Detroit Traffic Regulations in 1929

We recently purchased a Detroit Police Department booklet on traffic regulations from 1929.

What’s interesting is that we have many of the same regulations today. However, there are some differences.

  • Under these city ordinances, bicycles were considered vehicles. Under current state law, bicycles are devices.
  • The vehicle speeds are lower: 20 MPH in the neighborhoods and 15 MPH in the business districts — rates that are much safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Those today have been raised to a minimum of 25 MPH.
  • Reckless driving appears to be a lower standard, perhaps because it includes today’s careless driving standard. Back then, if you were “to endanger or likely to endanger,” you could be found reckless and possibly lose your license.

It was illegal to drive drunk in 1929, which is interesting since America still had Prohibition. Perhaps that’s not surprising with 75% of America’s booze being smuggled through Metro Detroit at the time — the city’s second largest business after automobiles.

The booklet does include a map. While much of the street grid remains intact, we have lost some roads to superblocks, including the Renaissance Center, Cobo Hall, Comerica Park, and Ford Field.

The Lodge expressway has also done serious damage to the business district street grid. It was named after Mayor John C. Lodge who was in office at the time this booklet was printed.

Link: Detroit Police 1929 Traffic Regulations booklet (9.6 megabytes)

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply