1917 Kalispell Ordinance: Driving Instructions
I recently found an online directory of Kalispell City ordinances and thought it’d be intriguing to see what some of the ordinances of the past were. If I can find enough interesting material, I hope to share one from each year up until now. This week’s post will cover a Kalispell ordinance I found from 1917.
After reading the five page ordinance #340, you might think the streets were a mass of confusion before this Ordinance was passed. And you also might assume the Mayor and Town Council were fed up. Here is what this ruling covered:
Traffic must keep to the right. The ruling specifically indicated if you were passing a car going in a different direction, both must stay to the right, and if you were passing a car going in the same direction the one passing should drive on the left of the other one.
Cars must drive close to the right hand curb.
If you’re turning to the left or stopping, you must warn all following vehicles by extending your arm full from the shoulder in the direction of the opposite side of the street for at least two seconds.
All vehicles must have two sets of independently operated “breaks” (sic) in good working order and motorcycles need one set.
All motor vehicles must have a horn or other signalling device so they can give timely warning of their approach.
Between sunset (plus one hour) and and hour before sunrise, all motor vehicles must have a rear light that shows red rays with a white light on the “number” plate and there must be two white lights in the front of the car.
All motor vehicles must have muffler and muffler cut-outs are not allowed.
If you drive out of a building and across a sidewalk, you must stop within three feet of the sidewalk, and then drive no faster than three miles an hour across the sidewalk.
No driving while intoxicated. The same goes with riding horses or other animals.
No drivers under the age of 16.
If you don’t know how to drive, you’re not allowed to be behind the wheel.
No driving over the rate of 15 miles per hour. Further, no horse may be driven faster than ten miles on a street and six miles per hour in intersection. (How would you know how fast you’re going if riding a horse?)
No vehicle can park with its left side to the curb.
No horse or vehicle can be within 30 feet of a fire hydrant. And no vehicle can obstruct a street or cross-walk.
Horses were allowed to stop at certain places only long enough for the rider to mount or slight. Same with a vehicle – which could stop in certain places to let the riders out.
All traffic on Main Street and the Avenues have the right of way over side streets. (Now we have lights and stop signs which takes the guessing out of the equation.)
No vehicle could drive over a city hose.
No person on foot could pass or stand on any street intersection.
Nothing dangerous like a tack, nail, glass or crockery, could be tossed on the street.
Officers and employees of the city didn’t have to pay attention to these rules if they were working.
So what was the fine if any of these ordinances were violated?
If anyone violated the ordinance, the first offense would be punishable by a fine of $50 or less. A second offense was a fine between $5 and $100. A third offense would be between $10 and $300 or imprisonment of 30 days or less.
This was the start of driving rules that are almost all still in place in Kalispell. Now cars have blinkers to signal instead of hand signals. Speed limits have increased to 35 on most city roads. Other than that, most of these rules are still in place. One hundred and six years later and not much has changed!
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