US’ First-Ever Speeding Infraction Issued to Electric Vehicle in 1899

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 7

Hard to Imagine a Vehicle Like This Actually Caught and Cited for Speeding

Hard to Imagine a Vehicle Like This Actually Caught and Cited for Speeding

History is history.  It can’t be altered.  It is what it is and will always remain that way.

Taxis Today Speed at Almost Every Available Opportunity

Taxis Today Speed at Almost Every Available Opportunity

So, when you dig deep through the archived past, you’ll discover that the US’ first-ever “speeding infraction” was issued, not to a fuel-burning automobile, but a lowly electric vehicle.

Yes, that’s right.  The so-called slow and boring electric vehicle will forever be the first automobile to be “ticketed” for speeding.

On May 20, 1899 a New York City taxi driver by the name of Jacob German put the pedal down on Lexington Street in Manhattan.  German promptly reached a blistering speed of 12 mph.  At the time of the event, the speed limit was claimed to be 8 mph on straights and 4 mph through turns.  Vehicles in those days weren’t really capable of safely handling speeds over 10 mph, or so we’re told.

German’s blistering pace was matched by a NYC police officer who immediately tracked down the law-breaking German.  The officer pedaled his bicycle at a rapid rate as he caught up to and then overtook German.  The speeding German was arrested and imprisoned for his actions, though never ticketed as that wasn’t how the law worked in those bygone days.

Related factoid:

  • According to the US Census Bureau, an estimated 100,000 people per day are cited for speeding in the United States.

But German will always remain the US’ first.

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7 responses to "US’ First-Ever Speeding Infraction Issued to Electric Vehicle in 1899"

  1. zilm says:

    How the police measured a speed that days?

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      I’ll throw out a guess…If the officer couldn’t jog to catch the moving vehicle in a straight line, or walk at the rate of the vehicle in turns, then it was speeding.

    2. Spin says:

      K-Band Radar

    3. vdiv says:

      GLONASS+Big Brother telemetry ;)

    4. Bill Howland says:

      its called a stopwatch… 19th century technology, but its extremely accurate (unless the road changes length).

  2. evnow says:

    Interesting story. But why post it today ?

    You want today / tomorrow to be all about sales numbers.

  3. Cavaron says:

    How long did the poor fellow had to stay in prison for his… urm… violation of the natural defined velocity a human body can safely endure?