New York Was a Dangerous Place for Pedestrians in 1920

The November 1920 issue of Motordom magazine reported that 173 people had been “run down by motor vehicles” during the month of October alone. Check out the chart that follows, and you will realize that number pales in comparison to some of the previous months.

That same year, a number of media outlets reported that the Chief Clerk of the City Engineering Department in Rochester, New York, had proposed a “Traffic Code for Pedestrians.” I can’t find any evidence that such a person actually existed, and I think maybe the newspapers and magazines that reprinted it fell for a hoax. It is pretty funny, though, especially if you like dark humor. This is how is appeared in 1920, but I will re-type it after the image in case it is difficult to read:

Traffic Code for Pedestrians

Proposed by Eddie C. Wilman, Chief Clerk, City Engineering Department, Rochester, N.Y.

Rule 1 – Pedestrians crossing boulevards at night shall wear a white light in front and a red light in the rear.

Rule 2 – Before turning to the right or the left the pedestrian shall give three short blasts on a horn at least three inches in diameter.

Rule 3 – When an inexperienced driver is made nervous by a pedestrian he shall indicate the same and the pedestrian shall hide behind a tree until the automobile has passed.

Rule 4 – Pedestrians shall not carry in their pockets any substances which when broken will be apt to cut automobile tires.

Rule 5 – In dodging automobiles pedestrians shall not run more than seven miles an hour.

Rule 6 – Pedestrians must register at the beginning of each year and pay a license fee of $5.00.

Rule 7 – Pedestrians will not be allowed to emit cigarette smoke on any boulevard in an offensive and unnecessary manner.

Rule 8 – Each pedestrian before receiving his license to walk upon a boulevard must demonstrate before an examining board his skill in dodging, leaping, crawling, and extricating himself from machinery.

Rule 9 – Pedestrians will be held responsible for all damage done to automobiles or their occupants in collision.

Zomrod at 2018 Cruise Nite in Kearney, Nebraska