Unicycling on pavement in UK.

I have not been able to clear this up so I thought I would ask…

Is unicycling legal on pavements. Most people round me are too bothered about staring, cos it’s unusual, to worry about it.

it is stated that cycles should not ride on pavements and I presume this also covers unicycles.

Can anyone confirm?


There’s no law regarding unicycles – so yes. I’ve had police tell me it’s illegal, but they were just guessing. There’s nothing in British legislation regarding them.

29ers and 36ers are generally treated like bikes, and can be ridden on roads. Best to keep them off the pavement.

Might want to look at this.

From what I recall there is nothing specifically about unicycles in that act [ though my memory may be lapsing ]. I believe it is an inference. In any case it is absurd to expect small unicycles to use roads and not cause danger to themselves and motorists. I would stick to the pavement and just be careful of pedestrians.

Act like a cyclist, be treated like a cyclist. Act like a pedestrian, be treated like a pedestrian.

We have no end of laws and rules and regulations, but it generally boils down to common sense, whether on one wheel or two.

If a copper asks you not to ride on the pavement, then don’t ride on the pavement. Even if it is technically legal, he can tell you to stop if he thinks you are posing a danger to the public.

Be polite, engage their interest, move on.

No one wants to be the constable explaining to the sergeant why he’s off the beat for a day in court giving evidence against a unicyclist.

20’’ and below is legal but anything above that is illegal but british police dont care lol

I don’t understand this part of that letter:

“Under the Highways Act 1835 Section 72 it is an offence to ride a
pedal cycle on a Foot Path, (the definition of foot path includes
pavement). This means that the vehicle should be used on the road and
not on the pavement.”

How do you ride on the road but not on pavement? Are your roads not made with pavement? :thinking:

It’s a language thing - in the UK ‘pavement’ means ‘sidewalk’.

The stuff that the road surface that the cars (and unicyclists who are behaving like bikes) use would be called tarmac or concrete or whichever material is used.

‘Paving’ (to further confuse things) would usually refer to a surface using slabs rather than continuous material like asphalt.


Not true. There is nothing in the law to differentiate between wheel sizes.

I got a fixed penalty notice for unicycling on the pavement, and, trust me, I looked in to the law quite deeply. There are a couple of reasons why I shouldn’t have been done, however, rather than go to court and become a test case that could affect everyone else that rides a unicycle, I swallowed my pride and paid the thirty quid.

Essentially what it comes down to is if a unicycle is considered ‘similar’ to a bicycle. The Road Traffic Act of 1836 lists vehicles as “Bicycles, tricycles, velocipedes and similar”. I would suggest that if they have to differentiate between a bicycle and a tricycle, then a unicycle is not similar enough… but that would be for a court to decide.

Also, when the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) was introduced, the Home Secretary at the time (Paul Botang) wrote to the head of police (can’t remember who off the top of my head) explaining that this FPN should only be used against persistent offenders or those that may risk causing injury. It shouldn’t be used against those that may, from time to time, for their own safety use the pavement in a safe and respectful manner.

If anyone cares to search, there is a thread on here (about 2-3 years old) that I started that goes in to much more detail about this.


Thanks, It’s all perfectly clear!

We would call slabs, paving stones as well. Over here the term ‘tarmac’ is rarely used but would be equivalent to our ‘pavement’. Road surfaces are very rarely made with concrete.

I’m a bit rusty here, but the expression used to be “ejusdem generis” (although classical Latin it would have been eisudem generis as the Romans had no J). It means “things of their kind” and means that the common features of the list should be assumed to be relevant when considering the extent and application of expressions like “and similar”…

The opposite is “sui generis” meaning “of its own kind”. Something is [I]sui generis[I] if it is unique, one of a kind and nothing remotely comparable.

I would say the common feature of the the list is that they are wheeled human-propelled vehicles. Velocipede is now an archaic term. It would be ridiculous for the list to have to include quadricycles and pentacycles, and oddities like dicycles. Therefore, I would say that a unicycle is ejusdem generis and bound by the Act.

in 1994 the law was updated to include unicycles:

“pedal cycle” means a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle, or cycle having four or more wheels


Generally i agree with mike(not about the latin stuff, thats just jibberish). if you ride safely whether on the road or pavement you should be ok. I was riding on the pavement last night on my 20" on the way home from hockey and a police stopped and watched me struggle up a hill. When i got to the top they smiled and drove off.

I’ve been asked once to get off the pavement in quite a few years riding. Also been told once to stop jumping on a bench in town. In the uk, the cops dont care. They stare, smile and go ok. Maybe on a 36"-29" they would say something if you were going fast on the pavement but even then i doubt it.

Do bmxers get told off for going on the pavements? I’ve never seen it, and either way no cop in the uk should be stupid enough to fine you.

Now taping radio programs is illegal. Its not like your gonna get sued! Mind you the music industry is getting that stupid lately.

That may be true in your experience but Spencer has already demonstrated that it’s not always true.

Round here it’s true - we have big pavements and many of them are also cycle paths. Bikes and unicycles often are ridden on the pavement.

And whereas the police don’t care, other people might and if they gave the police a hard time then they would hassle us in turn - so use pavements with respect. Because other people can be quite snotty. A few miles down the coast from here in a place called Llandudno they have a lovely wide prom next to the sea, as we do in Prestatyn. In Prestatyn loads of people cycle, and a couple unicycle, along the prom. In Llandudno there is a bylaw that people are not allowed to cycle along the prom and in the summer (I don’t know about the rest of the year) they have a security guard posted on the prom to make sure no one does. That included unicycles :frowning: Killjoys.

Yeah that’s what I thought

Yeah well apparently you can get a £10 fine near me if you ride on the pavement but I’ve never seen it happen. With the increase of cops on bicycles in the area they normally don’t care and are interested in your unicycling. I more often now see a cop on a bike than in a car!

Unlucky, I bet that is nice and flat too! :wink:

Thanks everyone :smiley:


In addition to the one single time when I got the ticket from the police for riding on the path, I have been seen by coppers whilst riding on the path dozens of times without so much as a scowl. I have ridden past police in the city centre several pubs into a unicycle pub crawl, and there’s been no problem.

As some of you say, the police don’t care. Maybe it’s that they aren’t entirely sure of the law themselves, but, more likely, they have more important things to care about.

The guy that done me had been stationed on that corner with the brief of issuing as many tickets as he could that week, so everyone that went over the white line at the traffic lights, was talking on their mobile whilst driving, smoking in a company vehicle, or apparently, unicycling on the path got a fine. Just bad luck on my part that day I guess.


I believe the first few paragraphs of that were lifted from a post that I made about 10 years ago. I later realised, after reading more legislation, that the definition given in SI 1994 No 1519 applies only to SI 1994 No 1519.

I’m getting bored with clarifying this every time the subject comes up. Perhaps I should just rewrite the FAQ and get Dan to replace it on the website.

Sounds like a good idea. Looks like rain so it’ll give you something to do :slight_smile: