When the speed limit was raised from four to twelve miles an hour, the event is celebrated by the first Motor Car Tour to Brighton, or the 'Brighton Run' .
Every year, old cars driven by people dressed in the costume of the times, drive by our home in Elstree to participate in the 'Brighten Run'. It's a wonderful spectacle.
Frederick Simms (a pioneering engineer) was Ellis's companion on this first horseless carriage drive on English roads. Here's an excerpt of his description.
Newspaper Report: Saturday Review on July 11th 1895
We set forth at exactly 9.26 am and made good progress on the well-made old London coaching road; it was delightful travelling on that fine summer morning. We were not without anxiety as to how the horses we might meet would behave towards their new rivals, but they took it very well and out of 133 horses we passed only two little ponies did not seem to appreciate the innovation. On our way we passed a great many vehicles of of all kinds (ie horse-drawn), as well as cyclists. It was a very pleasing sensation to go along the delightful roads towards Virginia Water at speeds varying from three to twenty miles per hour, and our iron horse behaved splendidly. There we took our luncheon and fed our engine with a little oil. Going down the steep hill leading to Windsor we passed through Datchet and arrived right in front of the entrance hall of Mr Ellis's house at Datchet at 5.40, thus completing our most enjoyable journey of 56 miles, the first ever made by a petroleum motor carriage in this country in 5 hours 32 minutes, exclusive of stoppages and at an average speed of 9.84 mph.
Road safety figures have been collected by the UK government since 1926. Of course, there weren't many drivers in those times. But in those early years, the number of road deaths exceeded the combined years of 2011 and 2012.
In other words, there are fewer deaths from road accidents now than since the days of steam traction engines (called light locomotives).
What? But it's not as if our own homes attack us like a vehicle out of control on the road. Nope! Our own actions cause the injury or death. A couple of years ago, I tripped over a chair leg while dusting. I reached out to stop my head hitting a low table, breaking my thumb joint, which led to one month of being unable to use one hand. A moment's carelessness can lead to incapacity or death.
Of course, life is a risky business.
I'll bet you can recall an accident in your home.