Look Back: Bicyclists break the rules

In a previous Look Back, 1937 newspaper items concerning the licensing of bicycles were shared. In the photo, is Tom Kramer’s bicycle license plate from 1952-53. His was #24. Though a bit expired, Tom still displays the now antique plate on his current bicycle. (Photo provided by Tom Kramer)

Bicycle Racing Prohibited

The affair at the City Park on the 4th of July, in which the bicyclers took part, was not a regular race, but simply a trial of speed, as the charter of the Bicycle Club here prohibits racing of any description, and any violation of this rule would forfeit the charter.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg State Journal

July 7, 1888



There is a word which I hope may catch the eye of each bicyclist. It is in regard to the use of the bicycle lamps. There seems to be no city or state ordinance requiring the use of lamps, but there is, or ought to be, an unwritten law requiring their use; the law of kindness and consideration for others.

Excerpt from the Parkersburg Daily State Journal

June 26, 1897


Thief Who Stole Bicycle is Captured

Charles Holtz was arrested this morning by Constable Deems on the charge of stealing a bicycle belonging to J.E. Mayhew. The wheel was stolen about three weeks ago but was not recovered until Sunday. A man by the name of Postlewait was captured recently on the same charge but he stated that he had bought the wheel from Holtz and when the latter was arrested today he was released by Squire Carfer. Postlewait sold the wheel to Otley King, the East End bicycle dealer and it was there found. Holtz protested his innocence and declares that he bought the wheel on Third Street for fifty cents but his story is hardly probable.

Parkersburg Daily State Journal

June 2, 1903


Although the licensing of bicycles wasn’t required until 1937, a city ordinance effective Jan. 1, 1915, restricted the use of “Automobiles, Motorcycles, Motor vehicles, and Bicycles” within the city of Parkersburg. Excerpts from that ordinance follow:

“Section 9.(a) All bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles and all other motor vehicles and street cars, upon the streets of Parkersburg, shall have attached thereto a gong, horn or other adequate signal in good working order, to give sufficient warning to pedestrians, riders and drivers of other vehicles, which gong, horn, or other signals shall not be sounded except when necessary to give such warning, but no such gone, horn, or other signal shall produce a sound unusually loud or annoying or such as will frighten pedestrians or animals, provided that this section shall not apply to vehicles belonging to the Fire or Police Departments of the City of Parkersburg.

“9.(h) No motorcycle or bicycle shall carry more than one person, unless equipped for the number carried, and no bicyclist in said city shall carry a child under five years (5) old.”

And just for fun — “Section 11. (a) No horse shall be left unattended in any street, alley or public place of the City unless securely fastened; (b) No one shall hitch any horse to any lamp post, telegraph or telephone pole or post, trolley pole, tree or structure, save and except to a regular hitching post or ring.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today