A common slapstick trope is slipping on a banana peel, however the Mythbusters and others have shown that banana peels aren't as slippery as comedy would have you believe.

On the other hand, there are news reports of people slipping on banana peels and sustaining injuries:

Slips on Banana Peel, Killed. Jacob Bopp, a chauffeur of No. 1137 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, slipped on a banana peel yesterday and died withing a few minutes of a fracture of the skull. - The Evening World, October 30, 1917, Final Edition, page 12

One complication is that the type of banana popular today is the Cavendish, but prior to the 1950s it was the Big Mike, and it's possible the change to the Cavendish could have significantly reduced the danger of slipping on a peel.

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    I also wonder how common it was to a) have bananas, and b) throw the peels on the ground. When I eat a banana, it's generally at home (sliced on cereal, for breakfast). The peel goes into the compost bin - I don't toss it out the window into the road - even assuming (since I'm not a city person) that I could toss it that far. Even in urban areas, would munincipal trash collection have pre-dated the general availability of bananas?
    – jamesqf
    Oct 19, 2017 at 18:25
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    I did once actually slip on a banana peel -- about 55-60 years ago, I'm guessing. Don't recall much about the incident other it was indeed surprisingly slippery. Oct 19, 2017 at 18:33
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    This other question is a good read, and I believe the answer includes a lot of the information you're looking for; though perhaps not a direct answer to your question.
    – BlueBuddy
    Oct 19, 2017 at 23:02
  • @Thebluefish oh, I forgot to link to that question. That was the inspiration for this question.
    – Rob Watts
    Oct 19, 2017 at 23:11
  • @DanielRHicks I slipped on a banana peel on a concrete pedestrian bridge eight years ago. I saw it lying there but assumed the whole 'slippery peel' thing was only a TV gag...
    – Asher
    Oct 20, 2017 at 2:38

1 Answer 1



According to Slipped on Banana Peel: Atlanta man is minus two fingers on one of his hands The Times and Democrat 21 September 1911: A man slipped on a train car step, and had his fingers run over by a wheel.

The 07 November 1900 Evening Bulletin says Thomas Reed broke his leg 6 inches above the knee after slipping on a banana peel in front of Owens hardware store.

The 21 May 1901 Butte Inter Mountain reports that Dan Cullen had both legs severed just above the ankle after slipping on a banana peel and being run over by a train he was trying to board.

The 22 July 1902 Evening Bulletin reports that George Hamilton broke his right arm in two places after slipping on a banana peel.

The 28 October 1909 Neshoba Democrat reports that W. W. Cockrell hurt his leg after slipping on a banana peel.

The 18 October 1921 Evening Public Ledger reports that Michael Managan broke his skull after slipping on a banana peel and may die.

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    O.O My goodness, bananas were brutal! Those are some pretty gory incidents..
    – T. Sar
    Oct 20, 2017 at 13:53
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    Digitized version of all newspapers between 1789 and 1925? That's awesome! I'm glad you linked to that!
    – Rob Watts
    Oct 20, 2017 at 15:35
  • @RobWatts It's not all newspapers, but it is a lot
    – DavePhD
    Oct 20, 2017 at 16:47

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