Stressed by Cars

Yeah but I was taught that bicycles are even OK on sidewalks IF going at a pedestrian speed.

And I wanted to explain to the officer that this particular unicycle is not for road travel, rather a larger wheel would be suited for riding in traffic and would be happy to if I had one.
But he would have had none of it any way.

I asked another officer about it a few days later and he said “Yeah, I personally wouldn’t have a problem with you riding that on a sidewalk, it looks like it’d be dangerous no matter where you ride it” xD

Oh well. I’m trying to think of a witty line about that particular officer being up on his “high horse” because the town I go to college in has a Calvary Police Unit who literally ride around the streets on horses.

I don’t find cars stressful in any way. It’s definitely the other way round; sometimes cars are just afraid to overtake and sit behind me at 36er speed (12mph?) for a few minutes. I often think about looking around and waving them past.

Other people seeing me doesn’t bother me, but the safety issue does. Where there isn’t tons of room or traffic speed is higher I do kind of like KH does in that vid where he rides the rail of that bridge. I confine my area and leave several feet available for an unexpected UPD.

Also wearing bright clothing and flashing bike lights help. I have a Knog Boomer head and tail lights, one each, on my helmet and Uni and a super bright cycling jacket. Usually it’s too hot to wear it, so I strap it to my backpac so it takes up a lot of space and flaps in the wind.

I also got reflective tape from the hardware store and decoratively put it on my Uni.

The laws vary from state to state, but in most a unicycle is considered a pedestrian. In my city on most streets it’s legal to ride a bike on sidewalks except in the several square blocks on the “downtown” area where foot traffic is much higher.

Look up the law in your state and memorize the code and inform the officer of it the next time you are stoped.

I forgot to say WELCOME to the forums!!! :sunglasses:

Knowing the law and telling it to an officer does not usually change them from insisting their ignorant interpretations, it can make them insist even harder, because they feel like you are telling them how to do their job and they don’t tend to like having their authority questioned. The King of Suede questioned the safety of riding on the road, which is why traffic laws are essentially made, and the officer was not interested in safety at all, so any further discussion may have been pointless. It seems the officer had already decided he was on a bike, not knowing the finer details of counting wheels.

Key things to keep in mind to reduce traffic stress and stay safe:

  • Be [B]visible[/B]- wear high visibility clothing, lights at night time, and make eye contact with road users.
  • Be [B]predictable[/B]- signal before making sideways movements to communicate with other road users your intentions. Ride in a straight line not weaving disappearing in and out of parked cars.
  • Stay in [B]control[/B]- ride within your limits and if you are ever unsure about safety in a situation slow down or step off.

Newer riders will probably stay clear of traffic if it spooks them, but they can learn to get along with cars and share the road eventually. When you show people at intersections that you have seen them and indicate where you are going, it is quite a satisfying experience for both parties because there is much less stress and uncertainty of a potentially dangerous situation.

My riding the last few years has shifted from road to off-road but I am somewhat comfortable on the road. Roads started out being intimidating until the realization came that my 212 pound ass was wobblling at windshield height or higher as they pass. Drivers that aren’t concerned with a humped over bicyclist seem to veer around something that could come through the windshield and interupt their texting.

Tonight I rode on a country rode without a lot of space for me. Any time I heard a car coming up behind me, I rode with my arms out and up, hoping to make them question what this thing was up ahead. It usually worked, got at least half a lane from all passing cars. I do have to be cognizant of when my legs are tired, more prone to UPDs.

I’ve done the same thing, especially at night. I angle my hands so the reflective strips on my gloves are facing the cars headlights.

Then maybe only mention it he/she threatens you w/ a ticket or something (which would likely have no merrits but be a pain to deal w/).

I know a guy who was stopped and accused of disobeying the law by riding on the sidewalk. The guy was patient and polite to the cop then told the cop the rule #'s that cite the law. This made the cop stop for a minute, then he said he’d double check the wording and just for the guy to ride safe.

Yeah its really irritating :angry: Here’s a sample from a 45 mile ride …

I am only annoyed by cars that won’t pass me when there is plenty of clearance. I think many of the folks on RSU like to make cars follow them at a slow speed but it is primarily because they are freaked out by cars passing them. My belief is that their rationale (or rationalization) is that riding a unicycle (or even a bicycle) somehow elevates them in environmental status and gives them divine dominion over the road. Consequently, other vehicles should never be allowed to pass them. I personally find nothing more disturbing than being tailgated by two tons of steel when it is piloted by someone too incompetent to pass me under perfectly adequate conditions.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

Dallas isn’t really set up well for cycling in the street. Traffic tends to be fast, and drivers don’t expect to see bikes (or unicycles) on the road with them. There have been several times now where I’ve been heckled by some high strung asshole who thinks I’m just out there to slow him down, and I don’t even ride in the street that much. I don’t know if it’s that way for other US cities or if Dallas is especially bad.

I’ve spent the last week riding around downtown Krakow in Poland. Cars and bikes (and unicycles) coexist much better here. It’s not nearly as stressful.

I’m not alone

A new rider, I’m encouraged to read that others get nervous as cars approach. I live on a street with a modest amount of traffic during peak travel times but it’s otherwise light.

When first learning, I’d drop off even at the sight of a car well up the street. In fact, I was so self-conscious at first I’d dismount if even a pedestrian approached. And if somebody said hello, I’d almost certainly topple off.

But each day I get a little more confident. I do most of my riding shortly after dawn or after dinner when there’s little traffic. Now I can wave to passers by and I even chatted with a couple of little kids in the park the other day as I mounted off a pole and rode away.

As Yogi Berra famously noted about baseball, it’s 90 percent mental, and the other half is physical.

Now that is a nice thought, even if it is a fantasy.


Darn… I didn’t even notice cars until I read this thread…
:roll_eyes: lol no, but I have become a lot more conscious of them. I think riding by cars is easier if 1) you’re not in front of them, and 2) if you’re not a beginner. Being a beginner and riding a unicycle as a car slows down so the driver can watch you is just nerve wracking. I’ve become a lot more confident, especially after I learned to freemount, and riding by cars is now a lot easier, even if they do slow down next to me so they can watch. You just have to ride a while and get used to them.

Baltimore is so unfriendly to bikes. They’re trying to improve little by little, but it’s a slow process. People hit parked cars so frequently here, I really can’t even fathom trying to ride out there alongside those wackos.

Some day I hope to live in a city that is not quite as hostile to non-drivers. Then I will gleefully commute by uni!

i hate it when cars drive past you and beep there horn, it is completely pointless! then they will slow right down and try to drive along side you, when there clearly isn’t enough space! :frowning:

the horn beeping is the worst bit though, it really puts you of, those horns are really loud!

i wonder if there is a law against using the horn when there is no apparent need?

Riding around cars takes practice, some getting used to, confidence in yourself and your riding, and a degree of trust. That’s right, you have to trust the cars! You do the same when driving, but this is different… If you’re a beginning rider, it’s best not to ride around moving cars. If you’re still worried you will UPD and shoot your uni into traffic (or people or property) you probably shouldn’t be riding near those things. But when you’re ready, you should have the option of taking to your streets; you are a vehicle and they were built for cyclists (though many people don’t realize this), not just for motor vehicles.

Great points for starters. Way more can be said about how to ride safely with traffic. Perhaps the most important thing is to remember the difference between you and them:
You = Yourself plus unicycle
Them = Weight of vehicle, metal armor, and a huge amount of kinetic energy.
In other words, it does not matter who has the right of way, who’s right or wrong, etc. What matters is not being pancaked by someone who might not even notice you.

So I like to always use a mirror when I ride on streets. Mine attaches to a pair of sunglasses (I ride with clear ones with UV protection). I feel much more confident when I can check out what’s going on back there without turning my head around. This is the one I use. It won’t tell you if a driver is paying attention, but at least you can see what’s coming.

The last thing I want is to scare or annoy the vehicles. All I want is for them to see me, and miss me. I’d rather not have any additional attention. That can lead to getting water bottles thrown at you and such.

Me too. I think I just figured out part of the reason why. I always knew one part of the reason, which is the standard thing about being watched; it often makes us self-conscious. For many riders this makes them more prone to make mistakes. The other part is why people sometimes slow to follow us. They want to watch us ride, but sometimes they also want to watch us fall. Remember, most non-unicyclists still don’t realize a unicycle can ride continuously for long distances without falling off. They may be waiting for us to fall off. With them right behind us. That sucks.

I definitely don’t like riding on streets with parked cars on the sides. Then you’re like the “stuff” in an Oreo cookie. Got to watch for mirrors on your left, and opening doors on your right (reverse this for the UK).

It doesn’t matter if there’s a law, since people will do it anyway. They think it’s funny, and are trying to see if they can startle you into a fall. Yup, that’s why they’re doing it. Don’t let them see you flinch. :slight_smile:

+1 for the glasses mounted mirror. I use one mainly because I ride a recumbent bike, but it’s also very useful on a unicycle.

I’ve tried a few and I’ve found the 3rd Eye to be the best in use: (scroll down)

The surface of the mirror seems to be slightly convex, giving a good field of view without causing too much of a blind spot.

But the Take a Look is the one I’ve been using for the last few years. The metal frame is much more durable. None of the plastic mirrors that I’ve used has lasted through the winter - the plastic gets brittle and snaps where it attaches to the glasses after a few frosty rides.

Nervous, well in the street sometimes yes sometimes no. On most streets not at all. I only get nervous when at a stop sign and a car comes up from behind. I feel like the driver only wants me out of the way, whether I have to run into traffic or go through the stop sign, etc. the driver only wants me out of there. So at stop signs, yes I get nervous.
Otherwise I like to pick streets with some parked cars, but not a long string of them. If there is a long string of cars I will use the sidewalk, otherwise I KNOW that someone sooner or later will door me with their car doors on purpose or accidentally. Heavy car traffic and I’m on the sidewalk.
I watch carefully all cars that should stop at stop signs or red lights and I have the right of way. At this time all these cars have the potential of driving into me. One did last year and slid me on top of her hood. At night I carry a very bright light 1500 Lumens, and when necessary I will flash that light right into the drivers eyes, Stops all drivers cold, when necessary. They can’t see what is behind the light. But I do that only to drivers that are about to pull out right into me.
I avoid roads with no shoulders or sidewalk like the plague. Won’t even unicycle on that kind of a road. Overall though the city unicycling doesn’t phase me.