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Author scores parliamentary first as cycling & motoring groups co-host history talk

Carlton Reid, writer of Roads Were Not Built For Cars, will speak about parliament's early attitudes towards motor car...

Carlton Reid, who recently published his book Roads Were Not Built For Cars, will speak about some of his historical findings at the Houses of Parliament next month, with his talk making some history of its own; the event will be jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group (APPMG) and the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) – the first time that has ever happened.

Reid, executive editor of the trade website, will be speaking in the invitation-only event on 19 November about parliamentary attitudes towards motoring prior to 1905, a time when motoring had yet to become widespread.

As his book recounts, there were very close links between cycling and many early motoring pioneers, including a number of firms that would later become household names for manufacturing cars starting out in the bicycle business.

He also highlights how many early motorists having a background of riding bikes – far removed from the depiction of “two tribes” of road users often reported nowadays.

Among parliamentarians who were early adopters of the car was John Scott-Montagu, Conservative MP for the New Forest and subsequently the 2nd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu – the family seat where his son would later establish the National Motor Museum.

Scott Montagu was the first MP to drive to the House of Commons, but previously had ridden there by bike. In 1903, he said that motorists “only wish to be included as part of the public who have the right to use the roads … No motorist has ever expressed a wish to monopolise the highways.”

The multimedia iPad edition of Reid’s book reached number one in the History category on Apples iTunes Store at the weekend.

The secretariats of both the APPCG and the APPMG are industry-funded – in the case of the former, by the UK Cycling Alliance, and the latter by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Motorsport Industry Association and the RAC Foundation.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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