New Road Laws in Australia - A unicycle is a bicycle.

“Orbach, Julian” <> writes:

> * Must keep one hand on the handle-bars at all times

I’d like to see them enforce that.

Some time ago, on this list, someone posted a message about the laws on
unicycles in New South Wales (Australia). There was some possibility for
confusion about whether a unicycle was a bicycle or a toy vehicle, under the
law. Well, all the states in Australia are trying to come up with uniform Road
Laws (see and Now it is a lot
clearer - according to the new draft proposal (likely to become law later this
year), the definition of “bicycle” includes unicycles. Remembering that I am not
a lawyer, here are some of the differences between “bicycle” and “wheeled
recreational vehicle”: Bicycles riders:
* May ride on most roads
* May not ride on the footpath
* Must wear an approved safety helmet
* Must keep one hand on the handle-bars at all times
Note: Riders under the age of 12 (and sometimes, adults accompanying them) get
special dispensation to ride on the footpath in some situations. I have
been unable to confirm whether bicycles need a working bell, a working set
of brakes and a rear reflector, but I assume that is the case - it was
when I was a kid. Wheeled Recreational Vehicle riders:
* May only ride on small roads (no painted lanes)
* May ride on the footpath, but must give way to pedestrians
* May normally ride on a bicycle track, but must not obstruct bicycle
riders. Now, I know some people are crying out that “Unicycles are NOT
bicycles!” on general principle, and other big-wheel fundamentalists are
rubbing their hands in glee, and saying “At last! Unicycles treated
equally to bicyclists. Now I can ride down the main streets of the city!”.
However, I think most unicyclists (myself included) would properly belong
under the category of riders of “Wheeled Recreational Vehicles”. Whatever
your views, there are number of ways of sharing them with the appropriate
Australian authorities: National Road Transport Commission (who drafted
the new rules) Federal Minister
for Transport:
Your local state minister for transport Julian Orbach

Re: New Road Laws in Australia - A unicycle is a bicycle.

> Now it is a lot clearer - according to the new draft
> proposal (likely to become law later this year), the definition of “bicycle”
> includes unicycles.

so now when you mount the sui-cycle of death you are really mounting the
sui-cycle of litigation?.. which is ten times more likely to hurt you…
that’ll impress the crowds and make the open road safer than the mall.

perhaps a Unicycle could be caterogised as a Unicycle? :slight_smile:

cheers Harold

ps Julian… have you heard anything from the fringe games people?

        Harold Jarvie Wellington New Zealand
        <a href=""></a>

do i need to wear a helmet.

:astonished: :frowning: :thinking:

Respect for the 12 year bump.

I doubt it, I’ve never been held up.

I’d say it depends on the activity. I always use a helmet when:

  • Riding where there are cars (road riding)
  • Racing, on anything faster than a 24"
  • MUni
  • Trials
  • Street

No, I don’t do much Trials or Street myself, but those are obvious activities where a smart person would protect their noggin.

I was curious about this too, so I looked it up. It comes under state legislation and each of Australia’s states have slight variations in road laws. Also, I have no law background, thus my interpretations may not be fantastic. I reviewed several of the state law documents that I could find online and the laws regarding unicycles are fairly uniform (and explicitly mentioned).

Australia has mandatory helmet laws for bicycles. Under the various road rules acts of each state, a unicycle is classified as a “wheeled recreational device” and not a bicycle. There appears to be no requirement under Australian law for a person to hear a helmet while using a wheeled recreational device.

This is a pretty typical definition given in the various legistative documents:

Two things I found interesting were these snippets (similar wording appeared in each state’s legislation):

I expect that if you were riding your 36er in a bike lane with a helmet on you could consider yourself exceedingly unlucky to be ticketed; it would be entirely reasonable for a judge to consider you under bicycle law in this case.

So, despite the law, my opinion is that you should decide at the outset of your ride whether you consider yourself to be riding a wheeled recreational device (and stay off the roads) or riding a bicycle substitute (and wear a helmet).

Probably a sensible thing to do… =)



i only wear a helmet when doing street, trials and when in events like this one.

thats me at the end.

No cahnge to definition it seems

The Australian Road Rules as at Feb 2012 (is there any later?) still has a unicyle as a WRD.

However I have been amde aware that South Oz mandates it ias a bike. As far as I can ascertain (ie I cannot see anything to the contrary):
(1) I must fit brakes, bell and light
(2) I am able to ride on any road that a bicyclist can and can make use of the bike lanes
(3) Am not generally allowed to ride on footpaths

For the record my unicycle is my serious commuting and recreational transport as indicated by my long distances each year. (I can no longer ride a bike - health issues).

Obviously, in complying with this law I would be in quite substantial danger, would be a severe nuisance to other road users. Either that or I restrict myself pretty much to any form of using my unicycle as a commute option in a practical sense except except where there are shared use paths.

Someone tell me, are the legislators in South Oz seriously aware of what a unicycle is?

BTW, South Oz has ridiculously had unicycles as BIkes since 2000, even though it was previously and appropriately a Wheeled Recreational Device.

It seems that while you cannot ride safely on paths, you are perfectly entitled to ride two abreast along Henley Beach Road. THOugh you will have to fit brakes and a bell first.

Do South Oz legislators even know what a unicycle is?

Hey Colin

Still riding, Don’t worry about any laws.

If you don’t mind, what type of ailment makes riding a bicycle out of the question but riding a unicycle okay? My wife rides a recumbent bike, and was able to go back to riding it sooner after her back surgery than she could if she only had a conventional bike.

The unicycle-as-bike legislation sounds a little un-formed. They have recognized unicycles, but nothing beyond that. While brakes aren’t really necessary for riding on level ground, convincing law enforcement of this is usually not successful. But many of us have brakes on our road unis. I also use a bike bell. I don’t use lights myself, but they would not be difficult to install. Then you would (presumably) be totally legal! :slight_smile:

Fortunately, that hasn’t happened [yet] where I live, but Australia’s treasurer has just announced that we are entering “an age of global responisbility,” so it seems safe to assume that tightened regulations for Australian unicyclists and others will sooner or later reach these shores, if they haven’t already. Apparently, unicyclists ticketed for bicycle infractions around here can usually win in court, but if the law learns to “recognize” them, the old a-bike-has-two-wheels defense will no longer work.

Elbow did it but the wrists were on the way aout anyway.

I could have used a recumbent but they suck for winding in and out of tight spots.

Yeah, I know every bent rider will dispute this - but it’s still the fact - don’t see any bents leave the road via a bike/pram ramp thru the curb for example. I prolly could have used a flat bar too but I have always liked riding on the drops.

As it is I now enjoy my riding the uniccycle so much that, even if I could get back on a bike, I would stick with the unicycle. The time taken is not an issue for me at this stage of my life. And while cyclists get grief from averyone else, I get nothing but positive vibes.

On unicycles being recognised separately, in Perth we have a public transport policy that differentiates us from cyclists.

As a result we can carry them on buses and are not subject to peak-hour restrictions. (As long as it is chainless.)

Short wheelbase recumbents can be almost as maneuverable as regular bikes, at least if you have the skills of a unicyclist. The long kind definitely need more room. My wife has both. The downside of the short one is the twitchy handling; it’s a lot more twitchy when going fast.

I don’t think you would like a flat bar either; going over bumps can still beat up your wrists pretty bad. Enjoy the unicycle!