Dismounts and Disqualifications

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Comments about this discussion:


Currently, dismounts in races where remounting is not allowed lead to a disualification. If you look at other sports, disqualifications are always a consequence of previous rule violations, which in my opinion is also very reasonable. In the case of a dismount the dismount in itself is not an infraction of the rules according to my opinion, but leads only to the fact that the corresponding rider cannot finish the race - because it would be an infraction of the rules to remount again.

What I want to say: In my opinion, it would make more sense to consider riders who dismount in a race as riders who did not finish the race (did not finished / dnf) and to disqualify those who violate the rule of the prohibition of remounting.

Now, of course, you can say that the whole thing is just a name and doesn't make any difference at all during the competition. But I think, if we have the goal to make unicycling more professional, then the whole thing makes a difference - disqualifications should in my opinion only be made by an official referee and in the ideal case should be justified in a written form in order to have a basis for the evaluation in case of an protest. However, if every dismount had to be recorded in a written form and the referee had to give a qualification, this would quickly become impossible to implement. Therefore I am in favour of changing the rules of the track races so that after a dismount the remount is forbidden and the dismount itself only leads to the fact that the race cannot be finished.


I agree with this.

In passing you mention that every DQ (in the stricter sense of the word, when dismounting in itself does not cause DQ) should ideally be justified in written form by an official. Is this something that we need to put in the Rulebook explicitly, so that we don't rely on "ideally" but actually prescribe this? If so, we must think about what happens to such a written statement. Is it published? Handed out to the rider? Available upon request, and when and to whom?


I also agree with this.

About the written form for DQs: I would leave the ideally but not prescribe it and only available upon request.


My first question: Do we have the goal of making unicycling more professional?


That is a huge question, and it dwarfs the other question in this discussion. And that's all I'm going to say about that.  :-D

Jan is right. At first I thought he was building toward a "let people remount" idea, which I would have disagreed with. The basic of "without falling off" goes back to the first USA National Unicycle Meet, where the rules were mostly verbal and not written down, but I like the basic concept. It applied to every race, except maybe relays; not sure when those were added. But this is before there was an IUF. Our rules grew out of what was being used by the USA in 1984. At that time, I think you were only allowed to dismount in the 1600m and Relay.

Anyway, I like Jan's distinction between DNF, which is usually clear for everyone to see, and DQ, which is a judgment call. Plus it sounds more polite. "That's too bad, you did not finish." vs. "You fell off. You were disqualified!" But things like finish line dismounts, interference with other riders and other rule violations, can result in DQ but require a ruling by an official. 

Technically, a finish line dismount is also a DNF, but because of the close and fast nature of those, it needs a fast and decisive decision, which must come from an official. Otherwise it's not official.

DNF is in line with similar listings for people who drop out of long races, for example, for whatever reason. They were unable to finish. So I think it represents better labeling, and also reminds us that for someone to be disqualified, it involves a decision by a race official (we should check that to see if it's consistent with everything we do).


In my opinion, if someone gets DQ on the results list, he/she (or their legal representative in the case of a minor) are entitled to an explanation why they are DQ'd. They might be satisfied with a verbal statement, but I suggest a written DQ statement should be available upon request. Such a statement, either verbal or written, could serve as a basis for them to file a protest.


To the descents at the finish line:
Our finishing rule (2B.6.15 Finishes) says: "At the finish moment, riders must be mounted and in control of the unicycle." - finally it is the decision of the judge whether the finish line has been crossed in control and if this is not the case, it is a rule violation. So I think we can continue to make judge decisions about dismounts on the finish line based on the existing rules with a possible resulting DQ. If the decision of the judge is not needed, because the dismount took place far enough away from the finish line, the DNF can be used without a judge decision.

I think a disqualification in written form has some advantages, especially in the case of a protest. But I think it might be better to open an extra topic if something should be included in the rules about this, because this would basically affect all disqualifications.


On second thought it is a bit strange to consider dismounting/falling off close to (or on) the finish line a violation of the rules and reason for a DQ, while dismounting/falling off mid-race results in a 'milder' verdict of DNF. In my opinion, one is not more 'criminal' than the other.


Han Vocke wrote: "So I think we can continue to make judge decisions about dismounts on the finish line based on the existing rules with a possible resulting DQ."

I agree. What's important at the finish line for Track is one voice (one specified person) who makes the call on finish line dismounts. Things break down when two people disagree, or everyone waits for someone else to say something. That one person doesn't have to be the same person all day; the people at the finish line just have to all agree on who will "call it" for each group that comes down the track.

Klaas also has a point with finish line dismounts (for 800m or races where remounting is allowed). It's not a DQ if you are allowed to remount. But in that case, you have to back up and remount in front of the finish line, to ride across again. This takes a lot of time, and the rider can still be disqualified (or penalized) if they interfere with riders in neighboring lanes while doing this. Does that make sense to everyone?

Lastly, I am not against having a written DQ if someone requests it. Most riders don't, so I don't think we need to make it a mandatory thing. They just need to request a written record of what happened.


My point was not about races where remounting is allowed. It a dismount happens mid-race there and someone remounts, continues and finishes properly, it leads not to DQ and not to DNF.

In stead, I was talking about e.g. a 100m race. Dismounting mid-race leads to DNF (unless someone remounts which violates the rule that remounting is not allowed), while dismounting at the finish leads to DQ. DQ is more 'severe' than DNF, which doesn't seem deserved to me because both types of dismount are "equally wrong".

I agree to your last paragraph. So a rider who is DQ'd (and perhaps DNF'd as per the above should be included) and requests a written statement is entitled to receiving it, but someone not requesting such a statement will likely not get one.


Okay I entirely agree with your 100m example. Even if the rider crossed the finish line (not in control), it still counts as a 99.9% DNF; the worst kind.


The difference between a mid-race dismount and a finish line dismount, in my opinion, is that at the finish line it may not be clear whether the dismount happened before or after crossing the finish line. So it may happen that a judge has to decide whether the finish line was crossed under control or not.

Of course, I would consider any dismount where the question of controlled crossing of the finish line is not under discussion as DNF. But should it be up for discussion whether the crossing was controlled or not and a judge decides that it was not controlled, I think the whole situation concerns a different rule and can therefore also to be evaluated as DQ - also because the decision is made by a judge and is not obvious as with a mid-race dismount.


I agree that a finish line dismount may not be obvious and may have to be judged. But it doesn't matter for the label, I think. Once the verdict is that the finish was not crossed in control, I think this can be labeled as DNF.

I wonder, though, if we (or I?) are splitting hairs here. Would a participant mind the difference between DQ and DNF? I actually doubt it. Either way, they have no valid result for their race attempt.


Klaas, I understand what you mean and I would like to try to explain once again why I see things differently. And yes, it's probably splitting hairs here...

A dismount is defined in the rulebook as follows: "A dismount is any time a rider’s foot or other body part touches the ground."
For the finish the following applies: "The finish moment is when the front of the tire crosses the finish."

Altogether, a dismount where the riders foot touch the ground after the finish line would mean that the race was already over when the dismount took place - so a DNF is not completely correct. However, the driver may be disqualified because he did not cross the finish line in control, even if the dismount itself took place after the race. The fact that the rider is no longer in control of the unicycle will be a moment before the dismount and therefore for me there are different cases.

All cases in which it is obvious that the rider has dismounted before the finish line I would therefore call DNF - and all cases in which a judge decides that the rule of controlled crossing of the finish line was violated I would call DQ. The dismount itself, i.e. touching the ground, will in the last case probably take place after the actual finishing moment, when the race is actually over.

All in all, I'm not sure if we have to define that so precisely, maybe it's enough to say that all dismounts during the race are DNF and all rule violations are DQ. In the end, it would be up to the referee to decide if he says a dismount on the finish line took place during the race (DNF) or the rule of controlled crossing of the finish line was not observed (DQ).


Quote: "Altogether, a dismount where the riders foot touch the ground after the finish line would mean that the race was already over when the dismount took place - so a DNF is not completely correct."

I understand your reasoning but as yet I don't agree.

I think we should only consider someone finished if he/she finished in the correct way.
If, for instance, someone falls midrace and continues to walk or run while pushing the unicycle, their front of the wheel will cross the finish line at some moment. I would however not say that that competitor finished.
Only those finishes that are "in control", that is: with the rider on the unicycle and both feet on the pedals when the front of the tyre crosses the finish line, count as finishes.

The only reason why I push this point is because I doubt that a typical competitor will not understand why rider A gets DQ and rider B gets DNF, for something that 'feels' almost the same.
But then again, I also wonder whether a typical competitor cares about the exact label. Getting a resulting time (or not) is what counts to most riders.


The short solution to this is to call any dismount in a "no-dismounts" race to be a DQ. That's what we always called it back in the day. The rider disqualified because they broke the rule of not falling off. Same as making a small (but not too small) bobble in a Slow Race/Slow Balance/Forever Race. You disqualified.

This discussion *almost* devolved back to the age-old argument we had for many years about what "in control" meant. The idea that you have to "ride across the finish line in control" had multiple problems, stemming from the fact that the race should have ended when the front of the tire broke the plane of the finish line.

The old definition of control, that was probably written some time in the 80s, was that the entire wheel made it across the finish line before any part of the rider touched the ground. But this was always a problem, because the race was already over, and the clock was stopped. So, more recently, we adapted the definition of control, so that it could be judged at the moment of crossing the plane of the finish line, while the race was still in progress; both feet on the pedals.

The rule has two purposes. One is philosophical; thou shalt not fall off. The second is about safety, and image; not to encourage people to ride into the ground in order to make it across the line. This is where people break wrists and collar bones, and potentially changes the focus of watching such races from speed and skill, to seeing if there are any great crashes at the finish line.

We even discussed the idea of having a second line, after the finish line, that racers need to ride across. That just moved the problem down the track a little, and was still after the clock stopped.

Whatever comes of this discussion, the important part is that there can only be specific designated voices at the finish line of each heat, to determine whether somebody had a foot off the pedal before the line. Only that (or those) people are authorized to call whether it was a legal finish or not. Otherwise you have confusion, and the recordkeepers don't get clear instructions. This is probably a job title that should be specified in the rules if it isn't already. That job is equally imortant, if not more so, for races that do allow dismounts; for those moments where people dismount over the line. It is essential that the rider gets clear instructions if they need to back up and do it over.

So for "no-dismount" races, the judgement call can only be announced after the clock has stopped, but it's still a DQ.


Even if the shortest solution would certainly be the simplest, I don't like it at all. Because my original intention not to make a dismount a DQ was that diqualifications should - in my oppinion - always be pronounced by the referee. However, in order not to make the often numerous dismounts an unbelievable task for the referee, I suggested to lead them as DNF.

To do this DNFs without a referee is also due to the fact that most dismounts happen in such a way that the finish line is not crossed and thus there is no time for the rider in question being stopped - he has already left the race before and so a judge's decision is superfluous. Dismounts at or after the finish line are therefore the only ones, as John has already said, where the decision of a judge is required in any case to determine whether the race was completed in accordance with the rules or not. Exactly because of this Judge decision I would have disqualified the rider in case of a negative decision - because then it would be ensured that the referee has heard the facts and ideally this is also recorded in a written form.

If, however, the majority would follow Klaas and would like to lead these cases also as DNF, then I could also live with this. I think I would take a look how it would work at the competitions and if no problems occur everything is fine.


Since no further remarks had come to this issue, I would propose to delete the current sentence: "[...], and a dismount results in disqualification." in rule 2B.6.1 100m Race and 2B.6.2 400m Race. Since rules 2B.6.4 One Foot Race and 2B.6.5 Wheel Walk Race currently contain no information about whether or not a remount is allowed and only rule 2B.6.11 Dismounts specifies that in One Foot and Wheel Walk Races remounts are not allowed I would do the same thing for 100m and 400m Races.

In Rule 2B.6.11 Dismounts I would replace the sentence:

"Except for the 800m, Relay races, and other races where this is announced in advance, if a rider dismounts, he or she is disqualified."

with the following:

"Except for the 800m, Relay races, and other races where this is announced in advance, after a dismount the race may not be continued and will be considered as not finished."

To be completely consistent I would also delete the sentence "Dismounts are allowed." in rule 2B.6.3 800m Race, because rule 2B also regulates this.

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