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Cycling towards the future

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Bicycle law in Finland 1880–1920

In the agrarian and peripheral Grand Duchy of Finland, the challenges of the modern transport technology to the law made themselves known in the course of the nineteenth century. The first velocipedes found their way to Finland in the late 1860s but a bicycle boom only took place in the 1890s. The bicycles led to new risks and problems which had to be regulated somehow. This was done first by the self-regulation of bicycle clubs or associations, and then by police regulations (German: Policey) in various towns. The regulation of bicycling was only local and the same applied to automobile traffic at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, in Helsinki, for example, international multi-party traffic and transportation treaties were also applied in tandem with local norms to some extent. The article maintains that around 1900, local police regulation was still in an important means to deal quickly with the new problems caused by modernization and industrialization especially because of the slow and cumbersome parliamentary law-drafting processes.

Affiliations: 1: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, P.O. Box 4 (Fabianinkatu 24), 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland


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