UK law

On uk.rec.cycling, somebody asked if unicycles were street legal. In
response, I wrote:
> So, a unicycle is subject to the same laws as a bicycle.
<snip>
> After dark, no unicycle is street legal as sold.

And ten minutes later I was struck by a worrying thought. AFAIK, any new
bicycle sold in the UK is required to be fitted with front, rear and wheel
reflectors at point of sale. I’ve never seen a unicycle thus equipped. Does
that mean there’s a court case waiting to happen, with some poor unicycle
vendor as the victim? And would it end with victory for the spirit of the law,
or the letter of the law?


Danny Colyer (remove your.head to reply)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/danny.html “It’s a toy.” - Answer given
by a colleague when asked why he needed a mobile phone.

Re: UK law

According to the law a unicycle is not a bicycle.

The law stats a cycle is defined as: “A bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four
or more wheels, not being in any case a motor vehicle.”

Meaning unicycles are not covered by any Road Traffic Laws.

Re: UK law

Danny Colyer <danny@speedy5.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
: And ten minutes later I was struck by a worrying thought. AFAIK, any new
: bicycle sold in the UK is required to be fitted with front, rear and wheel
: reflectors at point of sale. I’ve never seen a unicycle thus equipped. Does
: that mean there’s a court case waiting to happen, with some poor unicycle
: vendor as the victim? And would it end with victory for the spirit of the law,
: or the letter of the law?

But are unicycles sold as cycles or as toys? Duncan Castlin might be able to
help us out on this one. I would think if they ARE sold as toys they don’t have
to be sold with reflectors etc. Their use on the road is at the choice of the
buyer, not the seller.

BTW Danny, where did you find Red reflective tape? I can only find white. sarah

Re: UK law

David Davies wrote:
> The law stats a cycle is defined as: "A bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having
> four or more wheels, not being in
any
> case a motor vehicle."
>
> Meaning unicycles are not covered by any Road Traffic Laws.

This was the case until 1994, and the relevant change to the law is quite hard
to track down unless you know exactly where to look. Below is the full text of
my post to uk.rec.cycling, which refers to that change:

icarusi asked:
> Are unicycles street legal?

Now there’s a fun question. I did a lot of research on this in 1994, when I
first started commuting by unicycle and wanted to know exactly where I stood
legally. At that time, unicycles were not covered by cycle law - in fact I
couldn’t find any laws covering them at all, and concluded that I was
effectively a pedestrian as far as the law was concerned.

That same year, though the law was changed. As a result of Traffic Sign
Regulations 1994 Statutory Instrument 1519, appendix 7 (thanks to Roger Davies
for pointing this one out to me, btw), the legal definition of a Pedal Cycle is
now “a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four or more wheels, not
being in any case mechanically propelled” (previously, unicycle had been missing
from that definition).

So, a unicycle is subject to the same laws as a bicycle. It can’t be ridden on
the pavement (though frankly I often ignore the law here when I’m on one wheel),
at night it must have the appropriate lights and reflectors, and then there’s
the issue of brakes. It’s a fixed wheel, so shouldn’t need a brake on the drive
wheel. We should be OK there then.

It’s open to debate, but I would say that a unicycle is street legal during
daylight hours. After dark, no unicycle is street legal as sold. It depends on
the lights and reflectors that have been added by the owner. Both of my
unicycles have plenty of red reflective tape on the back, and white reflective
tape on the front and on the wheel rim. Both have the requisite pedal
reflectors. My Muni has red LED’s at the back and white LED’s at the front. I
also wear a head torch. Not entirely street legal, but near enough.

If it comes to that, my bike isn’t street legal at night either. No reflectors
on my SPD’s, LED rear lights because they’re so much more reliable than the BS
approved ones, and my front lights are far too powerful for BS…


Danny Colyer (remove your.head to reply)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/danny.html “It’s a toy.” - Answer given
by a colleague when asked why he needed a mobile phone.

Re: UK law

Sarah Miller wrote:
> But are unicycles sold as cycles or as toys? Duncan Castlin might be able to
> help us out on this one. I would think if they ARE sold as toys they don’t
> have to be sold with reflectors etc. Their use on the road is at the choice of
> the buyer, not the seller.

Very good question. I’m not sure if they would still need the reflectors if sold
as toys, though I’ve a feeling they probably would (otherwise you’d end up with
the loophole that any bike could be said to have been sold as a toy). I hope
someone can answer that one.

> BTW Danny, where did you find Red reflective tape? I can only find white.

I’ve bought rolls of red, white and yellow at various times from Hlfrds. It
won’t be in the cycling section, they sell it to stick on car bumpers. And they
often won’t have every colour in stock.


Danny Colyer (remove your.head to reply)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/danny.html “It’s a toy.” - Answer given
by a colleague when asked why he needed a mobile phone.