Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1962 Ape hanger high handle-barred bicycle photo - editorial response

One of Motorcyclist magazine's unwritten obligsations is to be forever on the alert for adverse publicity and/or legislation and to speak out for the safety and welfare of both today's and tomorrow's motorcyclists. The photo below prompted the accompanying letter.

Photo caption: It's different - Anthony Ruddy of Norco admits high-handled bike is "hard to ride but different."

Letter: January 14, 1962, Motorcycles - Undoubtedly most of your readers who viewed the Jan. 8 Southland page photo of young Anthony Ruddy and his high-handlebarred bicycle, did so with a chuckle.

According to your caption, Anthony states that his bike is "hard to ride, but different!" A true statement! At the price of being "different" he and thousands like him are placing their life and limb in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, this high-handlebar fashion is a "hand-me-down" style from the motorcycling fraternity. (In motorcycle circles these freak bars are referred to as "Ape-Hangers," for obvious reasons).

These high handlebars serve absolutely no functional purpose and are dangerous - both on motorcycles and especially on bicycles.

California's motor vehicles laws are rather loose-knit in this category. It is up to the discrtetion of the arresting officer as to just "how high" the handlebars must be before they are considered as "unsafe equipment." (We understand that 14 in. from handlebar mounting to the highest point on the bars is considered about safe maximum - and many of us feel that this is too high.)

For the safety of our youngsters on bicycles as well as for the minority of motorcyclists who prefer these unusual handlebars, some specific laws should be passed and enforced.

William M. Bagnall, Editor, Motorcyclist Magazine, Pasadena

1962 Ape hanger high handlebar bicycle Photo / Letter 1-Page available at www.DadsVintageAds.com

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