Speeding tickets are the “eternal enemy” of every driver, but do you know when the world’s first ticket was written, and to whom?
Each year, authorities in the US issue nearly 41 million speeding tickets, equivalent to 1 ticket written every second. With 1 in every 6 Americans getting a speeding ticket at some point in their driving career, and some tickets are worth more than the average person’s income. In a month (or even a year in some rare cases), many people wonder: “Who is the unlucky person to receive the world’s first speeding ticket?”.
This is clearly not an easy question to answer, and in fact there is a debate about who really got the first speed ticket. The reason lies in how you define the “penalty ticket”. Although there were cases where someone was fined for speeding, they did not receive a written ticket, and so the debate began. Here, we will take a closer look at the story of the world’s first speeding ticket.
The first speeding fine was issued on January 28, 1896 to Mr. Walter Arnold. He was driving through Paddock Wood in Kent, UK at the time and was traveling at about 13 km/h. Although this is not a fast pace, Mr. Arnold was actually running as fast as 4 times the allowed limit at the time./
At the time of the violation, the limit was only 3.2 km/h, and even so, drivers are required to have a flag bearer in front of the vehicle to warn oncoming drivers. When a police officer noticed Arnold was “flying by”, he jumped on his bike and gave chase.
Since the average walking speed is around 5-7 km/h and the average cycling speed is 20-30 km/h, you might think that the officer wouldn’t take too long to catch up with Arnold. . However, the chase lasted up to 8km before the man driving was arrested. Mr. Arnold was then escorted to a judge, who decided to fine him a shilling.
Although he was probably not happy about paying the fine, this incident actually helped Arnold’s business thrive. As the owner of one of the first car dealerships in the UK, Arnold made a living selling classic Benz cars (the forerunner of the Mercedes-Benz manufacturer) that he imported from Germany. As you can imagine, he was fined for speeding while driving a company car.
It follows the case of Walter Arnold by several years, but many argue that the first genuine ticket was written in 1904 in Dayton, Ohio. Since the ticket given to Mr. Harry Myers was an actual written copy, it can be assumed that it was indeed the first ticket. Furthermore, Ohio during the early 20th century was inhabited by many automotive designers and engineers who contributed to the development of the industry, and that may also lend credence to this claim.
When Harry Myers was penalized, he was traveling at about 20 km/h in a restricted area of 13 km/h on straight roads and 6.5 km/h on curves. As was the case with Arnold, Myers was also detained by a biking officer, and was given the first handwritten speed ticket in history on West Third Street./
Although it has not been fully confirmed yet, there are many doubts that Harry Myers has the “honor” of receiving the first ticket that is director and actor Harry Myers, who has participated in making a number of silent films in the early 1900s. If it’s really the same person, then Harry Myers is indeed famous for more than one would think.