Police problems..(uk)

I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They told me
am getting a caution sent in the post to my address.

Anyone know the law on unicyle classification in the UK and wheather it
applies to me…

Ewan.

PS. I just can’t believe it…

RE: Re[2]: Police problems…(uk)

John Foss wrote:

> PART V - SUGGESTED POLICY: In legal situations, treat your unicycle like a
> bicycle. In most cases, it makes the most sense to follow the rules for bikes
> rather than for pedestrians or other types of vehicles.

>From what I have understand of the unicyclist’s attitude (me included), we
want the best of both worlds. We want to be treated like a bike when it comes to
being allowed to ride on the road, bike-paths (or British bridle-ways, whatever
they are :-)) But, we want to be treated like pedestrians when it comes to
compulsory bike-helmets, riding on the footpath/pavement/sidewalk.

My recent police story demonstrates my point: Two weeks ago, I was riding with a
friend - who is a bit of a maniac on one wheel. We needed to get across a
reasonably busy road. He just rode straight into traffic to get across. I played
it safe and responsible: I rode along the footpath to a nearby T-intersection,
crossed at the pedestrian crossing on green, and waited, on my unicycle, for the
green to cross the next road.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of bored cops also waiting at the lights.

“Excuse me mate, do you you have a helmet” said the male, pulling out a
note-book.

I politely explained that, under New South Wales law, a unicycle was not a bike,
and I didn’t have to wear one. (I am actually not sure about this - I am basing
it on a post to rec.sport.unicycling about 3 years ago, but I tried to sound
like I knew what I was talking about.)

When I said “It’s not a bike.” he asked “What is it?” I explained it was a
unicycle, a toy vehicle under NSW law - it is treated like a skateboard.

“In that case, you can’t ride it on the footpath.”

(In the end, he didn’t booked me (perhaps because I sounded so incredulous that
he would do so) and we agreed I should walk it the 10 metres to the nearby
bike-path, which I was (apparently) allowed to ride on.)

> NUTSHELL:
> 1. Ride responsibly. If your skills aren’t solid, stay away from people and
> property!

I agree - unicyclists are, in a small way, ambassadors for us all. Unicyclists
can endanger themselves, but shouldn’t endanger others. However, I don’t think
me (or the IUF) having this attitude is going to do much good. The danger
element and the show-off element is an integral part of unicycling. I am tempted
to go so far as saying “responsible riders may be good ambassadors, but they are
not very representative” - however that’s probably unfair.

Also, there is always going to be a conflict between the differences in
perceived danger between the rider and the passers-by. (Another story: I once
was riding along a wide footpath, and I saw, in the mid-distance and old man
(walking in a slightly tipsy way, studying the form guide) coming towards me. I
tried to size up which side he was going to be on, so I could ride on the other
side. However, he was going everywhere, and I couldn’t do it safely, so I
dismounted (gracefully) about 4 feet in front of him, and walked around him. He
got quite irate at me, calling out what he would do to me if I ran into him - a
bit strong given he was the one bouncing off things, while I was the one
watching him, and playing it safe.)

>2. Be nice. Do as the officer asks, or politely engage in
> a discussion of what you think is appropriate.

This is just common-sense in dealing with authority. It is worth mentioning

  • the officer is probably a little unsure about their legal position. So don’t
    push it, but try to keep them on your side, and re-assured.

> 3. When in doubt, follow the rules for bikes.

See above. I actually think it is more appropriate to say “follow the rules
for skaters (skateboards, roller-skates or inline-skates)” They, too, travel
faster than pedestrians but much slower than cars, and have a perceived
high-risk of falling.

Julian

Re: Police problems…(uk)

Ewan. wrote:
> I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They told
> me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address.
>
> Anyone know the law on unicyle classification in the UK and wheather it
> applies to me…
>
> Ewan.
>
> PS. I just can’t believe it…

Did they tell you what law you were contravening?

My (very old) copy of the Unicycling FAQ says…

  1. What is a unicycle under the law?

    Note: These are the opinions of laymen, and should not be considered
    legal advice.

    United Kingdom Someone recently posted on uk.rec.cycling implying that
    it is legal to ride a bicycle on the pavement (US Sidewalk) as long as
    the wheel size doesn’t exceed 20". This got me wondering whether it was
    true, and if so what the implications might be for unicyclists. So, it
    was back to the library to look through the law books.

         The Highway Code goes through the cycling laws and makes it
         fairly clear that there should be no problem with riding on the
         road. But forget about The Highway Code, what it *doesn't* give
         is a legal definition of a cycle. That's what I managed to find:
    
         '"Cycle" means a bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four or more
         wheels, not being in any case a motor vehicle.'
    
         So cycle laws don't cover a unicycle. There is nothing about
         unicycles anywhere in the road traffic legislation. I'm not
         going to wade through the whole of English law looking for any
         reference to unicycling, so if anyone knows of a reference
         elsewhere I'd be interested. It seems that it is quite legal to
         ride a unicycle on the pavement in England. Does anyone know
         what the law says in the rest of the UK?
    
         If anyone fancies getting a copy of this definition (you never
         know when it might be useful), my source is:
    
         Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th edn, vol. 40 (Road Traffic),
         published in 1983 by Butterworths, London.
    
         Danny Colyer/bs1dwc@bath.ac.uk
    

I believe the reference to 20" wheels is because, at this size, a bicycle is
classed as a toy rather than a vehicle. Don’t know if that would apply to
unicycles. What size is your wheel anyway?

I wonder if they would’ve been happier for you to ride in the road? A number of
people (in various countries) have reported being stopped by the police - at
least one of whom was told to ride in the road - but I don’t recall anybody
being officially cautioned. Cheer up, maybe you’ve achieved a first…

Regards, Mark.


Mark Wiggins, | markw@ftel.co.uk +44 (121) 717 6255 Fujitsu Telecom Europe
Ltd,|----------------------------------------- Solihull Parkway, | o Birmingham
Business Park, | In the land of the pedestrian, /|\ Birmingham, | the
one-wheeled man is king. << ENGLAND. | O

Re: Police problems…(uk)

Too late now, but to send you a caution they have to have reason for it - did
you ask them at the time what that was ?

The short answer - to avoid my witterings - is - I dunno. However:

According to the faq - which may or may not be correct - in the highway code, a
cycle is a bicycle, tricycle or cycle having >=4 wheels. However, this assumes a
bicycle has 2 wheels ! Assuming there’s nothing in the Highway Code, the
definition in The Concise Oxford English Dictionary is that a bicycle is a
“two-wheeled, pedal-driven road vehicle” (think I got that right…). Still
doesn’t seem to fit. Does this put a a uni in the same class as a
skateboard/snakeboard/rollerblades? Which are you more likely to be complained
to about - using the road or the pavement

  • I suspect the road in the case of skate stuff anyway.

However, if it says anywhere that one shouldn’t cycle on the pavement - in the
same dictionary a cycle is a " bicycle, tricycle, or similar machine". Sounds
pretty close to a uni.

I suspect you’ve just been unlucky - a few nights ago I passed some police
standing around, who didn’t say a thing, while a few months back, just about to
wheel my uni. across the road (no kerb practice…), a passing policeman asked
if I could ride it, so I gave him a quick demo…don’t think he was trying to
nick me either…

Perhaps the bloke in question was taking the mickey or just being arsy (both not
exactly unheard of…) - so maybe your caution won’t ever get sent. It’d
certainly be interesting to see what it says on it if it does.

BTW, the police are supposed to be clamping down on errant cyclists - especially
cycling on pavements, without lights, or jumping lights. I think I heard
something about spot-fines coming in, for that matter - another reason to find
out the legal position !

Jon

Ewan. <e.i.crichton@ncl.ac.uk> wrote in article <34D733D0.D44@ncl.ac.uk>…
> I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They told
> me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address.
>
> Anyone know the law on unicyle classification in the UK and wheather it
> applies to me…
>
> Ewan.
>
> PS. I just can’t believe it…

Re: Police problems…(uk)

Ewan. wrote:
>
> I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They told
> me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address.
>
> Anyone know the law on unicyle classification in the UK and wheather it
> applies to me…
>
> Ewan.
>
> PS. I just can’t believe it…

Two friends of mine and I were out cycling last night. We went down to the local
school (basketball courts and smooth wooden verandahs. . .Yum) and were there
from about 10pm till midnight. At around midnight a police car pulled into the
parking lot, and two officers got out and asked us if we knew anything about
people damaging property in the area. It appeared that because of the noise we
were making, (dropping uni’s on the wooden verandah) somebody had rung the
police, thinking we were destoying the school. We were told to move on, partly
beause of the noise and partly because it’s actually illegal to be on public
school grounds outside of school hours. Strangely enough the police were
complettely unamused by the cycles. Barely batted an eyelid or asked an
interesting question!

Needless to say, we rode off out of the school, proceeding to ride on the wrong
side of the road with no helmets, lights or hand signals.

The night was still a success though. . we found a car park with good lighting.

I can highly recommend uni-ing at night. It’s cooler, quieter and there’s less
wind, and of course less people to ask annoying questions. The only problem is
that sleep deprivation usually kicks in and you lose your co-ordination (but
that’s another story).

Nic.

Re: Police problems…(uk)

On Tue, 03 Feb 1998 15:12:16 +0000, “Ewan.” <e.i.crichton@ncl.ac.uk> wrote:

->I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They
->told me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address. -> ->Anyone know
the law on unicycle classification in the UK and weather it ->applies to me… ->
->Ewan. -> ->PS. I just can’t believe it…

I would expect some fun to be taking place at the station right now though, as a
friend was once told by a policeman while riding my Giraffe. get of that, i am
sure you must be doing something illegal, but i don’t really know so just get
off anyway!

they are probably busy searching the law books to decide exactly what they think
you where doing wrong. was it after dark and you had no lights. or where you
under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

Mini Mansell , Long life, Good sex and Prosperity.

Muni Homepage http://www.circustuff.co.uk/muni/ Personal Homepage
http://homepages.enterprise.net/mini/

re : Police problems (laws, rules and definitions)

There can be a problem with doing things that aren’t expressly illegal with
equipment that isn’t expressly defined as being illegal for said use.

The problem is that SOMEBODY will make it their business to introduce a law,
definition or regulation that DOES expressly define such activity or use as
illegal. The law/regulation is likely to be restrictive and encroach upon what
you COULD previously do - and enjoy. For a case in point, it is now against FAA
regulations to waterski behind a sea-plane/flying-boat/amphibious-aircraft,
whether taxi-ing or flying, at least in the US.

We havn’t (yet) had an opportunity to test the laws anywhere else. We weren’t
“caught” per se, but some video tape just got itself seen by the wrong people.

regards,

Reg

Re: Police problems…(uk)

Mark Wiggins wrote:

> Ewan. wrote:
> > I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They
> > told me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address.
> >
> > Anyone know the law on unicyle classification in the UK and wheather it
> > applies to me…
> >
> > Ewan.
> >
> > PS. I just can’t believe it…
>
> Did they tell you what law you were contravening?
>
> My (very old) copy of the Unicycling FAQ says…
>
> 21. What is a unicycle under the law?
>
> Note: These are the opinions of laymen, and should not be considered
> legal advice.

If it was me…(In the US) I would “as polite as possible” and ask for a ticket
to be written. Once in court I would fight it. When you show up to trial (not
the hearing) it might be a good idea to bring the offending vehicle with you.
Clean it and dress for the occasion. If stopped at the door by security… say
it is evidence!

I can remember a story from way back in 1975 at the Unicycle Meet in Marion Ohio
about an attorney in DC in a similar situation. During the proceedings the judge
asked “how do you ride that dam thing” where he showed the court. The case was
dismissed and he was summoned into chambers to give the judge a lesson.

After you WIN the case… ask the judge to write some sort of legal letter you
could carry with you when you ride. I know it’s a pain… but think of the look
on the cops face when he reads the letter!

As with all things legal, your attitude has a lot to do with it. Act hirt…
not pissed.

GENE

Re: Police problems…(uk)

Mini wrote:

> On Tue, 03 Feb 1998 15:12:16 +0000, “Ewan.” <e.i.crichton@ncl.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> ->I just got stopped by the police for riding my uni on the pavement. They
> ->told me am getting a caution sent in the post to my address. ->Anyone know
> the law on unicycle classification in the UK and weather it ->applies to me…
> -> ->Ewan.

> I would expect some fun to be taking place at the station right now though, as
> a friend was once told by a policeman while riding my Giraffe. get off that, i
> am sure you must be doing something illegal, but i don’t really know so just
> get off anyway!

Yep that was me… His excuse in the end was that I was a danger to the road
drivers as seeing a 5’ Giraff being ridden one footed down a hill while
supporting a learner riding on a 24" uni might alarm them and cause an accident.
He was a lot nicer about it that the Policeman that tried to breathalise me and
Mini for being drunk in charge of a unicycle on a padestrian street.

> they are probably busy searching the law books to decide exactly what they
> think you where doing wrong. was it after dark and you had no lights. or where
> you under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

I have just talked to the MOT and found a department called RS3, totally devoted
to the legislation concerning bikes: I think that they might be devoted to bikes
and unicycles from now on! I called because of some new legislation that is just
going through Parliament at the moment that places a statutory 20ukp fine on
bikes riding on pavements (for you guys on the other side of the pond that means
the sidewalk). They are going to investigate for me the exact wording of this
new legislation and find if it is inclusive or exclusive

  • i.e. does it affect unicycles. They were extremely helpful and offered to
    investigate the other anomalies in the U.K. legislation pertaining to
    unicycles. I hope that we will gain from this, with people understanding that
    unicycles are not the same as bikes and should be able to ride absolutely
    anywhere……

Roger

               -----------------------------------------
                       Roger.Davies@Octacon.co.uk
                                Stockton
                           North East England

Re: Police problems…(uk)

>

Hi again,I have a reply, not necessaraly a good one. I talked to the homeoffice,
who were again very helpful. They stated that the new leglislation that becomes
law in March and is related to the highway act of 1835 which prohibites
carriages from riding on pavments and the ammendment in 1888 in the local
government act which extends the leglislation to include bikes etc. that etc.
does include unicycles unfortunately. The fines can only be made against people
over 16 years of ages and will be 20ukp that must be payed within 28 days or
appealed against. It was explained that this was not new leglislation just an
addition that allowed the fixed fine to applied. The police have discretion not
to apply it. The person I talked to in the home office thought that it would be
unlikly that a unicycle would be fined for riding on the pavment if it is
travelling at the same speed as pedestions. Oh well…

> I called because of some new legislation that is just going through Parliament
> at the moment that places a statutory 20ukp fine on bikes riding on pavements
> (for you guys on the other side of the pond that means the sidewalk). They are
> going to investigate for me the exact wording of this new legislation and find
> if it is inclusive or exclusive
> - i.e. does it affect unicycles. They were extremely helpful and offered to
> investigate the other anomalies in the U.K. legislation pertaining to
> unicycles. I hope that we will gain from this, with people understanding
> that unicycles are not the same as bikes and should be able to ride
> absolutely anywhere……
>

Roger

               -----------------------------------------
                       Roger.Davies@Octacon.co.uk
                                Stockton
                           North East England

Re: Police problems…(uk)

> The last time I asked a friend of a friend in the Police they said that it
> depended on local bylaws what was allowed to be ridden on the pavement but if
> you fit a brake and a dummy wheel (e.g. furniture castor) some where on the
> unicycle then it would come into the same category as a fixed wheel bike for
> riding on the road.

I’ll go and find out the local byelaws on the subject, and see what comes back.

Ewan…

Re: Police problems…(uk)

JohnX Foss wrote:

> Text item:
>
> I’ve read with interest the discussion on police problems,…

Thanks John for what I think is a very good synopsis.

Unicyclists (and Jugglers) are in my experience are law abiding and honest; we
just do something out of the ordinary. Problems with the law, in my experience,
extremely rare and I hope it stays like that.

Roger

               -----------------------------------------
                       Roger.Davies@Octacon.co.uk
                                Stockton
                           North East England