The news of June 29, 1896, that is. I came across this story in the New York Times archives (which are free and online, which is just one more reason I can't get any work done if I sit at a desk with internet). I've typed out the text of the article below, and a scan of the original is after the jump. Naturally, it's all copyright New York Times.
WANTED: A GENERAL LAW
Bicyclists in Connecticut Desire to Have Local Ordinances Similar
BRIDGEPORT, Conn., June 28. - There is no general law in this State regarding bicycle riding, but that matter is attracting so much attention just now that it is probable that the next General Assembly will be called upon to pass such a law. In nearly every city and large town in the State the authorities have passed bicycle ordinances governing the speed of bicycles and the use of lanterns and bells. While they all aim at the same object, the provisions in some instances are utterly dissimilar. For that reason it is argued a general law is advisable. The laws relating to bells on bicycles are as follows:
Ansonia - Every bicycle must have a bell ti be rung sufficiently to warn all persons of its approach.
Willimantic - A suitable bell must be attached, to be rung whenever the occasion is such as to require the warning of approach, or whenever there is danger to any person or vehicle by reason of such approach.
Danbury - Must ring or blow a whistle before passing crosswalk.
New-Haven - There must be attached to the wheel [ed. note: 'wheel' in olden days was sued to mean 'bicycle'] a bell of sufficient power to be heard 100 feet, to be rung within 30 feet of crosswalks and cross streets.
In Hartford, a proposed ordinance provides that the bell must be one which can be easily and instantly rung and the rider shall give reasonable warning, by sounding the bell, to any person in danger of collision with the bicycle.
Stamford and New London have no provision as yet, but committees have the matter under advisement.
Bridgeport - The rider must ring a bell or blow a whistle at all crosswalks.
Waterbury - All must have bells, which, when rung, must be heard 100 feet away.
The question of "scorching" has thus far received little consideration from the lawmakers of the cities. Of late, however, there has been a demand for some restrictions on fast riding in the streets. New-Haven, Ansonia, and Bridgeport place no restrictions on speed.
Danbury places the limit at six miles. Waterburt at eight and Middletown at six. Hartford proposes six miles and Willimantic ten on some streets and eight on others.
It is not necessary to carry lanterns in Ansonia, Willimantic, or New-Haven. Hartford has no requirement for lanterns in the proposed ordinance. In Danbury, Stamford, Bridgeport, Waterbury, and Middletown, cyclists are compelled to carry lanterns after sundown. They must be kept lighted, and in Middletown it is required that the illuminating power of lantern shall be such that it can be plainly seen 100 yards ahead.
In every place where there have been laws passed regarding bicycle riding, it is made unlawful to ride on the sidewalks. The penalties for violation of the ordinances vary in different cities. In Stamford and Putnam there is no penalty provided for violation of the ordinance. In Ansonia the maximum fine is $50 [ed. note: that's $1,230.68 adjusted for inflation!]; Willimantic, $7; New-Haven, $25; Hartford, $15; Bridgeport, $15; Waterbury, $25, and Middletown $10.
Here's the article as it originally appeared: