Locomotive and Highways Act 1896
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of multiple engines revving up and down the country, the Locomotive and Highways Act 1896 kick started a string of standardised rules we all know and still abide by today.
Motor vehicles less than 3 tons were no longer weighed down by restrictive measures. The new speed limit was set at 14MPH and a new wave of encouragement washed over a nation of automobile lovers. Lights became compulsory along with “an instrument capable of giving audible and sufficient warning”, heavy locomotives had to be licenced with the county and all drivers must stop by the request of a police constable or person “in charge of a restive horse”.
To celebrate the lifting of restrictions, a newly formed British Motor Car club staged an informal drive from London to Brighton. Fifty eight vehicles entered, thirty five started, and twenty five arrived safely in Brighton. Before the start, the Earl of Wincilsea and 7th Earl of Nottingham solemnly tore up a symbolic red flag and is still commemorated every November to date.
The infamous London to Brighton Run (originally known as The Emancipation Run) is governed by the Royal Automobile Club and is the longest running motor event in recorded history. It also featured the Duryea, built by the Duryea Motor Wagon Company and the first American Car to feature in Europe.
Although explicitly stated that the run is not a race, Leon Bollee’s 3hp tricycle tandem 2-seater achieved the best finishing time of 3:44:35, with an average speed of 13.91mph. Apart from Leon’s wife Camille trailing only 15 minutes behind, Henry Finch-Hatton, Otto Mayer and Emile Mayade arrived in Brighton 1-2 hours later.
Skip 122 years and after a lot of tea consumption, biscuit dipping and number plate debating, a verdict recently passed allowing coach lines to stay on number plates which is good for you because you can now up-sell number plates with coloured coach lines and blue side badges using our Trade System.