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  #1  
Old 05-06-2018, 08:21 PM
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Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Just finished reading the thread about accidents in New Zealand and thought I'd answer that age old question of why the heck countries of the former British empire drive on the left side of the road. I've wondered and pondered this very question for years and a few months ago I read the answer. Can't recall where I read it but it makes a lot of sense.
Here goes!
The answer plain and simple goes back to midieval times. The knights being for the most part right handed would carry their lance in their right hands and thus when jousting, would need to approach their opponent from the left hand perspective and it has stuck all these years!
There you go!

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  #2  
Old 05-06-2018, 08:35 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

It's a theory...
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:35 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

As one of the 1st registrants to this, um, 'community' Jim, that was pretty cool
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:59 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Another one is that it went back to the days of the Roman empire. They passed their chariots on the right of each other so that their sword hands were free. In any event why did it change so that we now have two systems
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:12 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

hmm the flows of traffic in cities and elsewhere has to predate the age of chevaliers. Not to be difficult but this is a very dubious bit of a factoid
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  #6  
Old 05-06-2018, 09:28 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

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Originally Posted by KafkaKaffe
hmm the flows of traffic in cities and elsewhere has to predate the age of chevaliers. Not to be difficult but this is a very dubious bit of a factoid

Nothing dubious about it

https://www.worldstandards.eu/cars/driving-on-the-left/
Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road.
In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.
In Russia, in 1709, the Danish envoy under Tsar Peter the Great noted the widespread custom for traffic in Russia to pass on the right, but it was only in 1752 that Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna) officially issued an edict for traffic to keep to the right. In addition, the French Revolution of 1789 gave a huge impetus to right-hand travel in Europe. The fact is, before the Revolution, the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right. An official keep-right rule was introduced in Paris in 1794, more or less parallel to Denmark, where driving on the right had been made compulsory in 1793.
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:29 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Driving on the left is the correct way. It was done because cars were all manual, and this way the clutch and gear shift are together on the left which is much easier for the brain to comprehend.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:38 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

A variation: I always thought it was because of the hedgerows in Britain. Horseman, being primarily right handed, would ride on the left side of the road and therefore be protected by the hedgerow on the left and were then able to draw their sword and fight off attacks coming from the open road side (the right side).
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2018, 10:53 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

The same as why spiral staircases in castles always go clockwise. The defenders would find it easier to wield their swords against the attackers coming up the stairs.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:53 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

As you all know, well maybe, the Brits have decided lately to finally agree with most of the civilised World and cars will ride on the right side of the road beginning 1st of january 2019
And if it goes well, the trucks, or lorries, will also ride on the right side beginning of 2020
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:05 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

W
Quote:
Originally Posted by OILHEAD
As you all know, well maybe, the Brits have decided lately to finally agree with most of the civilised World and cars will ride on the right side of the road beginning 1st of january 2019
And if it goes well, the trucks, or lorries, will also ride on the right side beginning of 2020
I did not know that. It seems like it will be a massive undertaking.
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  #12  
Old 05-08-2018, 12:05 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Aw shucks, the Brits are just tired of the left side of their tires wearing out first.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:14 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beech
Aw shucks, the Brits are just tired of the left side of their tires wearing out first.
Wouldn't that be the right side of their tires?
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:22 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Naw, we colonials drive on the right and the left side wears out because we can see well on a left turn sweeper and hit the throttle. Don't believe any of that crap about road crown. Besides left turns here are on the average over the long, run longer. All adds up to just having fun.
I've read all that stuff about romans and others and swords. All related to train rail widths, so confusing.
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  #15  
Old 05-08-2018, 06:37 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Thought that was a German Russian thing.....

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All related to train rail widths, so confusing.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:13 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

I remember that on my first beemer (yes, the oilhead R1100R), there was à special lens in the headlight to focus the high beam on the right side of the road. Nothing about a ‘’British’’ Lens, so I suppose that there were some angry drivers against the BMW bikes in these days
But it all comes down to the fait that most men would use their right hand for their sword.
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:15 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpel
Just finished reading the thread about accidents in New Zealand and thought I'd answer that age old question of why the heck countries of the former British empire drive on the left side of the road. I've wondered and pondered this very question for years and a few months ago I read the answer. Can't recall where I read it but it makes a lot of sense.
Here goes!
The answer plain and simple goes back to midieval times. The knights being for the most part right handed would carry their lance in their right hands and thus when jousting, would need to approach their opponent from the left hand perspective and it has stuck all these years!
There you go!

Jim
Yup thats the correct explanation of the UK driving position.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:20 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OILHEAD
I remember that on my first beemer (yes, the oilhead R1100R), there was à special lens in the headlight to focus the high beam on the right side of the road. Nothing about a ‘’British’’ Lens, so I suppose that there were some angry drivers against the BMW bikes in these days
But it all comes down to the fait that most men would use their right hand for their sword.

Didn't you begin riding in the Middle Ages?
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:58 AM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

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Didn't you begin riding in the Middle Ages?
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Old 05-11-2018, 04:32 PM
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Re: Why do the British drive on the wrong side of the road?

I was there when it all started Joe! Looking for my age and all the time that has past don't ya think?

Jim
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