An Upper Peninsula city council disagreed with the city newspaper after setting a 6 mph speed limit.
Michigan’s first automobile came out in 1887. RE Olds built his first automobile, a gasoline-powered, steam-powered, three-wheeled horseless carriage. While it would be over a decade before we saw a “horseless carriage” on Michigan roads becoming commonplace.
During this time, communities and the state had few laws relating to the operation of the new-fangled automobile. Many governments struggled to create order as disputes and accidents arose over whether a carriage or horseless carriage had the right of way. From one city to another the laws can be very different
In 1898, the city council of Sault Ste Marie found itself at odds with the local newspaper, the Soo City Times. On January 28, 1898, the council imposed a speed limit of 6 miles per hour in the city.
The Soo Times wrote and published what would at the time be a scathing opinion on council law.
It is violated every day of the year by any man who, by any means, navigates a wheeled or skidded vehicle. A team of second class oxen will go 6 miles per hour. A horse with all legs spavined and in pain in the later stages of heaving will travel 6 miles per hour on a corduroy road. ~ The Soo Times circa 1898
In short, the newspaper said that a team of second-rate oxen could pull at that speed and that a horse with a bad leg that had already traveled miles would still be able to keep pace at 6 mph on a very rough road. bumpy.
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