Prediction: First uni-caused death

Chatting with the wife this evening, I mentioned how I’m going to start saving up to attend the funeral of the first person to die from a unicycle accident.

I’d just finished reading about some of the geared-up Cokers and 36" Nimbuses. I’ve been saying for years that with all the super-fast (ie: faster-than-you-can-sprint) riding going on these days, someone’s bound to get into trouble. It’s similar to the muni and trials stuff going on: We’re pushing our luck. But I have a hunch it’s the geared unis that could bring about an actual death. Here’s my reasoning:

  1. No trials or muni deaths thus far. Seems like the worst that can happen is a bad bruise or a bone-break. We might see some paralysis down the line, but a death would take a conflagration of really bad luck. Let’s hope it never happens. Same for the paralysis.
  2. Some of the people riding gunis don’t have as much experience or leg-strength as they ‘should.’ These factors could turn a UPD from bad to wake.
  3. People, evolutionarily speaking, were made to withstand falls out of branches and other heights, like a bad muni or trials fall. But our ancestors didn’t typically fall while moving 25mph on asphalt. That kind of fall, coupled with some other bad luck (hitting ones head on a curb, for ex) could be fatal.

Not to sound more morose than usual, but here’s my prediction:

First uni-caused death…
Uni: Geared 36"
Road conditions: Pavement
Cause of death: Head trauma
Country: US
Casket: Open
Buried with unicycle: No

Wherever it is, I’ll be there for the funeral.

Then again, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, as I’m always saying.

Ride safely (but start saving now)…

My next uni is… no was… no is…


going to be a coker.

But I’m seriously going to bed now. :astonished:

My prediction is someone riding anything w/o a helmet, but esp. trials and street. Way too much of that going on IMO.

All it takes is one hit, it doesn’t even have to be a big one and you are a vegetable or

Ugh. You are so right. However, the dudes and dudettes doing trials and street are generally the rubbery younguns who don’t seem to break as easily as we fogeys do. They break their falls (but not usually their skulls). Happily, many of the people riding really fast are wearing helmets. So I take it that your money is on street or trials. I hope we are all wrong.

When it comes right down to it, geared unicycles really don’t move very fast. People have been crashing while going way faster on bicycles for over 100 years, and bike fatalities are extremely rare.

Whatever it turns out to be, it will be a freak accident.

You’re weird. I think the first unicycle related death will be from someone huffing their uni.

Does it count if somebody is feeling down and purposely rides off a cliff or tall building?

Maybe a sad clown… All you see at the bottom is a busted uni and a bunch of colors.

My bets would be on:

  1. Road accident involving a motor vehicle. Possibly high speed GUni UPD in traffic.

  2. Falling from height on extreme Trials or MUni.

I think that the first unicycle death will be caused by being hit by a vehicle.

If you’re playing odds, a traffic collision with a 4 horseless carriage is more likely to cause the first unicycling fatality. A fatal accident due to a single unicycle UPD is not as likely, even if riding a geared up Coker. You crash more gracefully on a unicycle than a bike (bikes have the handlebars and frame to get tangled in). 30+ mph accidents happen on road bikes and the riders typically just end up with abrasions and possibly broken bones (collar bone most likely).

So put your money on some sort of accident involving a car (or truck). Either a rider caused UPD where you slide into traffic, a collision where the car hits you, or possibly a dooring that knocks you into traffic and turns you into a speed bump.

The geared Cokers are just going to result in more road rash injuries, broken collar bones, and broken wrists.

i thought someone broke their neck and died from playing w/ a uni on a trampoline…

anyways, i guess that was joke, but i say jumping over something big(like a car) without a helmet
or grinding… and somehow catching the pole just right… there are many situations…

sadly as far as I remember such an accident already happened last year
(was it in England?)
the guy didn’ hear a tractor coming across the corner …
so don’t wear loudspeakers.

I am frightened like mad by traffic, last year I falled in front of a car.

I don’t approve of extreme trial competition. trial is fun but making it dangerous is tempting fate.

yeah i heard about the tractor incident but was never sure if it was really true. I think the next or first unicycle death wll be someone riding extreme muni and riding off the edge of the cliff by accident.

I think the reverse is the case. You have handlebars to take some of the impact. You also generally have a more stretched out position and a front wheel to take a frontal impact. Most falls are to the side and these end up with skin loss mainly. Going over the bars usually results in a broken clavicle or two.

On a unicycle crashing at over 30km/hr you have very little protection.

Of course bikes go faster and as a result has the potential to cause greater injury. But at the same speed, I think a unicycle causes far worse injuries.

I think your prediction could sadly be right, but for the wrong reasons. As others have said, just coming off at geared 36 speed will hurt, a lot, and possibly leave complications for the rest of your life, but it won’t kill you. Sure, if you hit your head the wrong way it could, but that would take a lot of bad luck, and could happen just as easily from any other fall.

I think that traffic would be the biggest factor in ending a unicyclists life. All it needs is for a driver not to be paying full attention when a UPD is occurring, and that could be it. I’ve been riding many miles each week in Central London for over 2 years now, and have had 3 UPDs where I met tarmac. In each of those cases the road was clear behind me, but, honestly, that was down to sheer luck. I’ve covered literally hundreds of miles with double decker busses only a few inches from me, and any one of them could have been driven by the Grim Reaper. I’ve seen dozens of cars jump red lights, although I have (safely) jumped more. I have lost count of the amount of taxis that have swerved in to cycle lanes or pulled out with no warning.

The streets are a potentially fatal place for unicyclist. So far this is still only a potential though. The streets have been proved to be fatal for drivers, bike riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists already, but the longer we can hold off of adding a unicyclist to that list the better.

Oh, and the guy killed by a tractor whilst listening to his iPod was a unicyclist, but he was riding a bike at the time.


I don’t agree with Ken, although being a medical type he may have reasons for what he said. But anyway, I’d MUCH rather fall off a unicycle at 16 mph than a bike, even at the same speed. I don’t know about higher speeds because I don’t ride faster than that on a unicycle. Certainly on a bike you tend to fall sideways and skid along, but I’ve hit the side of my head hard enough on the ground on two occasions (both at relatively low speeds) to knock me unconscious, once for 20 minutes. On a unicycle, when I’ve fallen off going too fast to run (or have tripped after a UPD) I’ve fallen hard on my arms then skidded along like in a bike crash, so I suppose there might be more chance of arm/wrist/collarbone damage in a unicycle crash.

Anyway, back on topic, I’d say there was just as much chance of being involved in a fatal accident on a unicycle in traffic as there is on a bike. The reason it hasn’t happened yet (if indeed it hasn’t) is just down to probability, with the extremely low unicycle use compared with bikes. It’s possibly a bit less likely to be hit on a unicycle because the “oddness” of it makes people take more notice - people usually give me far more room when passing me on a unicycle than on a bike - but the occasional lorry that passes at 50mph a foot away is VERY scary on the coker. All it takes is one impatient arsehole or somebody not paying attention to wipe one of us out, just as if we were bicyclists. The sad thing about it (apart from the obvious) is that if/when it happens there will probably immediately be a campaign to ban unicycles from the road.

On the other hand, I’m absolutely amazed that nobody has been killed in stupid stunts like riding along walls of high bridges or balancing on precipices to have their picture taken, which seems to go on quite regularly.


I think those stunts look dangerous but generally have a very low risk.

I still think the most dangerous thing most of us do relating to unicycles is drive to the trail head.

I’m going to vote for being killed by a car/bus/lorry too. Statistically, I’m sure it’s much more likely.

I don’t like this thread AT ALL!!!