The Good Roads Movement
occurred in the United States
between the late 1870s and the 1920s. Advocates for improved roads led by bicyclists
turned local agitation into a national political movement.
Outside cities, roads
were dirt or gravel
in the winter and dust in the summer. Early organizers cited Europe
where road construction
and maintenance was supported by national and local governments
. In its early years, the main goal of the movement was education for road building in rural areas between cities and to help rural populations gain the social and economic benefits enjoyed by cities where citizens benefited from railroads
and paved streets. Another important motivation was they wanted to ride their bicycles
on good country roads.
The Good Roads Movement was officially founded in May 1880, when bicycle
enthusiasts, riding clubs and manufacturers met in Newport, Rhode Island
to form the League of American Wheelmen
to support the burgeoning use of bicycles and to protect their interests from legislative discrimination. The League quickly went national and in 1892 began publishing Good Roads Magazine
. In three years circulation reached a million. Early movement advocates enlisted the help of journalists, farmers, politicians and engineers in the project of improving the nation's roadways, but the movement took off when it was adopted by bicyclists.
Groups across the country held road conventions and public demonstrations, published material on the... Read More