unicycle versus car on the pavement

(This is blatent research proposal avoidance but I just can’t motivate myself to do any work so:)

I was cycling along the pavements of Prestatyn today as I am most days and I came across one of my regular annoyances - cars parked on the pavement, so that there is only a tiny space for me to ride through. And I wondered should I lose concentration, have a bit wobble or UPD and scratch the car, who would be to blame?

On the one hand I shouldn’t be on the pavement. Except that sometimes I should, the cycle paths are often along the pavement here and there is a little cycle painted on them, just so we know.

Whereas the car should never be parked on the pavement.

Maybe Mikefule knows, or anybody???



If there’s any doubt in incidents involving cars, ISTM that the upholders of the law will tend to favour the motorist. So you could well find yourself charged with criminal damage :frowning:

I should imagine that the “He shouldn’t have been parked there” argument might be of some use to you if you happened to scratch the car with a pushchair (as I am often tempted to do) while squeezing through the gap that the cager has been generous enough to leave between car and wall, but I don’t see it working if the damage is done with a unicycle.


O man are the americans ever going to have a hard time with this one.

I doubt it would be huge deal but It is still a good idea to avoid conflicts.

I’m sorry but I’m unaware of the depth of my ignorance and am not sure what ‘the americans’ will have a hard time with. Perhaps they could avoid reading it or someone who speaks both languages could interpret.

I’m not sure whether your comment about avoiding conflicts refers to my ignorance of American English or my pavement dilemma. On the supposition that it refers to my pavement dilemma I must say that I would never scratch cars on purpose but I always worry a little as I pass them. Or perhaps by ‘avoiding conflicts’ you mean that I should run away/pretend I hadn’t done anything. That would probably be my preferred option anyway.


Americans will have a hard time translating from pavement to sidewalk.

But why would cars park on the sidewalk?

Obviously, you’ve never been to Boston - they DRIVE on the sidewalks there.

I think you should ride your unicycle over the car. Clearly, the car must’ve been parked their as a trials obstacle. :wink:

Lol in england our streets are smaller so some streets have no drives to park there cars so have to park on the sides or roads of pavements…
I dont think they can do anything, its a pedestrain access and and so nothing should be allowed to block it.

sorry I should have been more specific, about my second comment which was directed towards the question at hand, in fact that was a really badly written post before. In fact it is so bad that I cannot figure out what I meant by it.

I agree though that it can be annoying when cars are parked in your way. Normaly I don’t have a problem with cars though its mostly old folks who walk in groups because they walk slowly with no aim and in packs that take up the whole sidewalk and don’t let you through.

in a fight between a car, and a unicycle, the car would win.

American point of view:

Based on the common-sense concepts of road use, the ones we wish more people would start with, probably rule #1 of the road (or pavement) is that your job is not to hit anything. That includes things that aren’t supposed to be there.

Apply the same concept to a jaywalking pedestrian who blocks your way when you’re in a car. If you “dent” the person it would be bad.

If your underlying question is whether you should have to be responsible if you scratch one of those cars, I’m still going to have to say yes. Should the car get a ticket/citation? Of course. Good luck with that…


Too kind.

The legal situation is very simple. The car shouldn’t be there, but it is there. You don’t have to ride past it on a unicycle. If you scratched it then you would be held legally liable for the damage. No doubt at all.

However, it is for the car owner or his/her insurers to identify you and prove (in court if necessary) that you were the liable person. It is a civil matter, not a criminal one.

Your household insurance (Contents) would normally provide third party liability cover for you, so you wouldn’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

There are some very very very rare occasions when the person causing the damage might be able to blame the person causing the obstruction. You’d have to show it was necessary for you to get past in that way - for example, a mother pushing a pram along a narrow pavement next to a very busy road - and that you’d taken all reasonable precautions. Riding a unicycle is not taking reasonable precautions!

The car may be illegally parked. That is a police matter, and has no direct bearing on the issue of liability for the damage.

Put some Pedal Protectors on your pedals and you won’t have to worry so much about accidentally scratching cars with the pedals.

omg! those are ridiculaas…isnt that right Klaas?

how about we also translate it to ‘footpath’ as it is known here

yep pedal protectors are stupid.
its hard to explain but…if you ride close to something then the PedalProtectos might hit it when the pedal could have missed if they weren’t on.

funny I have that very same problem when riding to work.
at two precise places there are cars parked on the pavement:

  • one is in front of a café, drivers just go and sip a beer and park their car anywhere … though I am sympathetic with their plight, I try to pass with my unicycle (no damage yet)
  • the other is in front of small knitting enterprise (I live in “knitting valley” south of Paris) it is in a curve and cars have not enough place to park. I ususally dismount but now I’m more able to cycle through a narrow gap. If I see a driver I just smile and ask them to fold their side-mirror
    just wondering what I could do if I were with a trolley and a child … (keep false scars and stick it to the car?)

Would the situation be different if they were obstructing a cycle path?

I ride to work most mornings on my uni and most mornings there are cars parked half on the pavement, right across the cycle path which is on the road. Just to top it off there are double yellow lines along this particular section of road.

The road is a one way street with the cycle path running against the flow of traffic. I don’t want to pull out into the road and be charged for going the wrong way down a one way street, I can’t ride in the cycle lane because of the cars, and the gap is very narrow between the vehicles and a wall, if I were to scratch a vehicle would I be liable?

I have taken reasonable care, I am attempting to ride in a cycle lane, they are parked illegally, I can’t go past on the road side as that would be illegal so I am forced into a small gap, it is not my fault that they obstructed my path.

Where is the line drawn?

Would they be charged for their offence(s) based on them attempting to have me charged or would I have to make an official complaint?

Their own statement would be able to be used against them but would the police bother?


Re: unicycle versus car on the pavement

In article
cathwood <cathwood@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

> I was cycling along the pavements of Prestatyn today as I am most days
> and I came across one of my regular annoyances - cars parked on the
> pavement, so that there is only a tiny space for me to ride through.
> And I wondered should I lose concentration, have a bit wobble or UPD
> and scratch the car, who would be to blame?

In general, the operator [the one moving, not the one parked] (driver,
n-cyclist, 'blader etc) is responsible for avoiding hazards and not causing
property damage. If you can’t wobble past a set of cars, whether lawfully
or unlawfully parked, without scratching them, you should dismount and walk
around. IOW an other’s bad behavior doesn’t excuse one’s own behavior.
For a clearer perspective, substitute “badly parked cars” with “small
children playing” or “feeble pensioner out for a walk”.

Otherwise we devolve arguing shades of “see what you made me do” or
variations of “gotcha!”


I know someone who regularly damages cars with pushchairs if they are blocking the footpath and especially cars that are blocking cycle lanes. Apparently it’s surprisingly easy to knock wing mirrors off if you are on a bike travelling at 10mph plus and you hit them in the direction they are not supposed to go. They only spring one way usually, hit them the other way and they just fly off. Those ignorant drivers who loose their wing mirrors to cyclists will hopefully take more notice of cycle lanes in future - my friend says.

I’m not saying you should do this Cath, you really need to be on a bike for full effect, but you might find the car is not parked there next time if you do, especially if you do it twice.