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Protecting the Pedestrian

The dawn of the automobile age in Nebraska brought with it wonderful new mobility--and
wondrous new hazards as well. This none-too-serious look at the very real danger cars posed
to pedestrians was published in 1910 under the title, "When An Automobile Runs a Person

"If it is any satisfaction to you when you are run over and smashed by an automobile, an
ingenious inventor has hit upon a plan for surely locating the joy rider or motormaniac who
runs over and smashes you and races away. The device is a rather intricate mechanical
contrivance that will shoot out license tags with the number of the automobile which runs
over you at the moment you are run over. As the machine mows you down and begins to
flatten you out, compressed air shoots out a shower of little tags that are contained in pipes
attached to the bumper of the machine. These pipes, of course, are worn on the automobile
by compulsion of the law. The law also provides that they must be filled with identification
tags, which, after a victim is smashed, will be strewn in a gentle shower over his remains and
along the road.

"The same inventor might as well go a bit further and fill his pipes with chloroform or ether
so that when you are run over, the chauffeur will be overcome and thereby prevented from
running away from the scene of the disaster. The mere fact that the chauffeur when so
overcome may go on riding at full speed in a senseless condition and run over half a dozen
more persons is only part of the hazard of the game. He can't run very far while unconscious
and is certain to be picked up dead or alive.

"Another suggestion along this line is to fit the bumper of the auto with a dynamite carrier
that will blow the chauffeur out of his seat the moment he runs over anybody. Even if you
can't identify him afterwards, you can probably get a line on him from the number of the
blown-up auto, the dynamite being planted so as not to blow the bumper away."--Omaha
World Herald


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Last updated 14 September 2005

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