Muni Injuries

After doing the Muni a few times, I am convinced it is safer than Mountain biking (slower speeds, easier UPDs). Anyone like to share their injury experience? Including what if any safety gear was used. My thinking here is to get my wife to relax a little bit!!

I don’t think sharing injuries is likely to get your wife to relax.

I do think that MUni is safer than mountain biking for the reasons you state. Injuries, if they occur, are usually related to ankles, shins, and knees, with an occasional wrist or elbow.

Injuries? I jammed my middle toe pretty bad last week. I think it might be broken. Missed a pedal on a running free mount and wound up in a belly flop. It’s true though, seems like I can usually land feet first.

Ankle protection is usualy ignored or overlooked. I broke my ankle riding muni and I wasn’t wearing ankle supports which I had but wasn’t wearing. I had a pair of active ankles but I usualy only put them on for trials riding. I now always wear ankle supports for any kind of unicycling.

Most people use knee and shin, wrist guards or gloves, and some elbow pads. Some people wear ankle supports but a fewer number and usualy only those who have had previouse ankle injuries.

I prefer ASO ankle suports which are a lace up ankle wrap with figure eight straps to the striup active ankle type supports. They are less wide and I think more comfortable for walking and riding.

I would say it’s safer than mountain-biking on any given trail. Like you said, you tend to go much faster on a bike and crashes can be much nastier - not just because of the speed but bits of the bike tend to get in the way as you fall. In a unicycle crash you tend to land on your feet, even if you fall over afterwards.


Bikes are very dangerous. You can bale out from a uni very easily. I still have a slightly less than perfect shoulder from crashing my bike in March. Those handlebars don’t half get in the way. Don’t think I’ve ever had a muni crash that I didn’t get back on and finish the ride as planned. Been glad of the helmet and camelback full of padding a few times though.

For muni I don’t generally wear pads - I try 661s occasionally, but remove them when they start chafing my knees off. Never used ankle supports, but given the number of times you come flying off and end up running down rocky slopes that walkers are gingerly picking their way down, it might be a good idea. Less hot and sweaty than full leg pads too.

Three big safety advantages over mountain bikes:

  1. The most obvious one, speed. Speed = kinetic energy. Less speed, less impact force. That’s a no-brainer.

  2. No handlebars to block your exit. Whatever handles may be engineered onto unicycles, the smart ones will always be narrow enough that you can “run out” of them, to dismount onto your feet. This equals no endos.

  3. You’re not straddling a frame. Lose your balance on the “down” side of a hillside trail, and you may end up falling down the hill. Unicyclists can always jump off pretty instantly. This is one of the reasons why we don’t use toeclips.

But the bikes have at least one safety advantage over us. There are probably some others but let’s start with this:

  1. Freewheel. Though it takes much of the challenge out of the terrain, the freewheel allows you to coast through some nasty terrain where a unicyclist will be more likely to dismount. Though most dismounts are to your feet, any dismount could end up in a broken or twisted ankle, or other types of things.
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Here’s my 2cents.
What johnfoss mentioned hit a chord with me.
I agree with all the above mentioned reason why Uni is safter(speed, mismount,etc)

My only big injury was coming down a mountain on my brake-less Coker and lost control, which resulted in bad cuts and bruised. I had helmets and pads. I was wearing shorts and T-shirt so all my cuts were on the bare parts of the body. Since then I always wear LONG pants and if not too hot, I wear long sleeves.

All my near-misses occurred while riding down a steep hill. So having brakes is very important when MUni on big wheel uni like a 29 or Coker.

Now you might be wondering why MUni on a Coker to begin with?
Bigger wheel has it’s benifits of rolling over pebbles and rocks as you ride.

I love it how people assume that because you go slower you’re less likely to get injured. The mechanism of falling has just as much bearing on injury as how fast you’re going. There are many people on this forum with very nasty injuries who will proclaim that unicycling is safer than biking but that they don’t actually ride bikes much :roll_eyes:

I’ve had far more injuries doing MUni or Unicycling than I have biking. I’ve been a MTBker for 15yrs and the most I’ve ever had is 8 stitches to my arm. I’ve been unicycling for about 5yrs and I’ve had a broken ankle, a broken tibia/fibula, several sprained ankles, multiple stitches to my leg, multiple pedal bites to my shins, a broken wrist and an AC joint dislocation.

Bikes may go faster, but they’re not that much faster, and when you crash, the bike often takes some of the impact, whereas on a unicycle the rider takes the full impact. You’re also more likely to land on your side on a bike, whereas unicycle crashes have a high likelihood of landing your feet in awkward positions (just do a search of the number of ankle injuries on this website and you’ll see what I mean).

Not to put you off unicycling, but just thought I’d add some balance to this thread.

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Conversely a unicyclist is ejected at full speed, whereas you take the impact with your handlebars and front wheel on a bike.

I’m pretty sure that I need to get some ankle protection going soon, given the discussion here.

I’ve been a mountain biker for about 11 years, and a munier for 7 or 8. My injury rate’s been about the same for each, and I’ll echo what others have said.

On my bike, the bike has helped bear the brunt of many falls, and they’ve been primarily falls that send me sideways. My worst injuries have been limited to nasty abrasions.

On my muni, I’ve had only one really seriously bad fall, and it was at Northstar at one of the CA Muni Weekends. We were riding down one of the pretty technical descents, and there was a tough switchback turn to the right. It had a series of stair-step-like drops built in to it, and I landed wrong on one and my tire trampolined me straight off the muni. I flew right toward a large fallen log with nasty, sharp broken branches pointing precisely in my direction. My son, who was below me looking to see if I’d be able to ride the section, said I was pulling a “superman” as I sailed toward the log. I managed to block any unwanted penetration by said branches by sacrificing my right thumb to the tree; I don’t know if I broke anything, but my entire hand was bruised for the next three weeks. I wasn’t wearing any protective gear besides my helmet and some mtb gloves, but I don’t think there’s any gear that would have prevented my thumb from being hyperextended backwards, anyway. Now, I ride with 661s on my legs and wrist guards when I muni.

Maybe it’s just me, but I do tend to UPD on downhills forward–I’m jealous of those who slide off the backs of their munis–and it sends me flying. I’ve avoided serious injury so far (touch wood), but I’m not sure that there’s a huge difference in safety between MTB and muni. But if your wife doesn’t worry when you MTB, she shouldn’t be any more worried when you Muni.


no gruesome photos…i’m disapointed :stuck_out_tongue:

My muni injury was when i was being lazy and I didn’t put on my sixsixones and went out to unicycle. It was wet out too by the way. Well I jumped off the bench and my foot slipped off the pedal and then it went right into my shin. It was bleeding.This occured in January before my first movie.

I wish I had a photo of my broken ankle. My ankle was dislocated and my foot was at a grotesque angle to my leg. I was sure I was never going to walk again. Thanks to ortopedic surgury I am almost good as new. I have posted my xray before, I will try to find it and give a link to it.

I wish I had a photo of my broken ankle. My ankle was dislocated and my foot was at a grotesque angle to my leg. I was sure I was never going to walk again. Thanks to ortopedic surgury I am almost good as new. I have posted my xray before, I will try to find it and give a link to it.

I’ve gotten racked up doing most every adventure sport I’ve tried, and the worst accidents have come on a road bike (blown AC joint and many spills) and big wave body surfing (bounced off the bottom and dislocated my shoulder). No big injuries rock climbing–a miracle. But tech Muniing has beat the crap out of me, and several times I’ve been out of action for a month following bad falls.

My greatest fear, most every time out (and the same goes for all of the SB riders) is getting busted up. Yeah, it’s slower than MT biking but when it gets steep you have to stay over the wheel and when things go wrong you often fly off face first. And when it’s rocky, that usually leaves a mark. And that’s to say nothing about all the tweaked ankles and knees and so forth from all those drops onto off-camber surfaces. We rode G Spot last Sunday and afterwards Jess Reigel looked liked he’d been in a bad street fight.

So yes, Muni might not kill you, but IME it’s not especially safe when you’re on steep tech ground and going for it.


Maybe if you had 15 years of uni experence you wouldn’t hurt yourself.

I sometimes forget that I rode a bike for 25 years before I started to Mt bike. I did hardcore mt bike in hawaii for 14 years. Now I ride uni. I rode a uni 1 year before I went off road. Now I have two years of crazy muni under my belt.

Bottom Line: My injury rate was higher on a mt bike.

I wear more armor on my uni than i did on my mtb…but i think i’ve just gotten more careful…

I have not been seriously injured on my uni… most times that i lose control, i can just step off it…

I started wearin leg armor, and it boosted my confidence level plenty.

most common injury: ripped shins and calves from not wearing leg protection.

worst injury: neck injury from a head dive (helmet doesn’t help)

most frustrating injury: poison ivy

honorable mention: broken finger from hitting a tree

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I try to keep in mind, the more I brace one joint (e.g., ankle) the more stress gets translated to the adjacent joints (e.g., knee). There are trade-offs.