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Wheel good news! Unicyclist beats the rap in sidewalk-riding caper

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call him “Free Wheel-y!”

Unicyclist Kyle Petersen was back in his slightly imbalanced saddle again on Tuesday after a judge dismissed a disorderly conduct charge against the one-wheeled wonder for riding on the sidewalk two months ago.

“I’m quite relieved,” said Petersen. “I was just happy that common sense won the day.”

Peterson is best known for entertaining the multitudes at MCU Park as the unicycle-riding vendor for the Brooklyn Cyclones — but off the field, he’s less entertaining to cops.

Petersen’s legal troubles date back to 2007, when he was ticketed for riding on the sidewalk of Madison Street near his Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment. Then, on Nov. 2, 2010, cops again hit Petersen with a summons for the same alleged violation. This time, the high roller tried diplomacy.

“I told the cops that I’d been through this before and that unicycling on the sidewalk is completely legal,” Peterson said.

So cops summonsed him for something else: disorderly conduct, court papers show.

For the record, riding a unicycle on the sidewalk is actually legal because state law defines a bicycle as having at least two wheels, and the judge dismissed the case this week.

Dismissal or not, Petersen’s legal cycle continues.

Last year, he filed a $3-million suit against the city for the wrongful arrest.

“The police had no business detaining me and stopping me, and it shows a pattern of behavior among the NYPD,” said Petersen.

Petersen says his civil suit is not about his personal agony, but about winning protection for everyone, whether they use wheels or not.

“I’ve watched shootings, people selling drugs on a daily basis, but the police seem more inclined to go after minor infractions,” said Petersen. “I’m suing because I see something wrong in society and I hope to make it better.”

Despite his jubilation over having his criminal case dismissed, Petersen couldn’t celebrate his victory in his own personal style; he’d arrived at the Schermerhorn Street courthouse on a train, rather than on his one-wheeler.

“They didn’t have a valet for my unicycle, so I had to take the train,” said the 26-year-old Petersen.

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Reader Feedback

Joe from Gowanus says:
Why is there a need for people to unicycle on busy sidewalks? It's dumb and dangerous.
Feb. 18, 2011, 9:36 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Why?

LookatmeLookatmeLookatmeLookatmeLookatmeLookatmeLookatme!
Feb. 18, 2011, 9:47 am
Al from Park Slope says:
There has been a guy who rides up and down Flatbush Avenue for years... not only is he riding a unicycle, but he does it while juggling 3 bowling pins!!!!
Feb. 18, 2011, 10:08 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I can assure you, it wasn't a busy sidewalk. This guy was just an easy target for a lazy cop who needed to fill a quota.
Feb. 18, 2011, 10:25 am
Robert from Windsor Terrace says:
I know Kyle, and it was an empty sidewalk at 1am in the morning. Definitely some bored cops...
Feb. 18, 2011, 12:54 pm
Harry P from Canarsie says:
I agree Joe, it is dumb and dangerous. He could have killed somebody!
Feb. 19, 2011, 12:10 am
linkedit from photos says:
has brooklyn become the borough of bearded hipsters?
Feb. 19, 2011, 7:51 am
Jim from cobble hill says:
When doctors screw up, they pay for malpractice. When cops screw up for not knowing the law, the taxpayer has to pay the bill. I'd rather my taxes went to finding smarter cops rather than paying for their screw-ups
Feb. 19, 2011, 5:31 pm
Mo from Parkslope says:
I am a unicyclist myself. Its really about common sense. Unicyclists and a joggers are both legally allowed to be travelling on a sidewalk. Either one of them could run into someone and hurt them. Its about being safe and courteous.
Feb. 20, 2011, 11:39 pm
patronzo from park slope says:
this guy..or someone riding a unicycle, just like him..nearly hit me on the sidewalk on 7th ave the other day. my guess is, he was lost, because he went around in a circle and then headed-off in the other direction.

that said, he was a total jerk and he could've killed me.
Feb. 24, 2011, 9:08 am
Ace from New Utrecht says:
It should be illegal for an adult to ride an adult sized cycle (uni,by, motor)on the sidewalk.
Feb. 24, 2011, 4:51 pm

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