The not-so Fast and Furious: Motoring’s First Speeding Fine

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Yes, we have all seen in the news about the latest speed freak racking up a new record for exceeding the national limit by a substantial amount, well back in 1896, that’s exactly what happened for the first time, even though the speed achieved by Benz Driver Walter Arnold, wasn’t exactly rapid. On the contrary, your average cyclist would travel quicker.

When motoring was still in its infancy, the Benz Motor Carriage driven by Arnold was travelling at four times the speed limit at a severely hectic 8 miles per hour before being pulled over by a policeman on a bicycle. At that time, the law required all cars to be led by a man on foot holding a red flag signalling to passers-by, the arrival of motor car. Plus, the speed limit was a dismal 2 miles per hour.

Walter Arnold was driving through Kent not only speeding, but had no man in front with a red flag. As a result, Arnold was convicted of speeding and forced to pay a fine, a whole shilling plus costs.

The law was changed later that year when the speed limit was raised to 14 miles per hour, and the red flag man was disregarded. So, if Mr Arnold had waited to commit his devil may care, fingers up to the establishment speed run for glory, he probably would get away with it. He did continue to get many miles more out of his motor car, even competing in the annual London to Brighton Veteran car run which still continues to this day.

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