soo, what's a unicycle?

According to your state/city’s law enforcers?
I spent some time this morning looking at court cases/fines involving unicycles and the correct/incorrect places or ways to ride them (according to the law anyway) and became interested about what the law is in NSW, because I always ride along the footpath, usually without a helmet, and despite no trouble thus far from police; I though it would be good to know my laws if it ever occurs that I get in trouble!

Under NSW legislation a bicycle is considered as a vehicle.

As such, cyclists are required to obey the road rules, including stopping at red lights or Stop signs, Giving Way as indicated by signage and giving hand signals when changing direction.

Just as cyclists have responsibilities when using the road, they also have the right, like other vehicles, to use the road and be shown courtesy and care by other road users. Failing to obey road or bicycle rules may result in a fine.

A bicycle means a vehicle with one or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor) and includes a pedicab, penny-farthing, scooter, tricycle and unicycle.


A pedestrian includes “a person in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy”. This includes rollerblades, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device; and can be ridden on the pathway.

Cool. So what am I? A vehicle or a pedestrian? I think I’d feel safer on the footpath myself.

Anyways, without this turning into a “fuck tha police” sesh, what are the laws in your areas? I’m very curious particularly of other Australian states.

Bicycle Defined. VC 231

Defines bicycle as a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears and having one or more wheels. Specifically provides that persons riding bicycles are subject to Vehicle Code provisions specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5 (see below).

Bicycle Use. VC 21200

Every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, including the provisions of law dealing with driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

Bicycling Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. VC 21200.5

Provides that it is unlawful to ride a bicycle upon a street or highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or drug or the combination of alcohol and a drug, punishable by a fine of up to $250. A person arrested may request a chemical test. If the person is under 21 but over 13 years of age, his or her driving privilege will be suspended for one year or delayed for one year once the person is eligible to drive.

Equipment Requirements. VC 21201

a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

b) No person shall operate on the highway any bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate their hands above the level of their shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.
Carrying Articles. VC 21205

No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

Washington State

I believe in Washington state unicyclists are considered pedestrians.

I guess that means we don’t have to wear helmets even though it would seem prudent. It does mean sidewalks are fair game, and probably that trails that prohibit bicycles can be ridden on a unicycle although the reason for banning bicycles is often to protect wildlife (fast moving bikes would make them nervous while a fast moving unicycle might make them envious).

You have to ride a giraffe on the road, a normal unicycle must go on the footpath. heh…

Short answer to your question? You don’t wanna know. :slight_smile:

You are a person with choices. If you’ve been reading along in the other current thread about unicycles and the law, we’ve been discussing a little bit about where we think unicycles should ride. I believe it mostly depends on how fast we’re going, as that is the general breakdown of the vehicles in the texts above.

Reed, you forgot to reference your source. Is it federal, state, county or local vehicle code (vc)? If it’s the state one, are there any others that add to or subtract from it at the other levels?
tht is my source. so not local. i couldnt find anything for saccounty

I’d like to know the specifics for Victoria. Knowing how pedantic the police are about road rules for cars/motorcycles, I’m sure they’d find some excuse to nab a unicyclist for something.

John the OP did want to know :stuck_out_tongue: It helps to know you are right for sure when you think you know you are right but can’t prove it.

Where did you get your definitions? A bike does not have one or more wheels- I think you may have imagined that law. I’ve been looking at a NSW website for you and you are definitely a pedestrian, as you are not a vehicle.

So if you look hard enough you can find the definitions in the dictionary

So the law is very clear- even more clear than in NZ (where they are trying to claim WRDs are vehicles), in NSW a unicycle is not a vehicle, it is a wheeled recreational device and the person on it is a pedestrian. You will not be faced with the same laws as bikes, but instead the same laws as rollerblades, rollerskates, skateboards, and scooters. That is where the law-makers went wrong because they wrongfully assume that unicycles are similar to all those freewheeling devices, and they are not. Unicycles are much safer due to being fixed wheels, so if you are ever caught by a WRD law you can argue that unicycles don’t really fit the description. Should be all good though- and it is definitely worth knowing the law so if you ever get confronted by an ignorant authority you can assert yourself.

In polish law it is stated that bike is single- or multi-track vehicle moved by the power of muscles. So it seems we are bikers here and we are obliged to have a bell, brake, lights and keep at least one hand on handlebars. We are currently working on some official statement.

So GUNI is a bike :slight_smile:

I really like this rule :slight_smile: It’s a pity we can’t ride bikes on highways here.

Rowan, I got my information of the RTA website. All the information I got is c/p word for word. Which was why I was confused…they are a reputable source!

and no, the whole “bikes with ONE or more wheel” doesn’t really make sense. A one wheeled ‘bike’ is not a bike o.O But okayy.

Are those definitions on that website? or just an online dictionary/similar?? I guess most law enforcement officers will have their own kind of definitions of what a unicycle is…and fair enough I suppose, I can’t see it as being a major point of discussion for them…though, they should have a united decision on it…

I already knew it, but I guess it seems moreso now, that I must just be wary of where I ride and who’s around. I may go and visit the RTA office or police department to ask them! I’m mostly just curious!

and Johnfoss; I just checked that thread out! should have before I posted this one! :stuck_out_tongue: Very interesting!. I like the idea of the wheel SIZE determining a unicycle’s status! ahh. Gotta love being a minority! I can’t see any united legislation change on unicycling coming anytime soon :stuck_out_tongue:

This would be nearly impossible on a unicycle, and I think it is unfair for unicycles to not be allowed on the road just because they can’t do a one wheeled skid. I think if you got charged with a bicycle offense in California you could say that a unicycle is not a bike and get off it. A prosecutor couldn’t produce a skid on a unicycle!

I’ve been looking at the RTA website and I found it a bit hard to navigate, but the Bicycle Guideline pdf’s I looked at defined bicycles as having two or more wheels. The dictionary references I quoted were from the same website as the original quote which referred to those definitions “”

You don’t need to be wary of where you ride or who is around! The Police will not know any better than you do if you go ask them (probably). Just ride and enjoy yourself. Use your common sense

we should end this thread by agreeing to use common sense, and to at least do what the cops say until they leave.

It seems to be that the difference between pedestrian (toy) and bicycle depends on if it is chain or belt driven. Unless you have a giraffe or penguin one could probably best defend themselves as being a pedestrian in most places.

If given the choice though I wouldn’t bring that up until court. If a cop wanted to ticket me for riding on the sidewalk and I argued the matter I would expect them to think up something else to fine me for instead.