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Should bicycles be licensed?
Women stopping with their bicycles in Co. Wicklow in 1895. Photo: National Library of Ireland, HAR 45

Should bicycles be licensed?

London, 8 October 1917 - The head of a major bicycle manufacturing firm has suggested that the Government should consider the introduction of licenses for every bicycle.

Stressing that this would not be a tax, but a deterrent against theft, the manufacturer proposed stamping a license number on the handlebars of every bike. This number would correspond to a copy of the license carried by every cyclist, which would enable police to easily identify thieves and trace stolen bicycles.

The reaction from cycling enthusiasts has been muted. The Irish Cyclist magazine has opposed the idea. While not doubting the efficacy of such a system, they claimed that it was unlikely the government would do the work for free, meaning that it would invariably end with an additional tax.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.