I’m a runner (well, I used to be, for unicycling seems to take up most of my exercise time nowadays), so I’m used to going against traffic, which is what I do when unicycling. I mostly ride on residential streets, and I feel safer seeing the infrequent cars coming at me. I like making eye contact and seeing them move over and share the road.
I justify riding against the traffic because I’m cruising at about a fast running pace, and on my 36 I feel like a 7-foot jogger.
In BC, Canada, if you’re on a vehicle (horse, unicycle, car), you’re a car. You follow the same traffic rules. Which also means don’t ride across pedestrian crosswalks. If you’re on the road, you follow the same yielding rules as a car. Which also means you can take up the entire lane if you want. If you move over for a car, you have given away your right to be there.
If anything major goes awry, insurance/lawsuit will be much simpler if you were following your countries rules.
That said, I still ride on the sidewalks because I UPD frequently. But I am on the correct side of the road as pertaining to traffic travel, use hand signals on the rare occasion I can turn without falling over, dismount for crosswalks, and time my escapades for when there is minimal foot traffic in my neighborhood. And if I see a car coming at me, I will still quickly hop off and get out of the way, lawsuits be damned!
I rode against traffic for a long time until a year or so ago a local police officer admonished me that I had to ride on the side with traffic.
So now that is what I do. I wear a rear view mirror on my helmet and it works very well, so I am always aware of traffic approaching from behind.
In addition, cars making turns at intersections are much less likely to miss seeing me since they always have to look left before making right or left turns. If you are riding against traffic, cars making right turns at intersections will rarely look to the right since oncoming traffic in these cases will always be coming from their left.
I ride on the right, with traffic, on my 29 inch. I also have a helmet mirror.
When driving at times I have suddenly come across bicyclists on the wrong side, traveling against traffic, on a narrow rode. This results in having to react really quickly as the approaching speed is so much faster then usual (speed of car + speed of bike). Even at the speed limit that can easily put you 10 miles over in relation to the bike.
And riding a unicycle may reduce reaction time even more as the driver is thinking “what is that?”
I tell my daughter to ride against traffic on the left when riding her 20 or 24 inch since they are so much slower. I would rather have her see approaching cars.
Overall I prefer sidewalks and paths to riding on roads. But even those are not safe when riding fast. Last year an older relative of mine was hit on a sidewalk by a car turning into a driveway. She blames the driver of the car and the police ticketed the driver, but on a tree lined street I think it can be fairly easy to miss the cyclist cruising up behind you on the sidewalk. She probably would have been fine if she was on the road riding with traffic.
I think it has to do with speed. Walking or jogging speed ride with traffic. Faster then that ride with traffic.
I would agree with that. If you’re riding a 20" there’s no reason you couldn’t ride against traffic or on sidewalks. I would just think that like JJuggle, you need to be prepared for a police officer to tell you to move over.
This is the biggest reason I ride on the right (with traffic) and on the street instead of the sidewalk. Another is that on a unicycle I feel more like a bicycle in that it is harder for me to stop or drastically change direction than it is on foot.
You are safer being struck by a car from behind than head-on. Never, ever, ride against the flow of traffic. If anything happens, then you are liable for any damages. In hazardous circumstances, or if you are being harassed by motorists, wear your GoPro. I know this sounds extreme, but we have had several bicyclists killed and some severely injured in recent years where I live.
You are putting your life in the hands of strangers when you ride on the road. People driving can be bored, hungry, tired, distracted, angry, frustrated, or crazy, and texting adds another element, entirely.
Please ride and make decisions as if your life is at stake on the road.
If you can figure out what the law is. Or if the law pertains to unicyclists.
Look at the tickets given to unicyclists that were thrown out for riding on sidewalks in New York City. The law isn’t clear even for the police.
Here in Maine I talked to one officer who said a unicycle isn’t allowed on streets in his town because the town board banned ‘toy vehicles’. Then I talked to a friend who is a state trooper and he thought unicycles were more like skateboards and ‘toy vehicles’. That is, until I showed him a photo of a 36 - I don’t have one - and he wasn’t really sure how to classify it.
The definition of bicycle in Maine.
“Paragraph 9: “Bicycle” defined as “a device primarily propelled by human power, operated by a person usually seated on a seat and driven on the ground on wheels by the operator”.”
I think this includes unicycles, if you count ‘wheels’ as also meaning 1.
But others might argue intent of the law if you are looking at a 20-24 inch uni moving at walking speed. In that case it is probably better to behave as a walker and ride against traffic.
Even so in Maine “Sidewalk riding is not prohibited by state law” even on a bicycle.
The law was passed in the last couple of years and the state worked with bicycle groups in passing it. I don’t know if any unicyclists were involved. But to me, it still isn’t clear.
For me, I ride my 29 with traffic and on sidewalks. For my kids on the smaller unis I tell them to ride against traffic. Even if it is safer to get hit from behind, they are less likely to get hit if they see the oncoming vehicle. For some reason kids get distracted to easy and are less likely to stay on a line - there is always some drift. And while I listen for cars they tend not to and with hybrid cars you can’t even hear them.
That being said, when they are on bikes I tell them to ride with traffic. Ok, it isn’t like I send them out riding on highways. They are in our little isolated neighborhood usually with me watching.
So for me, it is ride with the intent of law, use good reason, and ignore laws that don’t make sense for your kids safety.
Your best bet is to call your chief of police instead of googling it. Bylaws are about 200-500 pages long. I’ve read good portions of mine and it made for dryyyyyy reading. (For work, I teach driving, I have to know laws)
Here, unicycles are a mode of transportation. Which must follow vehicular laws.
Whether YOU follow the law or not, is your own personal choice.
As stated, there are many, including life, and financial reasons to do so. You are beyond hope legally if you do get hit and damages are made to you, the driver, or the car. If you get a head injury, that’s about a million a year to take care of. Here in BC, Canada we can opt and get Drunk Driver and Uninsured motorist insurance, which covers us in an accident whether we are walking on the sidewalk, or biking on the road. Not just inside our vehicle. I opt into that as I’m on the roads alot, and it’s about $20 a year. I have insurance that cost me another $20 annually in case my horse kicks some pedestrian and hurts them. They can’t sue me.
There is alot of stuff you can do to protect yourself. Following the rules that will put you in favour is a big one though.
Ok, I am posting way too much and using up my time for my lunch ride. But in searching for laws covering unicycles I came upon this website.
It clearly generates a website based on key words. But the results are kind of funny. Ok, I guess it isn’t that funny.
We Help You Get Fair and Just Compensation for Your Unicycle Accident Lawsuit!
Need an Experienced Unicycle Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured in Unicycle accident, knowing your legal rights can provide both financial relief and peace of mind. There are over 3 million injuries each year from transportation accidents. Motor Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of personal injury and wrongful deaths claims in the United States each year.
A Unicycle accident can cause life-threatening physical injuries and trauma that can include financial damage to victims of negligent drivers. Injured victims must deal with large and unforeseeable medical expenses, loss of wages, pain, suffering and loss of quality of life. Family members also can suffer economic loss, mental anguish and loss of companionship in caring for an injured family member.
“Where no laws are clear, and common sense is neither an obvious choice nor easily recognizable by the individual or public at large, then the unicyclist shall take every precaution and exercise every means necessary to make him/her self as safe as possible while riding among vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
Propose your own edict, and we will see if it makes any more sense to the common man/woman than mine. I am amazed that I have lived to see almost 53 years of age, considering the poor choices made, and foolish acts performed.