Ok- I went to Cambridge the other day and found the Citizens Advice Bureau because I wanted to find out about the UK law as regards unicycling. I was given a printout from here. Although I’m pretty unhappy with the position we as cyclists have as regards not being allowed to ride legally on the pavement, I feel that changing the law to allow me to ride legally on the pavement would be a huge effort.
I had my first encounter with the authorities yesterday (Sunday). It was quiet, and as I saw a police car pull up in a parking bay across the one way street that I was about to cross in order to ride to the store where I work during the week, I thought to myself- as the situation looks safe and I’m doing no one any harm, ‘let me just see how they will respond to my riding on the pavement’. Without dismounting, I rode safely and in a controlled mannner across the road and made towards the store. Two officers stepped out of the car while this happened and once I had crossed and was riding past them, they asked that I didn’t ride on the pavement as is required of them by current UK law. I dismounted and said “ok,” very calmly. However, I did ask them what harm I was doing in riding (safely) on a quiet Sunday. They said something to the effect of “Although you may be riding safely, there cannot be one law for you personally and another for everyone else,” which I agreed with. When they said that unicycles ought to be ridden on the road, I asked whether I might be able to ask a little question. I could see that they were uncomfortable in performing their duty as it was quite preposterous to request that I ride on the road, so I thought I might see whether I might turn the situation to a productive one (for me at least).
They agreed anyway and so I asked them this (or something to this effect): “Being as it is my belief that it may in fact be more dangerous for me- not due to my competence as a rider, but as a result of motorist’s surprise and the relative slowness of my vehicle in comparison to other traffic- to ride on the road: do you (addressing the officers directly) personally, not from a legal standpoint, but personally think that I am justified in holding this point of view, because I’d like to know whether there is any point in trying to get the law modified.”
All of a sudden they said that they were very busy and could not answer the question and they made their way off in a different direction.
I don’t really blame them for feeling so uncomfortable and even though it wouldn’t have taken much time for them to have given a personal response, it would have undermined their professional position and would have taken the time away from the time that they could be spending catching some real miscreants and in fact allocating their time in activities that I would hope my money would go towards financing- paying them to make our country a better and safer place for everyone to enjoy.
Anyhow, to get to the point of this post, i was just wondering whether anyone else had had any brush-ins with the law in the UK or elsewhere worldwide; how you responded to it and whether there was any motion currently in place geared towards modifying current UK legislation and whether anyone knew of ways in which people like me, who basically don’t wish to waste police time, but want to still ride freely can support it.
Sorry- I know it’s kind of rant-y and dense, but I think there is a point somewhere in this post…
i have made the huge effort to change my style, which is total absence of capitalisation, in order to make my post easier on the eye and a little more readable.
but that’s tiring, so don’t expect such a huge effort anytime from me in the near future.:o