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  • Police vs handle bars


  • #2
    Originally posted by Quax1974 View Post
    On a bike you are obliged to have your hands on the handle bars.
    Wow, something about Belgian law that I never knew! In NYC, bike laws are unenforced most of the time, but every now and then there is a wave of ticketing. A friend who ran a red light on his bike told me it's $250 for the first offense, then $500, then $1000. Another friend was actually arrested on the Upper East Side because he had a lot of unpaid bike tickets, and he told me the cops inside the police station were giving each other fascist salutes. A book I read makes a similar claim about the Highway Patrol in New Jersey. Anyway, unicycles, unless the law has changed recently, are not considered bikes here, but I have met several unicyclists who got ticketed for riding a "bike" on the sidewalk anyway. Those who went to court always won, but not everybody has time to go to court. In practice, I guess a bike is whatever a cop decides it is! Lately, there has also been a proliferation of e-bikes, scooters, one-wheeled skateboards, electric skateboards, electric unicycles and so on, and law enforcement is undoubtedly beefing up its legal toolbox so as to be able to issue fines for all of these new vehicles. The officer who shouted at you about your handlebars may have been invoking some new law or some new directive from the high command, but of course I am only guessing.

    I also don't know the answer to your question about handlebars. My unis don't have them, and anyway there's no law about handlebars around here, as far as I know.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by song View Post
      In practice, I guess a bike is whatever a cop decides it is!
      Same applies to anything that might be a weapon, so always be nice to the cops!

      If one runs into someone questioning bike laws in relation to unicycle handlebars, one can point out that the handlebars don't steer the thing. If they don't agree with you, ask them to demonstrate.

      Don't ask a cop to demonstrate.

      I wouldn't worry about it, but I don't do much urban riding.
      John Foss
      www.unicycling.com

      "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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      • #4
        "No need to fine me officer. I am already behind bars."
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Quax1974 View Post
          Has anyone ever gotten the same comment from the police?
          No, but I find the police in Brussels a bunch of childish idiots and corrupt liars.
          And that's exactly what I wrote them in return of the ticket at the bottom (so the order of this is odd - because of the attachment).
          “wij merken een fietser op”“GSM in de rechterhand en kijkt naar het toestel”

          Ik ben rechtshandig, en houd normaliter mijn toestel vast met mijn linkerhand, zodat ik die ZOU kunnen bedienen met mijn betere rechterhand.
          Wanneer de inspecteurs in hun schrijven stellen dat ik het in mijn rechterhand droeg, bevestigen ze dat het onaannemelijk is dat ik ‘m gebruikte.

          Wanneer u de 3 Belgische netwerken verkeersgevens opvraagt, zal blijken dat ik geen oproepen gemaakt hebt (noch berichten verstuurd heb).
          Eveneens zal uit locatie-peilingen blijken dat ik geen reden had om op dit zeer lange rechte eind van mijn traject op mijn GPS te kijken.

          Dat ik mijn GSM werkelijk gebruikt zou hebben wordt overigens nergens gesteld, …enkel gesuggereerd!

          Zelfs al ZOU ik gebruik gemaakt hebben van mijn GSM,
          dan nog spreekt het betwiste Artikel 8.4 enkel over bestuurders.
          Daarmee is het artikel onmogelijk op mij van toepassing.


          “Hij meld ons dat hij geen stuur heeft om zijn GSM te fixeren”“swalpt wanneer hij naar zijn gsm kijkt”“swalpt wanneer hij naar zijn gsm kijkt”“Wij vereenzelvigen de man a.d.h.v. zijn identiteitskaart”leo@advocaat.pro
          
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          I found it dissapointing to never have received a follow-up or apologies.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by leo; 2019-08-04, 09:07 PM. Reason: reamrk about timeline / attachment at bottom.
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          • #6

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            • #7
              I've very rarely gotten comments from police. I don't think there are clear regulations on unicycles anywhere in the world (why should there be, it's way too uncommon of a transportation device), so my recommendation is: don't argue with them, just tell them straight up: "I'm sorry, I wasn't sure of the exact regulations." Then do whatever they tell you until you're sure they are gone, and then go back to doing what you think is safe (for yourself and others). So far, that has worked 100% of the time for me.
              I've never heard anyone getting away from a ticket with arguing, but being friendly, explaining why you did what you did, and accepting what they say might work. Funnily enough I've been moved from the bike lane to the sidewalk, and vice versa from police before.

              I've even been let of with a warning for using my phone, on a bike, on a sidewalk (double illegal, but no one was in danger). I told them: "I'm sorry, I needed to answer this call, the sidewalk was empty, so I moved over there and proceeded to ride slowly since there was no one around. Next time I'll dismount and push my bike." The consequences are pretty high here in germany, you can actually get points on your drivers license from breaking trafic laws on a bicycle (Horribly unfair I think). I think most policemen think those punishments are a bit high too, so they don't hand out tickets unless you are really doing stupid things.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by finnspin View Post
                Funnily enough I've been moved from the bike lane to the sidewalk, and vice versa from police before.
                Yeah, a guy from the Bronx told me the cops yelled at him to ride his unicycle on the sidewalk and not in the street because he was holding up traffic, but then a few days later some other cops saw him riding on the sidewalk and wrote him a ticket.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by finnspin View Post
                  ...my recommendation is: don't argue with them, just tell them straight up: "I'm sorry, I wasn't sure of the exact regulations." Then do whatever they tell you until you're sure they are gone, and then go back to doing what you think is safe (for yourself and others). So far, that has worked 100% of the time for me.
                  That's probably the best general advice you can give for riding in most places in the world.
                  Originally posted by finnspin
                  The consequences are pretty high here in germany, you can actually get points on your drivers license from breaking trafic laws on a bicycle (Horribly unfair I think).
                  Are you not on public roadways where you might be ticketed? It should be considered all the same thing, long as the police apply it sparingly, as you mentioned. I'm not an expert on the ins and outs of driving in Germany, but I know your country has some of the best-trained and most skilled drivers, and a culture that rewards people for following the rules. You set an example the rest of the world mostly doesn't meet.
                  Originally posted by song View Post
                  Yeah, a guy from the Bronx told me the cops yelled at him to ride his unicycle on the sidewalk and not in the street because he was holding up traffic, but then a few days later some other cops saw him riding on the sidewalk and wrote him a ticket.
                  Each of those situations is probably linked to the larger picture of the traffic situation at that moment. Busy street traffic; unicyclist is slowing traffic (potentially dangerous situation). Later riding on the sidewalk, possibly without busy traffic on the street... I'm not saying it was consistent, but it may have made sense from an immediate safety standpoint...
                  John Foss
                  www.unicycling.com

                  "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by song View Post
                    Yeah, a guy from the Bronx told me the cops yelled at him to ride his unicycle on the sidewalk and not in the street because he was holding up traffic, but then a few days later some other cops saw him riding on the sidewalk and wrote him a ticket.
                    I'm trying to collect tickets for both, so I can wear them left and right, and pull the opposite one as soon I get the next one.
                    But ever since I'm begging for tickets, they feel suspicious and I never got one anymore.

                    Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                    Each of those situations is probably linked to the larger picture of the traffic situation at that moment. Busy street traffic; unicyclist is slowing traffic (potentially dangerous situation). Later riding on the sidewalk, possibly without busy traffic on the street... I'm not saying it was consistent, but it may have made sense from an immediate safety standpoint...
                    Eaxactly:
                    Do we want a geared long distance unicycle on the sidewalk? I guess not.
                    Do we want young learners on the road? I guess also not.
                    Let's use common sense; before you cause undesired law.
                    So if you end up in a discussion, then be constructive to others.

                    And please don't make any deadly incident; cause those statistics is what I often use as argument to put the true danger factor in perspective.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by finnspin View Post
                      I've very rarely gotten comments from police. I don't think there are clear regulations on unicycles anywhere in the world
                      There are explicit rules in most (if not all) states of Australia though they do vary from state to state. These rules are quoted from the Road Rules for New South Wales.

                      Rule 240 Wheeled recreational devices and toys not to be used on certain roads
                      (1) A person must not travel in or on a wheeled recreational device or wheeled toy on:
                      (a) a road with a dividing line or median strip, or
                      (b) a road on which the speed limit is greater than 50 kilometres per hour, or
                      (c) a one-way road with more than 1 marked lane.

                      (2) A person must not travel in or on a wheeled recreational device:
                      (a) on a road that is declared, under another law of this jurisdiction, to be a road on which wheeled recreational devices are prohibited, or
                      (b) on a road at night, or
                      (c) on a road at any time while any person travelling in or on the device is wholly or partly assisted in propelling the device by means other than human power.
                      wheeled recreational device means a wheeled device, built to transport a person, propelled by human power or gravity, and ordinarily used for recreation or play, and:

                      (a) includes rollerblades, rollerskates, a skateboard, scooter, unicycle or similar wheeled device, but
                      (b) does not include a golf buggy, pram, stroller or trolley, a motor-assisted device (whether or not the motor is operating), or a bicycle, wheelchair or wheeled toy.
                      bicycle means a vehicle with 2 or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears (whether or not it has an auxiliary motor), and includes:

                      (a) a pedicab, penny-farthing and tricycle, and
                      (b) a power-assisted pedal cycle within the meaning of vehicle standards, as amended from time to time, determined under section 7 of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 of the Commonwealth other than one that has an internal combustion engine or engines,

                      but does not include:

                      (c) a wheelchair, wheeled recreational device, wheeled toy, or
                      (d) any vehicle with an auxiliary motor capable of generating a power output over 200 watts (whether or not the motor is operating), other than a vehicle referred to in paragraph (b), or
                      (e) any vehicle that has an internal combustion engine or engines.
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                      • #12
                        A couple of weekends ago I operated my 36er on a road for 30 km as part of a "Ride For Life" event (promoting organ donation.) The road was divided in places and had speed limits of up to 100 kph. I was clearly breaking the law though I fitted in with the ride quite well.

                        On an 80 kph section I was overtaken by a motorcycle police officer who was presumably escorting the ride. A little further on he was stopped on the side of the road as I passed by. Moments later he overtook me again and kept going.

                        He was probably just curious. Would have been seen as poor form to ticket me in an event like that.
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                        • #13

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                          • #14
                            I havent ever been stopped by the police but did do some research and sent an email to police HQ in the netherlands just to have something for backup. Im certain there are cops who dont know the specific rules and im sure they can be made aware. Just like peeps on inline skates i can ride on both the road and the pavement, depending on my speed and i suppose as long as i dont hinder traffic.

                            Though if there are areas where bikes arent allowed bc of dangerous situations you could be responsible and question what impact riding a uni in the same area might have and compared to ur own control of course.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                              Are you not on public roadways where you might be ticketed? It should be considered all the same thing, long as the police apply it sparingly, as you mentioned.
                              Someone who runs a red light in a car or truck is quite possibly endangering the lives and property of pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. Making bicyclists (or unicyclists!) pay the same fine for running a red light is ridiculous! People sometimes get hit and killed by bikes, but it is extremely rare. Hit and killed by a unicycle? I doubt it has ever happened!

                              Obviously with a G36 it is usually better to stay off the sidewalk, but this is common sense. If traffic laws were ever written for unicycles of differing wheel sizes, it would only lead to extra police harassment. The less they notice us, the better off we will be.

                              I have seen cops stake out a spot on a street that had high-speed car traffic going uphill and almost zero pedestrians because it was on a bridge. The cops knew that bicyclists, fearing for their lives, often rode on the sidewalk at that spot, so they deliberately picked it for a sting operation!

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