Unicycles are explicitly declared as Wheeled Recreational Devices under the NSW Australia Traffic Act. This is the same category as roller skates, scooters and skateboards.
As such I can legally ride on roads that don’t have centre lines where the speed limit is not above 50 kph and on any cycleways or mixed traffic area unless it is specifically signed to exclude WRDs.
Unlike a bicycle rider above twelve years of age, I am not forbidden from riding on the footpath (sidewalk). I simply must give way to pedestrians. No speed limit is mentioned.
I can ignore signs prohibiting cycling. I don’t need brakes or a bell.
I cannot legally ride on the road at night even with lights, but it appears I can ride on the footpath without lights or reflector. The situation appears that I am considered closer to a pedestrian than a cyclist, which is true in some ways.
Moreover, since I am operating a device rather than driving a vehicle I expect I cannot be charged with riding under the influence which is certainly a valid charge on a bicycle. So as long as I stay on the footpath on the way home at night I should be right.
I can see the unicycle rack down at the pub filling up quickly when this gets out.
If they ever want to turn unicycles into b*ikes then I will be fighting it. Though I suppose if I won they will just put up a lot of new “No WRDs” signs.
What is the status of a unicycle in your jurisdiction?
Don’t have to wear a helmet either, and should be able to be taken on trains in NSW in peak hour without paying the child fare that you would for a bike
Not being a smart arse when I say this, but I do as I please here. From memory the law is rather vague re. unicycles ie, doesn’t take them into consideration. The only thing that keeps me off busy roads is the desire to survive. Naturally I’m always careful around pedestrians - reckon it would be a shocker of a feeling to clobber one.
As it happens, the central library in my city is the only place that has given me a hard time about the wheel. I used to carry it around with me when in there until the security guard told me his bosses said it had to go. I said it was smaller than a push chair that parents use and I was carrying it like always. “Nope”, he said. “Its a vehicle and it’s got to go.” I leave it at the coat/bag check in the nearby art gallery now. Nice and safe. And I always get a laugh when I say to them that I will know if anyone has been riding it 'cos I know exactly how many kms are on it.
Asked my local police chief on Twitter, and he told me to follow all the same rules as bikes. That means lights, reflectors, sticking to the road, one brake per wheel (though in our Highway Code a fixed/direct-drive wheel counts as a brake, so I don’t have a brake either). Helmets aren’t mandatory here, I don’t wear one anyway but I suppose if I had to there’s no reason not to.
Uni’s are lumped in with bikes because the law has this little bit: "pedal cycle” means a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four or more wheels, not being in any case mechanically propelled unless it is an electrically assisted pedal cycle of such class as is to be treated as not being a motor vehicle for the purposes of the 1984 Act;
It’s nice that they explicitly mentioned unicycles there. I’m not sure how I feel about being lumped in with bikes in terms of having to ride on the road, but so far I’ve not been ran over so I guess I’m doing something right.
Regarding drinking and uni’ing… Over here there’s no specific laws against drinking or mobile phone use while cycling, but you can be pulled over for ‘distracted’ or ‘dangerous’ use of a vehicle (And the police chief on above twitter conversation warned me about this when unicycling on the road, that is, if I’m wiggling all over the place and crashing into things, I’ll probably be pulled over). I’ve unicycled home drunk a few times now, though usually it’s so late that even if I were to wiggle all over the road, there’d be no car to run me over, and if a policeman sees me riding a bit odd he probably just assumes it’s because I’ve lost half my bike, not because I’m bladdered
I have found the explicit reference. A person riding a WRD is a pedestrian in NSW.
Apparently I can legally cross a pedestrian crossing without dismounting.
Except for shoulders, I can ride on any road related areas of roads that I am prohibited from. Hence I can ride on the median strip of a divided road.
I can ride across a road that I am otherwise prohibited from provided I take the shortest safe route and take the minimum practical time.
Piece Maker, I think the article you’re referring to starts off by saying this:
'The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1994 stated that a ‘pedal cycle’ was defined as “a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four or more wheels, not being in any case mechanically propelled unless it is an electrically assisted pedal cycle of such class as is to be treated as not being a motor vehicle for the purposes of the 1984 Act.”
This meant that unicycle riders had to follow the same rules as bicycle riders’
But then goes on to say this:
'In 2003, the UK definition of a ‘pedal cycle’ was changed. The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2003 enacted by Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 1101, state that “bicycle” – note, no longer ‘pedal cycle’, means a “two-wheeled vehicle that is propelled solely by the muscular energy of the person on that vehicle by means of pedals and has not been constructed or adapted for propulsion by mechanical power.”
Unicycles are not defined. Everything is clear as mud again.’
I guess it all comes down to how the police on patrol feel on the day
The article: http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law/
Off to town this afternoon and stayed within the law. I avoided the roads except to cross them. I like my new route. There are several more kerb ramps to cross now which is good as I am pretty confident on them unless they are radical.
The law for pedestrians says I must use the footpath rather than the road if “practical”. Practical is subjective.
Clearly it isn’t practical to ride a unicycle on a rough grass foootpath so I consider the road is a legal alternative if the footpath is not paved. Provided of course that it doesn’t have a centre line marked.
I am enjoying using pedestrian crossings without dismounting.
In my 15 years of riding (on n off) I’ve been pulled by the police a few times, on the road and path. Apart from one time, they all asked ME what the law is on unicycles…I replied that there isn’t really a law set in stone, but I’m as safe as a pedestrian on the path/safe as a cyclist on the road. The usual response is ‘ok, be safe…that’s pretty cool btw’
The one exception was a copper who told me I had to get off the road with ‘that thing’. I replied no problem, I’ll ride on the path. He told me that I wouldn’t be able to ride on the path on ‘that thing’ either, ‘its against the law’…
So, even though he didn’t have a clue what a unicycle is actually called, he was fully clued up regarding the law on them? Left me a bit lol
Problem with coppers is that when they don’t know, they still assume they represent the law therefore whatever they say is gold. And you’re just a little cockroach.
But sometimes, they can be proven wrong. It happened to a kid in New York.
On closer reading a person on or in a WRD is not covered by the rule that says pedestrians must use the footpath unless it is impractical.
I am free to ride on either the road or footpath if the road is not marked with a centre line.