Uni assault on a car (literally)

Today I lived out a dream. Sort of like when you think of a snappy
comeback later on, only this time I’d had it happen to me enough times
that I was able to think of the snappy comeback right away. Details:

I was pedaling my 29"er at a moderate rate on an empty sidewalk cleared of
most of the snow. As I was crossing the somewhat snowy street where I had
a green light, a car came too fast around the corner, cutting me off. The
car was driving too close (legally speaking) to the corner, and this gave
me too little time to slow down, esp with the snow. The car slowed a bit
in order to negotiate the turn. Just before I would have hit the car, I
jumped off the uni and swung it hard-ish into the lower side of the car,
denting in (or cutting) a square area near the gas thingy. It helped that
I had metal pedals. The car never slowed, but if it had, I’d have
apologized for accidentally bumping it with my uni when I had to jump off
in order to avoid it when it cut me off.

I still haven’t leapt onto a dog-walker*, but as I’ve written in the past,
it always helps to be prepared.


  • Dog-walker: If a dog-walker is letting a dog off a leash (illegal in
    NYC) and the dog suddenly runs in your path, avoid the dog. But if the
    only way to avoid hurting yourself is to use the dog-walker as a bummper,
    don’t hesitate. Best to avoid this by slowing down ahead of time. I’ve
    ridden past many dogs leashed and otherwise and have never had to dismount
    bc I always take it slowly.


Glad you’re okay. Where did you say you lived? New York? Hmmm… :slight_smile:


As an avid cyclist (road, MT. and now UNI/MUNI) I as well as many others have been in your shoes. I have been pissed, yelled, screamed, etc. but have also realized that if I do that, it makes me look like the ASS. Downtown in traffic in the snow? Maybe they didnt see you.
Maybe they had a burger in one hand, a cell phone in the other, and adjusted the radio so loud they couldnt hear anything. But all the other people on the street that watched you smash your crank into the side of a car thought that you my friend… the one on the UNICYCLE are a complete ASSHOLE. So, you made your point to the guy in the car, and you also made your point about UNICYCLIST to the other 20 people that just caught a glimpz of what you did.
In my opinion, just because the light is green, that doesnt give you the all clear to ride, it gives you the warning to ride. I ride downtown often, and anyone that does has close calls. Ever been kicked out of private property? Bet it was by a guy that watched a UNICYCLIST tear up a car by the “gas thingy.”

Glad you’re OK. How long until your heart rate came back to normal?

A good reminder that even if you have the right of way to watch traffic closely. As a driver I am sometimes taken by surprise by someone crossing at a higher rate of travel than normal. In otherwords, we’re programed to watch and anticipate people crossing at a walking speed. When a runner or biker comes from the sidewalk it can catch you off guard.

Different cities have different etiquette, or lack therof. I was driving in SF, waiting for the pedestrian traffic to completely clear before making a right turn. My passenger couldn’t figure out why I was waiting so long and was surprised I wasn’t getting honked at yet, I guess the average SF driver would have gone through a smaller gap than us Seattle drivers would.

Re: Uni assault on a car (literally)

[RANT]Well said. IMO all pet dogs (allowing an exception for useful dogs like guide dogs) should be banned and owning a dog should be a criminal offense. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been attacked by the vile creatures, on bikes, unicycles or on foot (that’s me BTW, I’ve never seen a dog on a bike). There is no such thing as a responsible dog owner - they all seem to be under the delusion that everybody must love their pet and being barked at, licked or bitten will make our day. The last dog encounter I had was a couple of weeks ago when the animal went for me from some distance away, probably 20 or 30 yards. I was on my 26" and just carried on riding at the mutt hoping it would give up like they usually do, but it just jumped at me, slammed me to the ground and tried to bite my ankle (luckily I had shinpads on so it couldn’t do any damage). The dog’s owner had a go at ME for scaring their poor little pet (“you must be careful, he can be a bit funny if you take him by surprise”). The fact that it watched me from a distance before laying into me didn’t seem to count. Dogs just have no right to exist. [/RANT]

  • Dons asbestos jacket *

on dogs and unis

when walking around dogs LOVE me : it’s funny because I do not love dogs -though I am not afraid of them-!
(must be the smell)
I’ve seen fierce moloss come to me to make friends (this annoys some macho-masters!)

But when on a uni everything changes: every mummy’s poodle just turn out to be agressive.
Is it that dogs do not like Unis? (or is it my cranks that make ultrasonic qweeks?)

Re: Re: Uni assault on a car (literally)

hahahahhah wow

Good thing the car didnt stop.

It kind of reminds me when I was riding my road bike over the summer a truck pulled up besides me then started running me into the guard rail of a bridge. I hit my brakes to avoid getting run over and pounded on the glass of his passanger side window with my hand to let him know he was running me off the road.

Well I soon turned off the bridge and see the truck pass me agian, this time really fast and with plenty of room he ended up parking about 400 feet in front of me got out of his truck and then run at me to tackle me off my bike as I came by. I really wasnt expecting any of this but when I saw he was running directly in front of me with both hands fisted (unavoidable hit) I drove my bike right into him and smashed the front break flying over my bars launching with my hands directlly in his chest pushing him back a few feet.

This guy continued to go on about how his truck was worth more than my life and that he was going to beat the shit out of me. So I got right back and just started pushing him around and prepairing for my beating (the guy was easily twice my size) Lucky for me though, I think I acted crazy enough that I intimedated this guy and he backed off after 5 min of yelling and pushing. I ended up walking away with only a bloody knee and a bruse on my arm from hitting the pavement after going over the top.

Anyway I’m glad to hear that you walked away unharmed and left that car with something to remember his actions.


David didn’t do anything I can recommend, but it seems you are absolving the driver of all responsibility. David’s unicycle weighs 15 pounds or so, while the car weighs at least 100 times as much. The driver of the car, in theory, has at least 100 times the responsibility not to hit unprotected pedestrians/cyclists. You seem to suggest that all car drivers should be given the benefit of the doubt, every time.

I can’t agree. Though it is true a cyclist or pedestrian must always be ready for drivers to make mistakes, that does not mean the mistakes are okay.

I have never been to San Antonio, but I am familiar with the “traffic culture” in NYC. Car traffic is constant, and you can either be aggressive or be a victim. If one chooses to ride a unicycle on a snowy sidewalk, or actually commute that way on a regular basis, I’d guess that person is going to be a bit aggressive, or at least assertive of his rights.

The driver either ignored David coming down the sidewalk or didn’t see him entirely. The area was snowy, but I don’t think it was snow-ing. Yes, the driver might have a burger in one hand and cell phone in the other. This does not reduce his responsibilities to not hit people.

The result of what happened is interesting in that the driver “never slowed” even though he must have known his car made contact with something. I think the legal term for this is hit and run. If the driver wasn’t looking, he doesn’t know what hit him, or what he hit. But if he’s driving in NYC, he does know he’s supposed to yield to pedestrians on a green light.

Hmm. is David a ‘pedestrian’ when cycling on the sidewalk? That’s another question I guess.

So, though one part of me pumps its arm in the air and says “YES!!” the other part knows that his actions will not “cure” that driver, and if he had stopped, all sorts of bad stuff might have ensued.

I’m glad it worked out okay David, but what happens next time that guy sees you? I know you’re not ‘blending in’ with all the other unicyclists out there… :slight_smile:

Re: on dogs and unis

I know it’s not sound, because I’ve noticed it with dogs all through the years, on many different unis. I think it’s the motion. A person walking looks one way, a person running looks another way, and a person on a bike also looks a certain way. A person on a unicycle doesn’t move like any of those familiar images, so it gets the dog’s attention.

Now I know many dogs have a chase instinct, which makes them want to run after things. I don’t claim to know how it works, but I think I know enough about dogs to say they have some hard-wired programming that controls most of their actions. Obviously they’re not hard-wired for unicycles, but perhaps because they’re seeing something unfamiliar, they go into a “protective” mode or something, presumably to protect their territory, or their masters.

Dogs definitely notice unicycles, even if they don’t make big reactions. I’ve noticed many, many times over the years when passing by dogs how some of them just stare and turn their heads sideways. You know they don’t do that for every passing bike or pedestrian.

Sorry folks, but I can’t condone aggressive behavior in response to careless or stupid driving. Aggression just promotes more aggression and usually accomplishies nothing in educating the party that needs educated. the person who gets beat up or has personal property damaged usually reflects on how to get even or where to take martial arts classes. I don’t think many of them reflect on the initial philosphy that caused the inappropriate behavior.

David, glad to hear you are okay. I am a considerate driver, for pedestrians, bikers and uni riders, but sometimes I make a careless mistake while driving my car. Would I deserve a dent in my car if your where there during my careless moment? I hope not.

Spectators seeing an aggressive act in response to a careless driver is more likely to cause ill will for unicyclists than a passive response. A passive response is more likely to get a compassionate response from a non-uni spectator.

With all this said, I am guilty of having experiences where I wanted to get even or would have probably gotten into a potential fight with an encounter with inconsiderate people. Many or these times I’ve been on my bike or unicycle. So it’s easy for me to preach, but hard to do. Please consider a passive response OR a civilized and educated response to the inconsiderate people of the world. I think we’ll all be better for it.

Excuse, while I hop off of my soapbox. Of course, I’ll be hopping off on my uni while doing a 360. :smiley:


I , too, have mixed feelings about this. David, I’m glad you didn’t get hurt or killed, but now you’re a target if that idiot ever spots you again!!! Unicyclists are in small numbers in most locales and if there are any other unicyclists in your area, that “carless idiot” may take out his revenge on another innocent unicyclist.
Where I live, road rage can be pretty severe, so I try not retaliate against such “brain-dead drivers”, especially if I’m traveling on somethingthat offers no form of protection (bike,uni, etc). Once again, I’m glad you’re o.k., but try not to let quick reflexes and bad judgment cause you to make a possibly fatal mistake :wink:

I can’t say I wouldn’t do something similar…
(In fact I have …)

There are plenty of asshats in the world, one more isn’t going to make a difference. (IMO)
(flame me if you want)

Just as there are people who witnessed the event, who would say you were in the wrong… there are others that would say you had the right …

Personnally, do what comes naturally, premeditated acts aren’t natural… If you get into trouble for a ‘instinct’, more than likely you have others on your side in a court of law.

I agree with Foss and the original poster.
Too many times unicyclists yeild (for various reasons).
We have equal right to the trail, the road, etc.

While I cannot say that damaging the car was “right” my thinking is that it was not completely “wrong” either.

Better the car than the driver.
Better the driver than the uni.
Better the uni than the rider.

Ditto, like Mike said.

Re: Re: Uni assault on a car (literally)


Rob, you really need to get over yourself. I mean for your own piece of mind. The dogs just aren’t going to go away so you’re going to have to figure yourself out. There are plenty of responsible dog owners out there. You’re just not noticing them. Like all the “good” drivers on the road, they’re just the ones you don’t see.

That dog assaulted you. If you want justice, press charges when this happens. A responsible dog owner, if this was accidentally allowed to happen, would fall all over himself to apologize to you. They would notice how most people don’t appreciate being knocked down by their dog. The owner of the dog that jumped on you needs to be educated on what’s appropriate behavior for his dog as well as himself.

The same applies to us cyclists if we want to get back at evil drivers legally. The Checkernuts story especially. That truck driver tried to kill you, and according to what you wrote he basically told you this. If the two of you hadn’t kind of neutralized potential claims on each other, you could have taken down his license number and very likely gotten him fired from his job and his priceless truck.

You guys seemed to both be very lucky in those situations.


Had the right to what? Certainly not to deliberately make a dent in the car. That’s where a different type of dismount is in order. I’m not suggesting actually trying this, as the timing would have to be precise and it would be more dangerous to both you and the uni.

But, in my mind, I’m seeing the unicycle shoot out in front of me, aimed at one of the softer sheetmetal areas of the car’s door or rear quarter. Oops. I’m lucky it wasn’t me, instead of my unicycle! Now what are witnesses going to say?

So I’ll add myself to the group who are reminding you that it’s easy to think of all this after the fact. I can understand David’s actions on the spur of the moment and if I were a witness to the event I would surely back him up in court.

Uni assault on car

I responded via forum e-mail but now realize that this probably shows up as a separate thread. Basically I wanted to add (in THIS thread) that there were NO WITNESSES (it was the perfect crime) and that I never would have done it had there been ppl watching. It really was an unusual set of circs that allowed everything to work out as it did. But SteveOwe, since you’re new-ish here on the forum, you don’t know that despite stupid things I’ve done (“Near death experience on Cokey” comes to mind), I’m actually quite protective of the uni communi.

As Foss and others have since pointed out, the real danger could lie in the fact that the driver may one day recognize me (or worse yet, some other uni’ist whom he vents on by mistake). That’s what keeps me in check as much as I am (which isn’t much).

SteveOwe, you need to stop assuming so much, because when you assume, … Well, you didn’t make an ass of me (I can take care of that, thank you).

Tho I am in fact the perpetrator, I totally agree with Foss here. I definitely did NOT have the right to smack the car like I did. I believe that in this rare case, the conditions were perfect, and I’ve already mentioned some of them (no witnesses), but others were: moving car, me going in a separate direction towards an area of heavy pedestrian activity, the fact that the car couldn’t back up towards me in time, and so on. But what I mean by ‘perfect’ is that I was able to get away with something, not behave ‘correctly’ because the correct way to behave is to avoid getting hurt and then to grumble to yourself about bad drivers. I just decided to change this last part. And I certainly don’t advocate smacking cars with your uni as I did.

I should also point out that I was totally in the right until the car barrelled thru the turn. There was nothing wrong with how I was riding (not too fast, slowing down at the light, watching for pedestrians, not eating sushi) and I had every right to be there (according to NYC law). My only thought after smacking the car was that I might have to alter my route, but even that was figured into the equation, because I almost never ride on that street.

I’m thrilled about all the nice comments I’ve gotten on this incident. Most of you realize I didn’t do the ‘right’ thing but merely did something that at least some of us feel was deserved. Yes, I believe that drivers have to be vigilant ALL THE TIME. I own two cars (and I live in NYC! – thank dog for my driveway), and when I drive, I am SUPER CAREFUL about the bike lane (as well as pedestrians, etc). Had I been the one to cut off a biker by error, I would have taken pretty much any abuse the person could lay out, including a pedal to the gas thingy. Not sure this driver would agree, tho.

… hmmm …

I’m not saying it’s ‘right’ to smack the car… hehe…
I’m saying he’s got the right to ‘react’… :smiley:

It’s like when someone says something about your sister or your mom,
you dont have the ‘right’ to remove his front teeth…
but, you do have the ‘right’ to set him straight … :smiley:
(disclaimer … this is IMO … no animals or humans were hurt in making of this post)

Just my 2c…

Although, my sediment about ‘the revenge factor’ is wrong…
… and you could possibly pay ‘restitution’ …

It still puts a ‘reminder’ in the offenders head