"The right to make use of an automobile as a vehicle of travel," wrote Justice Ladd, "is no longer an open question." n39 "The owners thereof have the same rights in the roads and streets as the drivers of horses or those riding a bicycle or traveling by some other vehicle."
The Kansas Supreme Court struck down the Topeka ordinance and reversed Swift's conviction, declaring that [each] citizen has the absolute right to choose for himself the mode of conveyance he desires, whether it be by wagon or carriage, by horse, motor or electric car, or by bicycle, or astride of a horse, subject to the sole condition that he will observe all those requirements that are known as the "law of the road."
The right to travel by the vehicle of one's choice was thought to be as important as any personal freedom recognized under the Constitution.
The ninety and nine of every hundred people of this and other countries will not abandon the public thoroughfares to a single class comprising less than 1 per cent of all the population. If a selfish, reckless, and indulgent class must run faster than the majority of mankind, let them build their speedways and kill each other if they will, but they must not be permitted to continue to terrorize and kill the people whose toil and tax maintain the public thoroughfares.
Representative Cousins stated that fines and arrests did little to deter speeders, who simply paid the fines and continued speeding. n98 "Horrible and gruesome incidents are of almost daily occurrence," and the recklessness of automobilists "has bespattered boulevards with blood." n99 Representative Cousins went on to state, it should be said in justice to many automobilists, that after running over people they have stopped and rendered quick assistance and have furnished flowers for the funerals of their victims, although in a great many instances it appears that the greatest utility which high-speed gearing accomplishes is getting away from the corpse before the machine numbers can be detected.