauffeurs, inasmuch as it should meet all of their demands, both of a business and pleasurable nature. It also places the maximum of speed at such a limit as will enable a swift stopping of the machine in the presence of danger or of an unforeseen emergency. The ordinance committee likewise displayed wisdom in decreeing that all operators of self-propelled machines shall be licensed. An automobile, however simple its construction, is very similar to a locomotive, and it is very certain that no railway would trust a novice with the operation of one of these complicated pieces of mechanism.

Similarly, the idea that an inexperienced person should be allowed to send one of these powerful machines flying through the streets, imperiling the lives of pedestrians and hampering other modes of traffic, is not to be entertained for a moment. The provisions of the ordinance in this respect are so lenient and sensible as to appeal to the most fanatical automobilist. They are easily complied with and they give the footgoing public a satisfactory guarantee of safety.



What! Don’t know a “Jay Walker?”

Never have seen one?

Then you have never been at Five Points, nor Whitehall and Alabama streets, or perhaps you are one yourself.

Quizz the first cop you meet, inquire of your family physician, or one of the bonesetters at any hospital, or ask the guy who holds the inquest.

This Will Be Verdict.

Some of these days coroner’s juries will return verdicts which will read: “Came to his death from ‘Jay Walking.’ ” It used to be a habit—persons who claim to be authorities on the subject say—but now it is a disease. And it’s catching, just like chickenpox, a thirst for something cold to drink—the morning after.

A traffic policeman at Five Points designated at least fifty persons who were “Jay Walkers,” or who have dangerous symptoms. And the strange part of it none of them realize it. Few have even thought of such a thing, and if you should happen to accuse them they would probably knock on your ding dong for the information.

“You can stand on this corner any busy afternoon and count nearly twice that number,” the cop declared.

“See that guy over there, well he’s a ‘Jay Walker.’ Some day there will be nothing but a grease spot here, and his family will point to the spot where daddy was last seen. He is what they call a busy business man in the story books, but he is what us cops call a nuisance, a ‘Jay Walker,’ a man who is always in his own way.

“Looker there! I told you—”

Mr. Jay Walker in Danger.

And the cop pointed to the Decatur street crossing. The “Jay Walker” had started across the street, nose pointed heavenward, and all unconscious of the fact that a lumber truck, puffing and snorting, and shrieking under the sudden pressure of the brakes, was bearing down on him. Instead of beating it for the nearest sidewalk, Mr. “Jay Walker” stops in his tracks and continues to gaze complacently at the negro washing a second story window in the opposite building.

“Can you beat that?” demanded the cop, and he hastens over to inform Mr. “Jay Walker” that the driver of the truck is entitled to about ten feet of the street.

“See that dame flirting across the street?” exclaimed the cop, pointing to a vision that looked like a rainbow shooting across Peachtree. “Well, she is a ‘Jay Walker.’ ”

“I don’t get yer, Steve—explain?”

“Well, Bo, ‘Jay Walkers’ are persons who cut across corners—dash across the streets cat-a-cornered—who have not the time to walk along the sidewalk to the proper crossing. ‘Jay Walkers’ are people who are always flirting with death—who will run right in front of a street car, an automobile, or a fire engine, and if they happen to get splattered with mud will curse the driver to a fare-the-well. And if—”

“Hold on you bonehead!” shouted the cop at a chauffeur who was about to run his motor over a group of women who stood in the center of the street to exchange greetings, “ain’t you got no respect for ladies what hold reception on the street—”

Then to the ladies—

“Misses, won’t you please move to the sidewalk and let that fathead with the ice truck go by? Thank you ever so much

“Gee, but it’s getting fierce.”




Chief of Police Beavers has at last gotten his automobile.

Like many other improvements, this one was a long time in coming, but now that it is here the machine will be called on in many emergencies and will do great service for the city. It is a touring car, capable of holding five of “Atlanta’s finest,” and is equipped with a powerful engine that will “make time” when the clear-the-way signal is given.

The demand for an automobile for the use of police officials has been insistent for months, ever since two near-riots in rapid succession in far portions of the city showed the commissioners that some means of rapid transit was badly needed. The old horse wagons are out of the question with Atlanta’s greatly enlarged area, and the automobile patrols are constantly busy. The touring car was the solution.

The chief, or captain in charge, with sufficient officers to handle a good-sized crowd, can now be gotten to any portion of the city in a few minutes’ time. Incipient troubles can be quelled and life saved, where before there would have been bloodshed for lack of authority to uphold the law. There will be no speed limit when a call is being answered.

The chief is shown at the wheel of his machine and with him are three of the men who daily protect the city.



“Atlantans are either speed-loving people, or they don’t know a good thing when they see it,” said Morris Rich yesterday, when asked why Gate City autoists had not taken to the electric car.

Mr. Rich is a great believer in the electric-propelled vehicle, but, according to his statements, there are not more than twenty-five or thirty other Atlantans who want the “juice” to carry them along.

“It’s a great city for car us,” he said, ” and stands up under trips as lengthy as forty miles from the city. It has all the speed, 6 to 20 miles per hour, that the city laws will stand, and yet it seems that Atlanta is slower than other cities in realizing the worth of the electric car. It is ideal for doctors, and is the only car that is safe for a lady to drive. The upkeep is less than that of the gasoline car, and the operating expenses never run over a cent-and-a-half an hour, but still Atlanta folk don’t like the electric car. As I have said before, it must be that they love speed too well.

“A good electric car easily goes forty miles on one charge. The car can be charged at home during the night, and the expense is very light. The next day it is in great running order, without the odor and pistol-like explosions of the cars that use gasoline as a motive power.

“The electric car is very easy to take care of, and very easy to run. There are not a net work of controllers about your feet and hands to look after, but just one, which, with the steering wheel, is the only thing to notice when you are running the car. This controller brakes the machine, backs it, and does everything else, making the operation most simple.

“Savannah, a much smaller city than Atlanta, is much more appreciative of the electric car. Savannah has four times as many in operation as this city, and has not as many gasoline cars. Three-fourths of these cars in Savannah are run by ladies, and children have been seen to operate them.

“Why not? The electric car is safe. It has never been known to figure in an accident, while gasoline and steam cars are always running into a wreck.

“Having six speeds, it can be adjusted to suit the driver, anywhere from six to twenty miles per hour.

“There is no doubt but that the electric car is the practical car, and Atlanta is behind the times in its use. Every city its size has more and many smaller ones boast of a greater number.”

Mr. Rich is an authority on the electric car. He represents the Rauch & Lang Carriage Company, of Cleveland, who manufacture one of the best cars in the country, and he was probably speaking of this car in particular in his statements. He uses it extensively, and has found no trouble in climbing hills with it. Hill climbing is a very important item in an automobile. Old-timers at the business of running cars say that the way to judge the worth of a car is up a hill, instead of on a level road with speed, and the electric car seems to fit the bill in this particular.

After a thorough trial of the Rauch & Lang car, Mr. Rich is positive that it is the economical car, the safe car, and a car that will give satisfaction to all.