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Some area requires you to dismount your bicycle. So what is the exact definition of dismounting your bicycle?

Can you just simply dismount from your bike seat, but keep one foot on the pedal to propel the bike forward?

Or do you have to completely dismount and walk the bicycle?

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  • 5
    And the local law will need to define a dismount.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 2 '15 at 19:30
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    There are subtleties around informational, warning and enforceable signage as well. Often the "Cyclists Dismount" signs have no legal force, but that depends on who put them up and whether they meet the legal requirements for that use. Our local council is very keen on them, but they are "informational" meaning that they're at best a suggestion. However, a police officer can still use the presence of a sign as reason to book someone for careless use of a vehicle or whatever offence they come up with.
    – Móż
    Dec 2 '15 at 21:43
  • In contrast, we have similar signs, and the fines vary from 100 USD - 250 USD, depending on location (the fine is marked on the sign).
    – Batman
    Dec 2 '15 at 22:29
  • The pedant in me can't help but think that "Dismount" means to get off the bike and stand by the side...but does NOT mean you cannot get back on the bike after you have dismounted :) Same as a Stop sign - you stop...but then you start again!
    – BlueChippy
    Sep 14 '16 at 12:16
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By definition, dismount means to get off the bicycle. That means you should not be straddling the top tube, but should be standing next to the bicycle. Then, you can walk the bike if needed. This is the safest bet, and the one you should use unless you have additional information.

You shouldn't just get off the seat and pedal with one foot or waddle, unless you have additional information that says its okay in that area.

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  • This is almost certainly correct (the "almost" because for any legal question one can find a pathological example). It's not always the most courteous approach as you're wider walking next to a bike than straddling it or sitting on the saddle and punting with a foot on the ground.
    – Chris H
    Dec 2 '15 at 19:51
  • Yeah, I think walking the bike is not as sensible as doing the one leg walking on bike. I won't go at any speed faster than jogging speed with the one leg walking anyway. So why the law makes it unrealistic?
    – Nhân Lê
    Dec 2 '15 at 20:19
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    @Nhân Lê: The law is to keep pedestrians safe and for them to feel safe. Its a lot easier to write and enforce a simple rule such as a requirement to dismount. "A cyclist must dismount to use a sidewalk" "A cyclist may dismount, or may straddle the bike and not use the pedals to provide forward momentum or sit on the seat and must not go faster than a pedestrian and must be able to stop safely and.... to use a sidewalk"
    – mattnz
    Dec 2 '15 at 21:32
  • @NhânLê It's very easy to end up going faster if you keep one foot on a pedal, similar to how people go fairly fast on skateboards. Seems pretty sensible to really force you to get off to make sure you don't go fast.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 3 '15 at 1:15
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    I agree with @mattnz. In any case, its the property owner/ordinance's choice to put and enforce these laws. And just because you may be well behaved if this is allowed doesn't mean others will be (see any college campus with a decent number of bicycles).
    – Batman
    Dec 3 '15 at 2:39
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Dismounting: to get off your bike and walk besides it in any fashion that does not involve straddling it, in any way or form, or carry your bike.

That way the Observer: aka police or civic duty personnel, can easily distinguish the difference between "riding" vs "walking"

It is part of the enforcement of the law itself, so that there is no, gray area to challenge, whether you were riding vs walking the bike.

Straddle walking: as in two feet firmly on ground and is the only means of forward and backward movement, is quite safe, so long as you are mind-full of who is around you, because you are only moving the pace (walking while straddling) of a pedestrian with the width of your shoulders and length of your bike. this is especially true when carrying loads on saddles, baskets or handlebars. Where walking besides the bike would be dangerous due to the bike fighting gravity and trying to keep it upright, when it starts to go over gravity kicks the tires out to the side when you hang onto the handle bars trying to stop the downward pull. (9 years of direct experience as only means of transportation of myself and goods I carry. It is extremely dangerous for self and others when walking "besides a bike" loaded with a 40-80lb load for example.

When you are not seated and using one pedal or kicking off the ground with the other foot for forward movement, while balance on the other pedal is quite dangerous to self and others. If you need to come to a stop right now. Body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon outside force. Meaning balancing on that single pedal and no contact with seat means the bike is NOT going to stop you when you squeeze the brakes sending you flying forward or other dangerous direction.

In fact its more dangerous than having both feet on the pedals where you lift off the seat. At least them your center gravity is in the middle due to equal pressure on both pedals and there is more friction between you and your bike when you squeeze the brakes suddenly.

Again: Dismounting, is entirely about making is easier for observer to know which you are doing, thus making it easy to enforce the law/ordinance.

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You would have to be off of your bike completely. You may be able to get by with straddle walking it (both feet on the ground). This rule is usually in place to keep pedestrians from getting hit.

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  • To straddle walk you have to have your weight on your feet, and this is an uncomfortable, inefficient and ungainly way to move your bike more than a couple of steps.... If you're straddling the bike while perched on the saddle, its "riding".
    – Criggie
    Sep 15 '16 at 0:18
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Answer: Dismount means get off and walk beside the bike.

You cannot scoot with one foot on the pedal either, however you can jog or run with the bike beside you.

I guess nothing says the bike must stay on the ground either - you can carry it fore/aft or even sideways, and you're obeying the letter of the law.

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  • I agree with criggle statement. Sep 14 '16 at 6:30

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