Baby bike passengers: a cycle of disaster?

HTWB PWW kids on bikesI can’t keep quiet about this any longer. Small children appended to bicycles on busy roads are asking for disaster, and I simply can’t understand why so many parents don’t get this.

Yet you often see pictures in the media showing celebrities, politicians, members of royal families and various other notables dragging their children to school on bicycle trailers that look as (motor vehicle) collision-proof as plastic garbage cans.

OK, I used to ride a bicycle. I even bought one in adulthood and rode it around our lovely, traffic-free cycle paths in my city here in the UK (Milton Keynes) with my son on his bike. All very lovely, healthy, etc.

Latterly though, after my son took to riding a miniature bicycle with low handlebars including a seat that could execute laparoscopic rectal surgery (a.k.a. a BMX) I finally resigned myself to riding my horse which I found a much safer alternative apart from my car. Then, I began to look at other cycling phenomena in our modern day.

HTWB bicycles 4I may be a worrying Taurean, but when I see adults on their bikes cruising along busy roads in town and city centres with a child – often a very small child – in flimsy little trailers behind them or even worse, in a totally unprotected sling (see left), my heart sinks. Despite the cute little helmets the children are (sometimes but not always) wearing.

So what’s the problem?

In the minds of these ingénue-type parents, putting their kids into flimsy little trailers – or worse still, helmet-free baby slings as you can see in this example – what on earth are they thinking? Is it all part of the “let’s get back into touch with nature, stop polluting the planet, and carry our children around in a way that should be an example to the rest of society for its junk-free, healthy nature” culture?

These parents are deluding themselves. Not because their motivation is at issue; not at all. In a perfect world parents, children, grandparents, great-grandparents, dogs, cats, horses, goats, donkeys and various other creatures involved in mobility and transportation should be free to get on with it undisturbed by the dirty, smelly inconvenience of motorized transportation.

But in busy city streets? What if they get hit by a truck? A bus? A heavy car? Another bicycle? Or even just hit a rough patch and fall over at anything up to 25 m.p.h. or so?

Can they really justify their desire to save the planet from pollution, when their children could be extinguished by a 3 ton or more vehicle on their cycling way to day care, nursery or school?

Unless I’ve missed something, actually this is a no-brainer

HTWB bicycles 1What do you think? Am I being totally off-the-wall to suggest that adults shouldn’t drag their kids along busy roads in body slings, bicycle trailers or other gadgets, given the dangers they may encounter due to traditional traffic?

Are these bijou helmets and brightly-colored warning devices worn by the adults and their children really enough to slow down bloody-minded motorists with frazzled nerves in a hurry in the rush hour?

Or do you think the intrepid cycling protagonists should forge ahead and attempt to get traditional traffic to slow down and give them space no matter what, even with their own kids on board at heavy risk?

I await your comments…

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photo credit: Amsterdamized via photopin cc
photo credit: ubrayj02 via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Frightens the living daylights out of me seeing kids on the back of bikes – especially such little babies. Not sure what adults are thinking about. Good post.

  2. That lady in the picture babywearing while cycling you must NEVER EVER do that!! Any activity that requires you to wear safety gear is not an activity that you should do with your baby strapped to your front or back.

    The lady over the road from my parents, has a bicycle that has like a wheelbarrow bucket on the front that the kids sit in. I think it’s a genius idea but they are really hard to steer according to reviews.

  3. So they should drive, instead, and run someone else’s children over? And be partly responsible for the 40,000 people per year who die prematurely from air pollution? Which their children are not immune to either. Or just stay at home, which has its own risks.

    Actually motorists give cyclists a wider berth if they aren’t wearing helmets, anyway.

    There were 8 child cyclists killed in 2016, and I’d bet most if not all were children on their own bikes, not those on/attached to a parent’s bike.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In our increasingly risk adverse society, you can expect stares and comments if you do something that is perceived to put your baby at risk (and cycling with a baby is considered risky, even by hardened cyclists, as this thread on Single Track Forum shows). You can either bow to the pressure or ignore it, but as a cycling parent you’ll need to get used to it.  Here’s an example of what I mean….. […]

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