Cycle Trades Safety League

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Text on Button Cycle Trades Safety League
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Red ring around outer edge of button with whitish yellow text. Inner circle has an illustration of a yellow bicycle on a gradient green to greenish white background.

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Cycle Trades of America (CTA) was founded in 1918 as a trade organization comprised of motorcycle and bicycle parts and accessory makers. Bicycle use in the United States had declined since its “Golden Age” in the 1890s and the CTA’s objective was to promote and publicize cycling. Headquartered in New York City, the CTA oversaw advertising, meetings, and trade shows. The organization was largely responsible for the successful marketing of cycling to boys through ad campaigns that emphasized independence, citizenship, and mobility. The CTA also promoted bicycle safety to address parents’ concerns that their children would be injured or killed by motorists. One of the programs it developed, the Cycle Trades Safety League, was heavily promoted in magazines such as Boys Life. In the ad pictured here from 1938, readers are offered a “beautiful bicycle pin and Safety League membership card FREE” for pledging to obey safety laws while cycling.


Cycle Trades of America [Advertisement]. (1938, October). Boys Life, 28(10), 31.

Herlihy, D. V. (2004). Bicycle: The history. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Catalog ID CL0130