Unicycling and the law in Kenosha, WI

I was looking through my local statutes for an unrelated issue (something to do with my b*ike) when I came upon this. It makes me wonder what the story is behind this being on the books here and with this wording. I imagine someone must have been trying to argue that they could commute on or ride a big-wheel uni and the city decided to specifically deny the right.

Kenosha statute 7.14 K

K. Unicycles. No person shall operate or ride any device having only one (1) wheel, irrespective of the size thereof, on any City street, alley, highway, or public thoroughfare or on any sidewalk in a Business or Industrially Zoned District, except with the permission of the Police Chief, which may be granted only for parades and special events and which may be subject to a test of operating skills.

Have any of you looked into the official legal status of unicycles in your own locality? I’m curious about how common laws like that are.

Whoa, draconian and archaic. :frowning:

That’s pretty specific. Which in its way is an advantage - I don’t know all the details of law over there, but over here you’d only have to have a second wheel (however small) attached to your uni somehow to make you exempt, as the statute wouldn’t then apply.

That’s odd. I don’t think Madison has any restrictions like that… but we’re a strong cycling city.

The question is though, how many people are actually well versed on that law, and how many are going to care? I’d say next to none.

Interesting that it’s allowed only for special events, and subject to a “test of operating skills.” I don’t understand why one couldn’t take a test of operating skills (like you do for a Driver’s License, per se) and earn the right to ride a unicycle wherever one can ride a bike :thinking:

It’s not like we’re much more erratic than bikes. I’ve seen bikers blatantly disregard traffic laws while I sit in my bike lane, stop for stop signs/lights and yield the right of way when I must.

Yet another reason I’d love to move to Madison. (I’m looking at the idea of transferring to UW-Madison after next year.) What I was originally looking up was related to having a police officer in car tell me that I had to ride my bike on the sidewalk or he’d write me a ticket for obstructing traffic. I was pretty sure I was in the right on that one, so I went in to the station armed with information from a good number of sources. Turned out I didn’t need them; the lieutenant there who managed the shift told me I was in the right and he’d talk to his officers about cyclists. But yeah, Kenosha is not the most bike-friendly or bike-informed city in the world.

I was living in Chicago for a year, where there’s the threat of a ticket if you do ride on the sidewalk. As it should be!

Many cyclists don’t seem to feel that traffic laws apply to them, and as a cyclist who tries to ride as predictably and safely as possible and make every effort to be treated with respect by motorists, it makes me mad when I see bikes blow through stop signs and things.

But I digress.

I do think the no unicycling law here is pretty silly. I’ve kind of been hoping that I could get pretty good on the 20" I’ve got, then look into a larger wheel for commuting. I have a chronic wrist injury that I have to deal with on a bike, and I thought commuting by uni might just be an answer for that!

I recommend riding (safely and “legally”) in Kenosha as much as possible, and fighting City Hall if it becomes an issue. :slight_smile:

That’s kind of the plan at the moment. Or at least not riding any less because of such things. Especially now that I’ve talked to someone a little higher up and gotten confirmation that at least one person at a more management kind of level is more bike friendly.

I’d hate to actually file official complaints or anything, and hopefully I won’t have people telling me incorrectly that I shouldn’t ride on the street any more. But if I do, I’m definitely going to follow up on it.

At NAUCC i was sure they said for some reason you’re technically not supposed to unicycle on any roads in Wisconsin, but that they were just ignoring whatever weird law it was. I guess that’s not Madison specific, but still applies to Madison.

Interesting. I haven’t been informed of that, but I do believe you.

Alas, I’ve been doing it for close to 4 years now, and I’ve never had any problems… so I really don’t care :roll_eyes:

I say go ahead and unicycle, dude. No one is going to care unless something goes terribly awry.



“Where’s your other wheel?”

I think that wheel walking or any other level 5 freestyle skill (and up) is definitely against the law in Kenosha, WI. Way to go Gilbey!

Wow, didn’t know that.

I’m in Whitewater WI, and I usually ride on the sidewalk since I’m not ready to tackle inattentive drivers with the uni.

Been riding since 16, now 49. I used to ride on the street all the time in Greendale, where I learned. Guess I was lucky to never get stopped :slight_smile:

I rode around my neighborhood this morning, I did stay on the sidewalk.


I know that sign!

Great picture! I hope you enjoyed our fair, albeit apparently anti-unicycling, city.