Motor cyclist fined for dangerous riding

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1914 court

At the Borough Police Court today, before the Mayor (Mr CC Graham), Alderman V Fowler, Alderman Rowntree, and Mr Joe Sinfield.

Herbert Oliver Wood, Folly Hall, Wibsey, Bradford, was summoned for driving a motor cycle in St Nicholas Street and Harcourt Place in a manner dangerous to the public on June 1st, and further with failing to produce his motor driver’s licence when demanded.

The Chief Constable said at about 8.25pm on Whit-Monday Detective Inspector Nawton and himself were standing at the corner of Huntriss Row (Harcourt Place end) when the defendant came along driving a motor cycle and side-car from the direction of the Grand Garage. He shot across the road in a straight line from the Grand Garage to St Nicholas Street, his hat flying off. He had got his engine apparently going at top speed. On recovering his hat he shot off again at a very reckless and dangerous speed and turned out of sight round St Nicholas Street. He did not drive in a straight line, but went in zig-zag fashion from one side to another. Two or three minutes later he appeared again at the same corner, coming along at a terrific speed. His hat blew off once more, and he (the Chief Constable) then got into the middle of the road and stopped him. It seemed that opposite the Royal Hotel, in going round the first time, he had stopped for a portmanteau. Coming out of the Royal Hotel he started off at a furious rate. There were a large number of people about at the time. When stopped defendant made light of it, and seemed to treat it as a joke. As soon as allowed to proceed he shot off again at the same pace. Twenty to twenty-five miles an hour was a moderate estimate. He (the Chief Constable) thought before stopping the defendant that he was irresponsible from some cause or another, and was a little surprised to find that he was quite sober.

Defendant said, “Why have you stopped me? I have not killed anybody.”

The Chief Constable was subjected to cross-examination by Mr GB Parker (Messrs Richardson and Parker) but maintained that twenty to twenty-five miles an hour was a very moderate estimate of the speed defendant was travelling at.

Inspector Nawton gave corroborative evidence.

PC Taylor stated that he saw the defendant going at a tremendous pace, and frightening people on all sides. There were a lot of people about and the motor cycle ran on to the footpath. It then swerved across the road.

Mr GB Parker said that this was the first time the defendant had had a case brought against him, and as it was a Bank Holiday he thought this case might have consideration.

Defendant was fined £2 including costs in the first case, and 10s including costs in the second.