Monday, 11 January 2016

New Vehicle Lighting Regulations

Marquis of Northampton's Car after accident at Dunstable, 1908 [Z1306/36/18/2]

Tuesday 11th January 1916: New regulations relating to lights on vehicles came into force in Bedfordshire yesterday. Under these rules the use of headlights on motor cars is prohibited. All vehicles must carry a lamp displaying a white light at the front. Unless the vehicle is a bicycle this must be displayed at the extreme right hand side of the vehicle; if a second lamp is carried this must be at the extreme left hand side. At the rear a red lamp must be displayed, again at the extreme right hand side of the vehicle. If electric lamps are used the bulb must not exceed 12 watts and the longer side or diameter of the front glass must not exceed six inches; other restrictions are in place for acetylene and oil lamps.

The difficulties likely to arise from the new regulations have already been demonstrated by Ronald Guy Larking, an officer of the Royal Engineers who appeared today at the Borough Court charged with assaulting a special constable in an argument over motor car headlamps. After being convicted and fined £1 he told the magistrates that the previous night four members of the mobile corps of signallers to which he belonged had been sent out from Baldock. There were seven accidents that night, two involving dispatch riders and the others civilians. He himself had travelled to Cambridge and estimated that even though he had a fairly bright light he had run on to the grass verge nearly fifty times. He suggested an exception should be made for officers and dispatch riders on duty; they could not possibly carry out their work safely, and it seemed ridiculous that men should be injured by falling off their bicycles in the dark. The police superintendent pointed out that Mr. Larking had not properly read his instructions. An order had been made some weeks ago that military motor cars on duty could use headlights, on condition that while doing so they must carry a green light on each side.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 28th December 1915 and 18th January 1916

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