Today I’m taking off my motorcycle accident attorney hat, or helmet if you will, to bring you some motorcycle facts.
Motorcycles were first developed around the time of the 1860’s in the European countries of Britain, France and Germany.
There is no one person or date to credit for the “invention” of the motorcycle, because at that point in history a number of designers were developing their ideas for a motorized bicycle simultaneously, and in different places.
Motorcycle Facts – The First Motorized Bicycles
Motorcycles were an invention that followed bicycles, so as you might expect, the first designs looked like bicycles with some sort of engine awkwardly attached to them. For some models, the pedals were still present, to provide backup in case of (likely) engine failure.
Early versions were powered by coal-fired steam engines. By all accounts, these were noisy, bumpy, unreliable contraptions!
Motorcycle Facts – Bikes come to America
The first American bike was a steam powered machine and was patented in 1866 by Pierre Lallement. Another American, Sylvester Roper, developed a twin-cylinder “steam velocipede”, in 1866 although his career was cut short when he crashed and died during a demonstration of his motor-powered bicycle in Massachusetts.
Motorcycle Facts – The Internal Combustion Engine
Experimentation went forward with power sources such as compressed air, mechanized clockwork, and hydrogen gas. It was only when the gas-fueled internal combustion engine was developed by German engineer Gottlieb Daimler in 1885 that motorcycles became a practical means of transportation.
Along with the inflatable tire being invented in the 1890’s, motorized bicycles were on their way.
The Hildebrand & Wolfmuller was the first motorized bicycle available to the public for purchase. This company began production in 1894, although they didn’t last long as they were supplanted by more powerful designs.
E.J. Pennington, an inventor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is generally credited with coining the term “motorcycle” for his design in 1895 that was able to travel at speeds up to 58 mph.
Lee D. Gaber, Esquire, is an experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer, and a motorcycle enthusiast and rider. Please call 1-888-292-5352 (1-888-CYCLE-LAW) for a free consultation if you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident.