1920s Motor Cyclist Fined

bikeOn 12th November 1928, William Naismith a 19 year old bricklayer residing at Mayfair, Station Road, Blantyre was fined £5 at Hamilton Sheriff Court for driving a motorcycle in a dangerous manner through Blantyre Streets. The motorcycle was similar to the one pictured, a powerful machine by the standards of the day.

The Glasgow Herald reported “The evidence to the effect was that Naismith had a young lady as a pillion passenger whom he was taking home to East Kilbride. At the excessive speed estimated by witnesses as being around 30 miles per hour, he turned out of Auchinraith Road into Main Street at High Blantyre. An approaching motor cyclist had to mount the pavement to avoid him. Naismith then collided with an approaching pedal cyclist about the middle of the roadway. He swerved on to the footpath to avoid any further damage, but unfortunately knocked down two pedestrians. As a third man rushed over to save a young child, the bike got in the way of him and knocked him too.”

Had this accident happened these days, the man would surely have been tested for alcohol. Not so common those days and this whole sorry saga unfortunately does sound like a drunken driver accident. The first breathalyzer in the UK wasn’t introduced until 1967, but other less reliable tests were conducted on drivers for a couple of decades prior to this.


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  1. I beileve this may have been my great grandfather!! Been looking for information on him for a while now, and this is the first article ive found!, thankyou,

  2. Hi Mike – Thanks for your email. Glad you’re enjoying all the stories. A Pillion, is a mostly UK term for a secondary pad or seat on a bike. It wouldnt have been a separate car, but simply a little seat, usually uncomfortable behind the driver. If you look very closely at the picture in this article, you’ll see it. 😉

  3. clovermcg@aol.com

    Hi Paul, I posted a comment at the end of this article. Kindly keep all these articles coming, I love reading them all – I am learning so much. Regards to you and Paula. Mike.

  4. Not to be funny, but the article says that he had a pillion passenger with him. Would this mean that the motorcycle had a side-car, similar to what the German soldiers rode in World War 2? Just wondering, since we Americans do not use the word pillion, as far as I know. Thank you.

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