UPD Contingency Plan

I have seen a lot of you mention having UPD. Do you ever have one in front of a moving car? How do you handle that?

I ask because out here there are no shoulders on the roads. An UPD would happen right on the highway. We have a lot of reckless drunks driving out here.

My own experience is that the overwhelming majority of UPD’s happen while trying to navigate difficult terrain and generally the only thing you can do is continue in the direction you are falling. You might be able to run it out or roll, but you’re not really going to be able to instantly change the direction of your travel.

As far as falling in front of cars goes, all I can advise is keeping as much distance from them as possible, especially in conditions of low light. Low light not only makes it more difficult for them for them to see you, it makes it far more difficult for you to see the bumps and obstacles that might cause you to UPD. One thing I’ve noticed while riding muni in the dark is that it doesn’t matter how many lights you have or how bright they are, you fall much more often simply because you can’t see the obstacles as clearly as in the daylight.


In my experience cars will travel adjacent to you so if you UPD you will keep going forward and they will just pass you. It’s rare that a car will follow behind you and when they do they are moving as fast as you are so if you did UPD they should be able to stop.


Not just drunks but distracted drivers and those just not paying attention is the reason I always keep track of traffic near me with a rear view mirror on my helmet. I always see approaching traffic from behind me and keep an eye on them till I know they are giving me space. I have never UPD’ed near any traffic but always have the option of bailing off the road into the ditch if needed.


I had a upd today coming home from work. Turning at an intersection. Went down, I think…onto my feet but momentum toppled me onto my right side with a slide. Two cars behind me kept their distance and let me get up. Hip padded moto-cross pants and leatt body armour saved me again. Feeling sore though. Might just unicycle to the train station for the next week.

I know of a situation where it could be fatal with instant contact head-on with a car while riding on a cycleway in Sydney. See below image.


Looks safe enough and I used to ride it every evening commuting home. I used to ride on my KH36 in aero position and always felt a bit uncomfortable seeing cars approaching in the nearest lane. I don’t ride there anymore.
In Australia we drive on left side of road. So in the picture, if the cyclist was on a unicycle and upd’ed forward and some how end up in the road lane beside the bike path. There would be no time for an on-coming approaching car to brake if nearby.
I would ride in the other direction - travelling in same direction as cars in the road lane nearest the bike lane.

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The only time I’ve had a UPD in an even remotely iffy location was when I tried to set off from a junction too fast on my 36er, and then proceeded to do a forward roll in the middle of the junction.

Thankfully being a signalled junction there was minimal risk of being hit by any cars, and I think everyone was so focused on me setting off that there weren’t any cars even remotely close to me when it happened.

That was about 8 years ago.
Since then I can’t think of any UPDs I’ve had in traffic as I try and ride far more carefully and with a much greater situational awareness when on roads.

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my only response here would be to do your very best to avoid riding on roads until you have very good control of your riding abilities. I find riding on the edge of a road to be rather risky even now that I am rather confident in my riding. I would suggest finding somewhere with long string of sidewalks or at least a bike lane.
also from your questions I take it you’re not giving up learning to ride.

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My main plan would consist of not riding there if there is any significant amount of traffic. I can also generally somewhat control the direction of a fall (especially if I’m extra cautious as I would be with a car behind me) so I’d head for the ditch.

But distance riding and commuting on a unicycle just doesn’t line up for me risk vs. reward wise anyway, so I rarely ride on roads if I can avoid it. I simply don’t enjoy just riding a unicycle more than riding a bike, so for commuting and just having a tour for fun, I do that. Risk vs. reward starts to line up again for riding Muni or practicing tricks, because that is a lot of fun to me.


Oh, good! This is a flat street. No difficult terrain involved.

@Unigan The speed limit is 50mph there, but people will drive 65+mph. The environment really isn’t safe or generous, but it is all we have. We do have sidewalks, but not until we are closer into town.

@JimT No shoulders, ditches, sidewalks or grass. There is a concrete wall at one point, but it can’t protect me. I like the mirror ideal though. I will give that a try.

@aj1500 It’s Hooterville here. So not a lot of options. Yes, I have resumed practicing.

@Pokalde WOW! What a generous space! We have sidewalks that are the width of 2 people.

I don’t see me ever doing tricks. Not at 57 years old. No ditch to head for out here.

A lot of people in this town run red lights. So a signal light isn’t much protection here. Good to know that practice will reduce my risk of UPD. :slightly_smiling_face:

Sorry for my unorganized replies everyone. The reply box was acting real strange. Might be all my security features on my browser interfering.