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  • #16
    oops, posted half of it, I'll try again

    In the UK riding a unicycle you're legally a vehicle, the road traffic act is very specific about this fact. So,

    1) You should be on the road

    If you're not confident or you're riding a small wheeled unicycle, it'd be dumb to ride on the road and I'm pretty sure no-one is going to pick you up on this one. However, if you're riding fast on a 29er or a coker, the place for you is in the road (or on a cycle lane if you like to ride them) or offroad on public bridleways, not on the pavement.

    2)You should be obeying the rules of the road.

    As a road user you've got the responsiblity to everyone else not to do anything stupid. Even the most stupid of car drivers don't actually want to run you down, you should do everything you can to make it easy for them not to. You shouldn't ride through red lights at junctions, because some poor driver might go through their green and run you over. You should also not do anything that might hurt pedestrians, like riding through red lights on pedestrian crossing. Signal if you're turning. If you signal, most drivers will let you turn and be much more polite to you than if you just swerve across their path.

    3) You've got a right to be on the road

    Sometimes if you ride a unicycle on the road, you'll end up in arguments with people who say you should be in the pavement. These people are wrong. At big junctions, you'll sometimes need to be in a filter lane, sometimes car drivers will not like this. The safest thing to do in this situation is stay right in the middle of the lane and let them overtake only when there's another lane for them to do it in. At a red light, idling or hopping on the spot is a perfectly sensible thing to do, just be confident that you can start again without falling off. Be confident of your right of way, for example on roundabouts or when going along main roads.

    4) If you're on the road you need lights at night.

    Legally you need a British Standard or equivalent front and rear light. Vey bright lights aren't actually BS, but fortunately thanks to the EU, you can use anything that fulfils a similar standard in any EU country, so you can use bright offroad lights. Also, there's no rule saying you can't have extra lights. You're also supposed to have a rear reflector, I've got a cateye light & reflector combined and have a 12w front light and a bright red light on my helmet. I've also got red and white reflective tape from halfords on my unicycle.

    5) You should be nice to other road users

    It's also nice to generally be polite, if someone is stuck behind you for ages and isn't beeping their horn lots or being rude, then let them go past if you can. Falling off in front of people is particularly impolite, you definately shouldn't ride on major roads if you still fall off when riding on tarmac. Ride a bit below your maximum speed so you don't fall off.

    6) Everyone *is* out to get you

    90%(*) of car drivers drive like nutters. Always assume they'll do the wrong thing and be ready to stop quickly or swerve. Keep your eyes open for cars coming off side roads, or cars going fast across roundabouts, or for people driving through red lights. From experience, if people cut you up don't give them the finger in case they turn out to be a car full of very scary looking geezers and stop and run after you making you feel very lucky that you can ride faster.

    7) They're not really out to get you

    The more you ride out, the more you'll find that the encouraging comments outnumber the get out of the road comments 20 to 1. You're doing something odd and most people seem to respect a little bit of eccentricity. Most other road users will be lovely to you most of the time. If people are nice to you, be nice back, a friendly wave doesn't cost anything.

    8) Don't have the helmet debate.

    This always comes whenever bike or unicycle safety is mentioned and it's a waste of time going over it again. Some people wear helmets. Some people don't wear helmets. There's not much scientific evidence that helmets protect you very much, there's even some evidence that says they make you take more risks. In the end, outside of organised events the helmet thing is up to you and its a waste of time arguing it. If you want to know the arguments either way, google for "helmet debate" or something.

    9) Do have the argument about riding unicycles on the road

    People will tell you several reasons why you shouldn't ride unicycles on the road. They're all rubbish. A few common ones are listed below

    a) It isn't safe

    A unicyclist is in full control, far more than any other vehicle user, they can stop on the spot, turn 180 degrees, ride a perfectly straight line deviating less than an inch either way. A good road unicyclist only gets off when they choose to and doesn't fall off unexpectedly. You're more visible on a unicycle, so people are less likely to crash into you.

    b) You'll slow people down

    Almost all the time when people slow down for any kind of cyclist, they'll just accelerate afterwards and get behind the same car they were behind originally, so not losing any time. Anyway in London, the average speed for cars in the rush hour is 8.5 mph, a good unicyclist can average 11 or 12mph in the same conditions and is only held up by car traffic. Using the same logic, we should ban car traffic in London and only allow cyclists.

    c) You'll cause a crash, someone will get killed etc.

    Firstly, yes bad driving / riding can cause someone else to crash. That's the same for any vehicle, so unless we're banning all drivers, it doesn't mean unicyclists should be on the road. However, there are very few cases where a cyclist has been charged with causing a dangerous accident and as far as I know no unicyclists have. Its definately far fewer than car drivers who caused accidents.

    Secondly, people will say that it's odd and people might crash because they're looking at you. It's true that's a possibility, but then should we ban women wearing low cut tops in summer, morris dancers dancing on village greens, fireworks, odd cars, or anything else out of the ordinary, just so that stupid drivers don't get distracted.

    (*)Okay I made that figure up.

    Joe
    old pics new zealand pics new pics
    Where have I been riding? (GPS)

    Comment


    • #17
      About unicycles falling into the "grey area..."
      Most places do have some sort of default. Here in Utah, the default is the "human powered vehicle," whereas it sounds like unicycles in the U.K. are road vehicles by default. I personally use the ambiguity between common perception and technical definitions to my best judgement. Sometimes, it's just plain unsafe to be riding on the streets/tarmac, even if the law says you should. The town I live in does not exactly have bicycle friendly roads. However, there also comes a time where the sidewalk/pavement is not a good place to be riding. So I pick what I feel is the most appropriate for the situation. When I get to an intersection, I generally become a pedestrian, where the cars are oblligated to stop for me. But in areas where the foot paths are congested, I hop into bicycle/ vehicle mode. One of the things I find beneficial about riding my uni is that I can follow the safest route without being bogged down by laws that "make things safe."
      Blah Blah Blah BACON Blah Blah Blah
      --Harper a-la Catboy
      Still a work in progress . . .

      768

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      • #18
        Originally posted by joemarshall
        You shouldn't ride through red lights at junctions, because some poor driver might go through their green and run you over. You should also not do anything that might hurt pedestrians, like riding through red lights on pedestrian crossing. Signal if you're turning. If you signal, most drivers will let you turn and be much more polite to you than if you just swerve across their path.
        If there are no cars coming, then ride straight through the red light, you won't hurt anyone. Signalling is a bit of a weird thing too, because flailing arms could be confused for signals. Swerving into their path isn't a good idea, because they are bigger and heavier than you, so common sense would have you swerving out of their path.
        Falling off in front of people is particularly impolite, you definately shouldn't ride on major roads if you still fall off when riding on tarmac. Ride a bit below your maximum speed so you don't fall off.
        Everyone falls off sometimes. It is not rude unless your Unicycle goes out of control and gets in the path of the people who are following you. I think the best place to crash is in front of people so at least someone gets to appreciate the humour of the situation. If you have a nasty fall with no audience it is wasted pain, a bit like a tree falling in the forest making no sound.
        Be confident of your right of way, for example on roundabouts or when going along main roads.
        I think it is best to give way to all vehicles, unless they insist on waving you on. I usually don't even bother getting the right of way at pedestrian crossings unless it is really busy and I'm in a hurry to get past.
        90%(*) of car drivers drive like nutters. Always assume they'll do the wrong thing and be ready to stop quickly or swerve.
        This is the reason I think it is best to give way to other road users. If you plow into a car (or vice versa) it is not going to be the car who gets hurt, regardless of right of way.
        From experience, if people cut you up don't give them the finger
        I think the finger is an appropriate gesture to express your frustration or dislike towards someone, without expending as much energy as you would if you shouted abuse at them.
        8) Don't have the helmet debate.
        Why not? It is fun to debate controversial subjects such as hell-mates.
        Do have the argument about riding unicycles on the road
        Why? Seems more boring than arguing about helmets. Offroad is better than the road anyway, so get off the road!
        A unicyclist is in full control, far more than any other vehicle user, they can stop on the spot, turn 180 degrees, ride a perfectly straight line deviating less than an inch either way. A good road unicyclist only gets off when they choose to and doesn't fall off unexpectedly.
        It's a bit far fetched to say a Unicycle is always in control. Faster vehicles have greater consequences when they crash, but Unicyclists crash a lot, or UPD, momentarily losing control. There are many good road unicyclists who crash unexpectedly. We are all human. Even Wobbling Wally Watts crashed (breaking his collarbone) during his Round-the-world unicycling adventure.
        You're more visible on a unicycle, so people are less likely to crash into you.
        You are more visible than what? Small children? Most forms of transportation are at least as visible as Unicycles, and being relatively small a Unicycle would probably fit pretty well into the blind spots of mirrors. Not that I have ever been crashed into, I just rely on my own judgement to avoid cars, rather than expecting them to see me.
        Originally posted by paco
        About unicycles falling into the "grey area..."
        Most places do have some sort of default. Here in Utah, the default is the "human powered vehicle,"
        That is exactly what I meant by the grey-area/loophole. Unicycles don't usually have specific laws made for them, they just fall under other general categorys. A police officer in New Plymouth tried to tell me that a Unicycle falls under the definition of a skateboard in the local Bylaws, and is not allowed on the footpath in the Central Business District (under threat of confiscation). This is a rediculous suggestion and I am (lazily) trying to get the wording of the Skateboard bylaw changed to exclude Unicyclists. The only reason it fits the description is because the definition of a skateboard vaguely includes "or other similar recreational devices". If (/when) there are more unicyclists, I think the laws will be changed to include more suitable legislation, until then we can continue using our common sense and try to keep our reputation as road users untarnished by mishaps.

        Comment


        • #19
          I'd rather not see laws change to accommodate unicycles, except in instances where the unicycles keep getting kicked off the roadways. Otherwise I think it's better for us to not have specific laws everyone can point at.

          But in any case, if you use the road, you should behave like a responsible road user. This has been a good topic, with good stuff to learn for anyone who wants to ride with the cars.

          In response to Rowan's "get off the road" thing to ride on dirt, I'm sure he's kidding but some people just need to get to work, and there's no dirt on the way. Others are into actual road riding, and it's not up to us MUni riders to tell them our activity is better, even if it is. But if you're going out specifically to put on road miles, rather than get from A to B, it makes sense to ride on roads that are more cyclist-friendly.

          Rowan's other recommendations on darting between cars, etc. are likely to work fine in the short term, as long as your luck holds out. Clearly it is not advice for daily commuting or any long term way to survive. I think as we get older we get better at thinking long term. This is why "stupid" forms of death seem to happen mostly to younger people. I was guessing Rowan was under 25, and yes, according to his profile he is. When I was under 25 I did plenty of similar stuff...

          My own commute to work, when I do it, is pretty cyclist-friendly. I ride along a 40 mph road that has light traffic, and a bike lane. A bike lane is a place where people park, and where cars enter and exit from side streets. A far cry from a bike path. But at least you have a line separating you from the main traffic, and a space of your own.

          I have a mirror that attaches to my sunglasses, so I always wear the sunglasses when commuting. This is a good idea when riding with traffic also for eye protection, because cars can toss up some junk, and the higher speeds of commuting can put more bugs and other things into your eyes. My mirror:
          http://www.unicycle.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=367

          My commute takes me across a major intersection, with a 4-and 5-lane road, turning arrows, and tiny traffic islands on the corners. I don't mess around with this one, and turn into a pedestrian there. I usually remount the Coker as I'm crossing on the green light. I prefer stopping at the few lights on my commute, so I just dismount. People in the cars like watching me get back on anyway, and it's more crotch-friendly.

          I designed my commute to avoid busy roads, and I am very fortunate to have a path that works, with only a very short distance on a bike-unfriendly road. 100 meters on Folsom Boulevard I can live with. I would not commute on that road.

          Cyclists are supposed to have a right to use the road (after all, bikes came before cars), which equates a form of right-of-way. One of the things I used to teach when working for the driving school: The right of way is never something you have, it is only something you can give. Rights or no rights, it's up to you to make sure the motorists around you are giving you your space.

          You don't have to worry about the good drivers. They take care of themselves, and pass relatively unnoticed in the traffic flow. You have to look out for the inattentive, aggressive, or just plain stupid ones. They're always there, talking on their phones, looking at the baby in the back seat, tuning their radios, etc. They have a car around them; you don't. So the "darwinian" part of the job falls to you, to look out for all of them. It's the same rules for motorcyclists, who also travel unprotected with the cars.

          Though cycling is generally legal on all regular roads, some roads just are not good for it. There are roads that would be just plain dangerous to ride on, and you should avoid them. Same for taking your place in the turning lane (right turns for UK, left turns for most of the rest of us). It depends on the traffic level, and types of roads you're on. One of the intersections I pass through coming home has all cars turning right in the right lane, so I go on the line between that and the left lane while waiting for the light to change. This is done with plenty of eye contact with the drivers so I know they can see what I'm up to.

          Riding with traffic takes practice. You should be a confident unicyclist before putting yourself out with cars, and it will take some practice to become a confident road user. Take your time, and only join the cars when you feel relatively comfortable with them. Use your judgement as to whether you should be on certain roads.

          And like the good advice already given by others, if you're out there, ride predictably, be visible, and act like a bike, and you'll be treated like one. Which means most of the cars will notice you, and understand which way you're headed and what you're doing.
          John Foss
          www.unicycling.com

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

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Rowan

            It's a bit far fetched to say a Unicycle is always in control. Faster vehicles have greater consequences when they crash, but Unicyclists crash a lot, or UPD, momentarily losing control. There are many good road unicyclists who crash unexpectedly. We are all human. Even Wobbling Wally Watts crashed (breaking his collarbone) during his Round-the-world unicycling adventure.
            A good unicyclist should not ever crash when they're riding safely. You can tune your riding to be as safe as you like, mostly by riding a bit slower in potentially dangerous traffic situations. If you're riding across a major junction in traffic, or riding in a lane of fast traffic, you don't fall off. Falling off in such a situation is dangerous and stupid. I've ridden my current commute for about 1000 miles in total and have yet to fall off on it.

            Similarly, if you're riding well, your arms aren't flailing and you can keep them by your side. This allows you to signal clearly in the same way as you do on a bike.

            As for right of way, I'll take the right of way as far as possible, obviously as I said you have to assume the driver is going to do the wrong thing and be ready to take emergency evasive action if so. From experience I'd say that almost all drivers give way to you even if you are stopping to give way to them. Giving way when you've got right of way often just slows everyone down as everyone stops.

            Joe
            old pics new zealand pics new pics
            Where have I been riding? (GPS)

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by TheObieOne3226
              When i steal Nicks coker...
              Isn't this redundant to those guys in the UK?

              I would like to respond to some points made without quoting the original text.

              1.) People are not concerned for the safety of others. Left-wing loonies use this to mask their desire to control the actions of others.

              2.) Some people ARE out to get you. In the US and the UK there are places where you WILL be attacked for riding a unicycle. This is what right-wing loonies do to mask their desire to control the actions of others.

              3.) Laws vary geographically concerning vehicles, operators, and their interaction with traffic. This is where left-wing loonies and right-wing loonies get together to actually control the actions of others.

              4.) Getting older does not make one better at rational long-term risk analysis. Getting older makes one a bigger chicken.

              5.) One does not wear a helmet in traffic to protect oneself from falling off of a unicycle and hitting one's head. A helmet is worn in traffic to protect one from the 3 ton SUV being piloted by the soccer mom talking to her friend on a cell phone about yesterdays "Oprah" program while simultaneously turning around and telling her little munchkins that the Disney DVD they're watching is on too loud. The munchkins are unresponsive because they're too busy watching the rapid approach of the back of the strange unicyclist through the windshield.

              6.) If a traffic rule is ignored when no one is close enough to be affected and the one who ignores it is not caught, a law has not been broken. Unfortunately an individual's life has briefly left the control of others and the universe suffers greatly as a result of this. The universe generally gets over little twitches like these very quickly. You may take this principle to the limit where the other people are so close they're sitting in your lap. Hopefully those people will be Joe Marshall's women in low cut tops.
              Last edited by harper; 2003-12-30, 05:19 PM.
              -Greg Harper

              Nipples...do you ever have enough?

              Change is good. Bills are better.

              Comment


              • #22
                Some comments on Harper's comments:
                Originally posted by harper
                1.) People are not concerned for the safety of others.
                Hey, wait a minute! I myself am occasionally concerned for the safety of others. Therefore some other people probably are too. Of course Harper is talking about everybody else.
                4.) Getting older does not make one better at rational long-term risk analysis. Getting older makes one a bigger chicken.
                I don't know. I'm definitely a bigger chicken, but I'm definitely better (more realistic) at rational long-term analysis. I think we improve at that based on mistakes we've made over the years. For example, you can tell someone to put on safety gear before they hurt themselves, but they usually have to hurt themselves before they actually do it. Plus, you're older than me and I saw you on the Trials course at Nationals. You should be more chicken (or I should be less)!
                Last edited by johnfoss; 2003-12-30, 05:41 PM.
                John Foss
                www.unicycling.com

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

                Comment


                • #23
                  RSU is fortunate today that I have no comments on Foss' comments on Harper's comments.
                  -Greg Harper

                  Nipples...do you ever have enough?

                  Change is good. Bills are better.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by harper

                    RSU is fortunate today that I have no comments on Foss' comments on Harper's comments.
                    Does this mean that you're commented out? Well, that's gonna need fixing, na?

                    (fumbles for ancient bottle of white-out.)

                    There - That's better!!
                    I was standing in the park wondering why frisbees get bigger as they get closer. Then it hit me.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Road riding tips/advice

                      On Tue, 30 Dec 2003 10:39:24 -0600, joemarshall
                      <joemarshall@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

                      >Giving way when you've got right of
                      >way often just slows everyone down as everyone stops.


                      I have to agree with the Dumb Blonde here. Same reasoning holds for
                      being on a bike or just as a pedestrian.

                      However, I wish I could say I never fall when I don't want to. There
                      is the occasional pothole or whatever that you (one / I) failed to
                      see, maybe because looking at traffic in general had a higher
                      priority. But indeed, riding conservatively helps a lot.

                      Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
                      --
                      Today (31 December) is the last day this year. Happy Old Year!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by harper


                        Isn't this redundant to those guys in the UK?

                        I don't get it. Is there something I'm supposed to get?
                        SWAT Gallery
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                        Sixsixone

                        "Obie is definately a trend setter, I got in to unicycling because of him, and came here because of him" - KJ-52

                        "try not to annoy the great Obie, for he is better than us." - Murde Mental


                        Disclaimer: The above message was not intended to offend anyone. If you are offended I can take no responsibility for my actions because I don't feel like it. Also you are reading an internet newsgroup where not everyone will share your same views and beliefs, be able to take criticism and post/read threads at your own risk.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by TheObieOne3226


                          I don't get it. Is there something I'm supposed to get?
                          I believe Harper is referring to the fact that Kick is Britt slang for steal.

                          Daniel
                          OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE

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