Next Nature Kills

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
September 13th 2011


Today, 122 years ago, on 13 september 1899, Henry Bliss became the first pedestrian known to be killed by an automobile in North America. Although not the first, he was certainly not the last victim of this invention that would soon be part of our next nature.

Bliss, a Manhattan real estate salesman, had just stepped off a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West (a few blocks south of the American Museum of Natural History) when he was struck by a passing taxicab. It knocked him unconscious, crushing his skull and chest. He died the following morning. The driver of the cab, an electric-powered vehicle, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. The charges were dropped after it was determined that Bliss’ death was unintentional. On the centennial of his death, Citystreets, a safety-awareness organization, placed a plaque at the site:

Here at West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry H. Bliss dismounted from a streetcar and was struck and knocked unconscious by an automobile on the evening of September 13, 1899. When Mr. Bliss, a New York real estate man, died the next morning from his injuries, he became the first recorded motor vehicle fatality in the Western Hemisphere. This sign was erected to remember Mr. Bliss on the centennial of his untimely death and to promote safety on our streets and highways.

Bliss was not the first pedestrian traffic fatality ever recorded anywhere, however. At least two other people are known to have died before him, including Irish scientist Mary Ward, who was run over by a steam-powered car in 1869 in County Down, possibly making her the first auto-traffic victim in the world.

Source: Citystreets.org, Wikipedia
Photo: Citystreets unveiled a historical marker Sept. 13, 1999, at the site of the first U.S. pedestrian automobile fatality. (Courtesy Citystreets.org)
This article first appeared on Wired.com Sept. 13, 2007.

Via Wired

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!

 

Comments are members only. Login to your account and join the technology debate.

LOGIN
Not a member? Join us

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

Join us!
Already a member? Login.