Unicycles in traffic (kinda' long)

Rick: I’m glad you got good answers from different perspectives. However,
regarding your response to these answers:

“I’m surprised that everyone (so far) felt that riding with the traffic would
be best. I think riding against the traffic would be better…”

>From years of commuting to work on bike, and many years of unicycling (on
and off-road), I know that intuitively, what you’re saying seems correct. In
particular, the following statements caught my attention:

“- you can easily see traffic coming towards you and be prepared to move over as
necessary, or bail out, or slow down to avoid a confrontation with a storm sewer
grating or pothole at the same time the vehicle passes.”

What is ironic is that these are the exact statements many bicyclists had used
for years in defense of “wrong way riding”, but crash statistics don’t support
them. “Overtaking” type crashes actually comprise a relatively small percentage
of all crash types (i.e. where motor vehicles and cyclists are going the same
direction). Actually, most collisions occur at intersections, and that is why
riding on sidewalks and parallel (separated) bike paths can be equally dicey
(the bike lane/bike path issue is also a very current and extremely
controversial issue within the bicycling community as well). As you can tell
from the myriad responses you got, the legal status of unicycles is nebulous at
best, and varies from state to state, but I think everyone provided good advice.
If you are going to ride on the street, I would stick to residential and
collector streets where there is adequate width, and where there are lower
volumes of motor vehicles driving at slower speeds. I live in downtown
Sacramento, and although I could “legally” ride in the street all over town,
under these conditions I usually keep to the sidewalks when on my unicycle (when
I’m commuting to work on my bike, I use surface streets). Besides, when you’re
on the sidewalk, you get to see the faces of pedestrians and motorists. 8^)
Also, the advice on mirrors was right on target - always a good idea for riding
anything in traffic. I recommend the type that you can mount on your helmet or
(sun)glasses. If you want to know a specific brand, just drop me an E-mail, and
I can make a few suggestions.

Sorry if this ran a bit long, but my livelihood comes from advocating
non-motorized transportation (cycling and walking primarily, but I also work
with e-vehicles and transit). Consequently, safety issues are always a big
priority!!! Hope it helps.

Tim Bustos, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, City of Davis, 23 Russell
Boulevard, Davis, California 95616 TEL: 530/757-5669; FAX: 530/758-4738