Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bicycle ≠ Unicycle

I recently started tuning into the Tryon forums, a web site that focuses on the local trails. I saw a message from another unicyclist that points out that New York State does not appear to include unicycles in their definition of bicycles.
I've been avoiding the county trails because of the "No Bicycles" signs. Sure, I'm not riding a bike, but I assumed anyone who didn't want bikes on the trails would still give me a hard time. And in reality, it's hard to know the intentions of a sign like this. They use a symbol and a few words to represent pages of policy.

According to the New York State codes, "bicycle" is defined as:
§ 102. Bicycle. Every two or three wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a tandem or tricycle, except that it shall not include such a device having solid tires and intended for use onlyon a sidewalk by pre-teenage children.
I'm one wheeled, not two or three. I'm not propelled through a belt or chain or gears. And the "shall not include" phrase only excludes other vehicles, basically child ride-on toys.

I also searched the Monroe County codes and Webster Town codes, for both bicycle and unicycle. Neither defines bicycle nor has any occurrences of unicycle. I'm not sure how county codes inherit or override state and town codes, but for now I'm comfortable assuming the state definition is THE definition.

So I think I'll print the state's definition of bicycle and bring it with me when I ride. My other ammunition is that, unlike bicycles, I move slower than a runner. If the fear is scaring or surprising other trail users, I'm not like a bike.

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