Canada’s weirdest laws: cyclists must carry kerosene lanterns in Glace Bay

Cyclists used kerosene lamps before electrical streetlights became widespread throughout cities.
Cyclists used kerosene lamps before electrical streetlights became widespread throughout cities. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Cyclists in Glace Bay, N.S. be warned: if you are not carrying a kerosene lantern, which must be seen plainly, you may get in trouble as a result of an old, archaic law.

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Cyclists used kerosene lamps before electrical streetlights became widespread throughout cities. The lamps helped cyclists, pedestrians and horses navigate through the dark.

It’s possible the law is still on the books, somewhere in an old, dusty, forgotten tome. The law was probably designed to serve the functions of both street lights and traffic before the light bulb was invented in order to warn traffic of approaching cyclists at night.

The first bicycle lights were kerosene lamps which were utilized by cyclists in the late 19th century, which is likely when this law was passed in Glace Bay. Even though electrical lighting was invented not long after, most rural areas still used kerosene lamps until the 1940’s.

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It’s almost certain that current Glace Bay cyclists will not carry a kerosene lamp while cycling, as they most likely have working electric bike lights, which are required according to provincial laws.

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