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Home / History / First American Speeding Ticket (for 12 MPH!) Turns 144 Years old



The first U.S. speeding ticket was given on May 20, 1899 to an electric taxi driver who had reached the dangerously unacceptable speed of 12 miles per hour on a New York City street.

The ticket, written by NYC police officer Bicycle Roundsman Schuessler, was given to electric taxi driver Jacob German, who was behind the wheel of one of the approximately 60 electric taxis that were plying the streets of the Big Apple around that time. With early cars having top speeds barely in the double digits, it can be tough for modern man to remember how great of an advancement in technology early automobiles were. After all, back then, these cars were competing with horse-drawn carriages.


About the author: Andrew Greene


Now playing the role of grumpy old man in the foothills of Northern California’s Gold Country, Andrew has had a life-long love affair with vehicles of all sorts, from the bicycle he pedaled across the continent in 1991 to the armored personnel carriers he drove in the Army to the bamboo rafts, elephants, motorcycle taxis, ferries and buses he traveled by during the 13 years he lived and worked in South East Asia. Always eager to learn more about how the people of the world get from here to there in their day-today lives, he, a professional journalist, has been covering the vehicle industry for years.


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One Comment

  1. William Jackson Palmer, who founded Colorado Springs, was injured in a horse riding accident he used an electric car. He did not like gasoline cars. He bought an electric car, would have it drive him to the mountains until the batteries ran out and then have a team of horses pull him home. He died in 1909.

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