NYC To Fight Unicyclist Kyle Peterson’s Lawsuit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City’s cycling crackdown isn’t just targeting bike riders in Central Park.

Now the city is vowing to fight a $3 million lawsuit filed by a Brooklyn unicyclist.

Kyle Peterson, a circus performer, was ticketed in 2007 for violating a city ordinance that prohibits riding a “two- or three-wheeled device” on sidewalks.” He was slapped with another summons for the same thing in November.

Peterson filed the federal lawsuit against the city claiming his rights were violated because he was riding on one wheel.

Both summonses were dismissed in court but Peterson said he wanted the freedom to ride his unicycle.

The Daily News said the city filed a motion to dismiss the suit this week, saying the law was intended to protect pedestrians.

The city said the difference between a bicycle and a unicycle “is negligible.”

What do you think of the lawsuit? Is Peterson right or way out of line? Sound off in our comments section.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • joe elohssa

    the local le nypd officer was fulfilling his quota. So he can go in buy some

    He was protecting the safety of empty side walk.

  • Robert

    By the name alone, Bicycle, means 2 wheels, like the name Unicycle implies 1 wheel. The law needs to be rewritten and the offender is guilty for riding a “cycle” on the sidewalk.

  • Auburn Dale

    I suggest a new rule… If a ticket is thrown out, it no longer counts toward the cop’s quota.

    Better yet… For every ticket that’s thrown out, the cop LOSES credit for TWO tickets.

    • Bennett Hall

      How about if the ticket is thrown out and IF it is a bad ticket, the “victim” gets paid the face value of the ticket ( normal), 2X value (issued in egregious error), and 5X value (issued with intent to harm civil rights with 1X charged to officers pension), etc.

      force the government to have some ‘skin in the game’

      That might just stop the practice altogether. There should be consequence OTHER than you not having to pay $$ that you should NEVER have been charged in the first place.

      Now there is a new law that I could support!

      • Auburn Dale

        Better yet… IF the ticket is thrown out and IF it is a bad ticket, the “victim” gets paid by the COP rather than the City.

  • Auburn Dale

    A ruling for the City would create a legal precedent by which 2 = 1, which would then allow anybody to get out of paying for anything (“I owe $2,000, but 2 = 1 so I’ll pay $1,000”) and end up destroying the economy.

  • Bennett Hall

    A great example of government employees that should be laid off, if for no other reason than this reveals that they have “too much time on their hands” and have lost their focus and no sense of priorities. Those involves are perfect target for budget reductions. Additionally, the point as to why PD is choosing to interpret the law “at their pleasure”, could help weed out pad staff as well – one is certainly not TWO or THREE wheels. Case Closed.

    • Unicyclist

      I mostly agree. But I think the real fault lies with the NYPD brass who mandate a certain amount and a certain type of tickets issues each month (or night!). How can officers comply when their particular precinct doesn’t have enough miscreants? So while I agree that the cop in this case was at fault, so were his supervisors, all the way up.

      • Bennett Hall

        absolutely – this is systemic, culture, core-mission based, and 100% lemmings off a cliff wrong.
        And the faster Government learns how downsize itself. (sorry about the lost jobs BTW), and removes especially the redundant-micromanaging nightmare levied by surplus laws on smaller businesses especially the better! (NOTE: I do not mean quash the building resolve to STOP this “sleeping together” regulatory culture that the Feds have used in past to manage Oil, Banking, Insurance, Nukes for example)

  • Unicyclist

    I always forget just how willing people are to make comments despite how un- or ill-informed they are. And these same people are allowed to vote!

    1. The law is the law. The City doesn’t get to interpret it to suit its needs.
    2. Kyle was ticketed while riding on a sidewalk at 2 a.m. There was no one else on the sidewalk.
    3. When he informed police about the law, they simply changed the ticket the young, inexperienced officer simply gave him a different ticket: disturbing the peace. Whose peace was he disturbing?
    4. Unicycling is much safer than bicycling for people with equal skill. If you can ride a unicycle, you usually aren’t going to ride into a pedestrian. And if you do, you aren’t going to do as much damage as a bicyclist would. People walking in crowds while texting or reading cause many more accidents, albeit minor ones, than someone unicycling on a sidewalk. Unicycling while texting, however, is a bad idea.

    • 2shay

      But ya can’t coast on a unicycle.


      • Unicyclist

        Sure you can. It’s just really difficult.

      • dad

        Uh…. what? You’re not too bright, are you?

  • bf

    we had fight with local nazi unabikers – hope you yank bikers pick it up with germans

  • John Q

    If ticket agents weren’t under such pressure to write, write, write there wouldn’t be as many frivolous tickets.

  • FJP

    So can they issue now a ticket for driving 55 because the difference between that and 56 “is negligible”?

  • Downhill

    In Laguna Beach the local ordinance reads that Skateboarders must ride their boards opposing traffic because the California Vehicle Code classifies skateboard riders as pedestrians. Now isn’t that special. Skaters on modern boards can reach speeds of +45mph. Todays vehicle code is wholly inadequate for classifying the new (and some old) forms of individual mobility. A 45mph skateboarder will never be a pedestrian and a unicycle will never be a bicycle. How will the vehicle code classify an autonomous car you summon from an iPhone? Car or BBQ?

  • Joe Bonano

    He hits me on the sidewalk he wears
    his one wheeler ,well you know where!

    • Jinkies

      Up the poop-chute?

  • jnb757

    Yes, the law says 2 or 3 wheels but logic would include a 1 wheel in that ESPECIALLY since they are even harder to cotrol in crowds. The law needs to be ammended.. The 3 million dollar lawsuit by this lowlife is a WASTE of taxpayers money, he is doing it strictly for the PR and they judge should slap him with a fine for a frivolous legal action. Bicycles, motorcycles and cars are NOT permitted on sidewalks with pedestrians and anyone with common sense knows why..

    • Auburn Dale

      “Yes, the law says 2 or 3 wheels but logic would include a 1 wheel….”

      NO, logic would NOT include 1 wheel because 1 is not 2. If you think the law should apply to unicycles, contact your City Council member to have the law rewritten. Until then, it states “2 or 3 wheels” and thus logically includes ONLY 2 or 3 wheels.

  • Realist

    The law is the law is written, and one does not = 2, unless maybe you re a Neo-Con

  • It's like this...

    …unless you are a little 3 year old girl riding with training wheels, I will kick your sidewalk riding ass off of your tri-bi-uni-cycle. Dig?

  • J


  • Micha

    I don’t think this is harassment. Yes, the law only prohibits 2 or 3 wheel vehicles, but a unicycle is a vehicle none the less. The city does this to protect those people who are walking on the sidewalks, they don’t do this for fun. Its weird that this story is on here today because i was nearly ran over by a bicyclist last weekend by the Met. That same cyclist then almost drove right into a moving car… they aren’t safe to be riding on the sidewalks, esp. around small kids.

  • Rich

    Why should rascall’s be allowed on the sidewalks, but not harmless unicycles? It’s not fair, I tellz ya….not fair at all.

  • sean

    and one more point is that the first time he was ticketed it was dismissed because a unicycle is not a 2 o3 wheeled device….but the city still is harrassing him by giving him a 2nd ticket.

  • sean

    Stop giving Jersey a bad name with your stupidity. The whole basis of the argument is not about if a unicycle is a bike but the law is written as a 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle. No matter how fuzzy the logic 1 is not 2 or 3.

  • sean

    typical bull that the government always seems to get away wtih when it siuts them. They can interpret “their” laws any way they want but if WE deviate we are nailed.

  • mike

    If only the City pursued killer drivers as vigorously as they do harmless unicyclists.

  • John

    The city is right in doing this. Just because it’s one wheel shouldn’t make any difference. No one should be driving or riding any type of vehicle on a sidewalk.

    The thing wrong is the city chooses who and when to give tickets to. When people walk against the lights, putting themselves on danger of being hit by a car, I don’t see them getting a ticket. Is that right? Shouldn’t the city enforce these laws also?

    • Sharon Burke

      If you don’t want him riding on the sidewalk then change the law don’t bend it for convience sake.

    • Josh

      The CIty is completely WRONG! The laws have to be enforced as written, not intended. Our city has become a nanny state with Emperor Mike telling everyone what to do, what to eat, where you can smoke, where you can ride this, etc…
      It’s enough. The law says 2 or 3 wheels and that’s why both summonses were dismissed. The plantiff has every right to sue because the city’s actions border on harassment.

  • JuJu

    Unfortunately, the city needs to obey their own law. If the language never included the Unicycle as a wheeled-vehicle, then he needs to get off, and they need to quickly amend the law. They can simply re-word it as “…any wheeled-vehicle…” or “…vehicles to include single or multiple wheels…”

  • Peter

    The city attorneys, et al, who were so incompetent that they forgot to include unicycles are now paying the price for that incompetence (despite the “spirit” of the law with which I heartily agree). The law is the law. If it doesn’t specifically forbid “one-wheeled” whatevers, it seems to me that the city doesn’t have even “one” leg to stand on. They need to modify the law.

  • Moral Truth

    Who does this guy think he is? He is not supposed to be riding on the sidewalk to begin with. Now he is trying to play free lotto.

    The police did their job and thats the moral truth.

  • Joannie

    If only the city was so vehement about all bicyclists who insist upon riding on sidewalks, even along streets with dedicated bike lanes (not to mention the many cyclists who do not obey vehicular laws)!

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