It's no secret that the city's cops aren't huge fans of cyclists. However, usually that hatred has been focused on salmoning bicyclists, not unicyclists who would do about as much damage as a jogger. Kyle Petersen (aka the Brooklyn Juggler) sent us this email yesterday, detailing a run in with the law that he claims left him with a criminal summons, even when he says he broke no law at all:

I am a professional circus performer, I was issued a disorderly conduct ticket for riding my unicycle on the sidewalk last Tuesday at 7:55pm. Upon being pulled over (yes, it felt weird being pulled over while riding a unicycle), the officer took my identification and began issuing a summons. I informed him that I had previously been summoned for unicycle on the sidewalk, and it had been tossed out because the statute as written does not apply to unicycles, only bicycles and tricycles. He then cited me for disorderly conduct, saying it was for "obstructing pedestrian traffic". However, there were no pedestrians in the vicinity. When I told this to the officer, he said "I could have written you up for a lot of things", and that "this is what the precinct is having us do".

While what I did can only reasonably be construed as a moving violation, I was issued a criminal summons. The reason I was issued disorderly conduct is because there is no statute that pertains to riding unicycle on the sidewalk, so I was cited instead with a criminal violation. Basically, they issued a disorderly charge because I was not breaking any laws, but they wanted to issue me a ticket anyway.

I am writing you because I think my plight shows the extreme length the NYPD is going in their war against cyclists. This type of behavior from New York Police Department is unacceptable, and should be brought to light. I am not the first to be issued a disorderly conduct charge while cycling (though I may or may not be the first to be issued a disorderly while riding a unicycle), and I won't be the last either. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor and is punishable by fines, jail time, and community service. It has the potential to impact my future employment, and could remain a permanent blight on my criminal record. It is absurd that I am facing a criminal court, as I was technically in violation of no laws.

He's right about that statute: in the law banning cyclists from the sidewalk, "The term "bicycle" shall mean a 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 only on a sidewalk by a child." And even those kids get dangerous!

Sgt. Hayes at the NYPD explained, "The definition of a bicycle is irrelevant in this case because the summons was issued for 'obstructing pedestrian traffic', not for riding a unicycle," and said that, "summonses are issued for violations. Misdemeanors and felonies are crimes, which are higher (and more serious) than a violation." However, there seems to be no specific policy regarding how to deal with unicyclists. In related news, check out this video of the New York Unicycle Club sticking it to The Man and cycling outside of Grant's Tomb.