Letter to Editor: Rockefeller and e-bikes

To the Editor:

The second edition of “Mr. Rockefeller’s Roads: The Untold Story of Acadia’s Carriage Roads” by Ann Rockefeller Roberts has some documentation on Mr. Rockefeller’s intend about “motor traffic.”

See pages 141-142, which quotes from his letter to Secretary of the Interior Ray Lyman Wilbur of Aug. 16, 1931 (Rockefeller Archive Center, Tarrytown, N.Y.).

The letter supports both views of “motor traffic.” Mr. Rockefeller wrote “open only for the use of horses, horse-drawn vehicles and pedestrians and not for motor traffic” and “it would be my hope that these roads would continue for the long future to justify themselves as horse roads only.”

However, he also that this would be this be “for a period of at least twenty five years.”

So check the reference if you so desire.

My opinion is that Mr. Rockefeller would include electric bicycles in the definition of “motor traffic.” The Seal Cove Auto Museum has a display of “motor” bicycles and “motorcycles” manufactured by the Pope Manufacturing Company and other companies dating from the early 1900s. The Pope Manufacturing Company began manufacturing electric automobiles in 1897, and began manufacturing Pope motorcycles in 1902. One of the first patents for electric bicycles was issued at the end of 1895 by Ogden Bolton Jr.

Perhaps only Class 1 e- bicycles in specific areas with some documentation of need by individual users might be considered.

Walter J. Healey

Bar Harbor

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