Ten Traffic Firsts
First Time For Everything
Though the exact day and location of the first burnout is still be debated, we did find these treasures of American travel trivia.
1869 – Sylvester Roper of New Hampshire builds the first steam-powered motorcycle.
1900 - The first officially recorded motorcycle speed contest took place on July 31st at the Charles River Race Park in Boston. The winning bike was an Orient that was built by a company in Waltham, MA.
1901 - The first “motorcycle only” race was held at a 1-mile horse track in Los Angeles where Ralph Hamlin beat out three other racers aboard an Orient motorcycle.
1902 - The first road race for motorcycles took place in May on a 10-mile course between Irvington and Milburn, NJ.
1912 - The first time a man exceeded 100 mph on a motorcycle occurred on Dec 30th at the Playa del Rey Board Track in California. It was reported in 1907 that motoring pioneer Glenn Curtiss had gone 136mph but his machine broke before it was ever “officially” timed.
1914 - The first automated electric traffic signal was designed by Garrett Morgan, an inventor from Cleveland and used red and green lights.
1935 - The first “coin controlled parking meters” were invented by the Magee-Hale Park-O-Meter Company and installed in downtown Oklahoma City, OK.
1940 - The first sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, America’s first superhighway, open to riders. Hurrah, no traffic lights.
1967 - The first state helmet law is enacted when the Highway Safety Act threatens to withhold federal highway funding from states who don’t comply.
1983 - The first man to break the 200 mph barrier on a motorcycle is Elmer Trett at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.