Give your answer at the ballot box

Detroit cyclist Horatio “Good Roads” Earle ran for Michigan Senate in November of 1900. With his win, he went to Lansing and created the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

By the way, the Good Roads of Earle’s time are the Complete Streets of today. In 1900, there were very few motorized vehicles on the road, no stop signs, no traffic signals, no crosswalks. Everyday was a Ciclovia. If a road were paved, it was a Complete Street.

This is an excerpt from The Autobiography of “By Gum” Earle:

My fourth effort was in 1900 as a candidate for state senator from the Third District in Michigan, and I won, which gave me a chance to officially promote the good roads cause in which I was so interested. Every paper in Detroit opposed my nomination, and when they lost out, they said the doughnut won, but I went to Lansing, and by gum, Michigan has shown the world how to build good roads.

A good deal of my success in the campaign was due to the efforts in my behalf made by the “Detroit Wheelmen.” One of the most effective pieces of campaign literature was the one which follows, recalling the laws and privileges secured for the bicyclists, who were at that time in the hey-day of their strength and influence.


Baggage law for you,
Dry strip for you,
Bicycle shelter for you,
Bicycle ordinance for you,
Hotel discount for you,
Path protection law for you,
Toll knocked out for you,
Equal rights with horse for you,
No tags on wheels for you,
No lamps on wheels for you,
No bells on wheels for you.

Chief Consul Horatio S. Earle has been one who has worked without a cent of pay for these things. Will you get out and vote, and get others to vote for him for state senator, Third District, next Tuesday? Give your answer at the ballot box.

League of American Wheelmen Committee

This list echoes the one made my Edward Hines when he solicited bicyclists to join the Michigan Division of the L.A.W. Hine’s list provides more details on each item.

Yes, nearly 110 years later we are fighting the same battles. We fought mandatory bicycle registration (“tags on wheels”) and are working on getting roll-on bicycle service with AMTRAK  and the M1 Rail (“baggage law”).

And of course we’re still fighting for Good Roads.

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