Nowadays it seems every month or so cities are being challenged to deal with a new form of transportation that doesn’t quite fit with local ordinances and is driving someone bats. Uber and Lyft come to mind, as well as Boise Greenbike. Electric bikes, razor scooters, skateboards, electric scooters, hover boards, Segways…
What was making teeth grind in 1912? Roller skates. “Boise Has Roller Skateritis” blasted the headline across the whole page on February 25 of that year.
Writer Thomas Ramage said, “All of the entire population of the city ranging from 7 to 16 years of age seems to have been smitten by the goddess of the roller skate and, at the present time there is a general epidemic of roller skateritis prevalent throughout the city and the suburbs.”
He described the rumbling of the skates and who you were likely to see wearing them from before dawn when the paper boy rattled by to noontime deliveries clattering about “until the shadows of the night begin not only to fall but until they have landed. As late as 10 o’clock, a stray child may be seen winding his way up Main Street and up Seventh on his way home after having been rolled, jolted, bounced and banged all day long on his patent roller feet.”
Ramage concluded the lengthy article with, “Boise has roller skateritis and has it bad. Instead of walking from one place to another the boys ask each other to roll up to the store, the dairy or the meat market. There is only one place that they refuse to roll in, and that is the woodshed, when the pater familias is awaiting their arrival with a board with convenient holes bored in it.”