Gilbert's Letter to The Times of 3 October 1902
Issue 36889, pg. 9 col F


The Motor Problem


Sir,--Sir R. Vesey Hamilton states that my motor was not stopped until it had travelled 40 yards from the scene of the accident. This is simply absurd. My car collided with the bicycle, and by the collision was at once turned obliquely into the ditch. Sir R. Vesey Hamilton was not on the spot; unfortunately, I was.

After this obvious inaccuracy on his part I do not think I need consider the remainder of his letter. As, however, he has concerned himself with my rate of travel, I may state for his information that I traversed the distance between my house and the scene of the accident (about 11½ miles) in 50 minutes. This is a trifle over the statutory pace, but I have not, so far, had sufficient experience of motor travelling to enable me to distinguish between a pace of 12 miles an hour and one of 14. I only know that at starting I gave my driver strict injunctions to confine himself to the legal speed, and that I checked and cautioned him whenever it appeared to me that he was exceeding it. Strictly speaking, he should have seen the lane (although it was not easily distinguished) and have rung his bell. This he did not do, and so I took upon myself the legal responsibility for the accident. I may add that my steam motor is only capable of achieving 20 miles an hour.

Your obedient servant,

Harrow Weald, Oct. 2.
W.S. GILBERT
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