At the beginning of the automobile era in England, every vehicle had to be preceded by a man waving a red flag

At the beginning of the automobile era in England, every vehicle had to be preceded by a man waving a red flag

The Locomotive Act (or Red Flag Act) of 1865 limited speed to 6 km / h on roads and 3 km / h in cities in England, and required the presence of a pedestrian with a red flag walking 50 meters in front of the vehicle. His main role was to warn riders and horse-drawn vehicles of the approach of a self-propelled machine, a novelty that is disturbing at the time.

It was feared, among other things, that they would scare the horses and cause serious accidents. They were also criticized for disturbing the nocturnal tranquility and damaging the roads (they could weigh more than 10 tons).

The Highways and Locomotives Act of 1878 removes the use of the red flag, and the distance between the pedestrian and the vehicle is reduced to 18 m. She recalls that vehicles must stop when a horse is in sight and they must not emit smoke or steam to avoid frightening horses. The Emancipation Act removed the obligation of the pedestrian attendant in 1896.

Leave a Reply