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  1. #1
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    babies in bicycle trailers

    What do you think about babies in bicycle trailers?

    Does is seem strange that even though motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental deaths for children in the U.S. that most people freak out if you talk about pulling a kid in a trailer?

    I hear that in Canada they are thinking about making it a law that you cannot carry a child until they are 1.5 years old.

    I think that an infant in an auto car seat that is strapped into a burley type kid trailer is at least as safe as in a car. I am taking into account that I would be taking mostly slower streets while a motorist is likely to be going 50,60,70 or even 80 mph.

    I think a lot of this attitude is just ignorance. Even though we all have friends who are buried now due to cars some people continue to think they are the only "safe" way to travel.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by gosmsgo
    I think that an infant in an auto car seat that is strapped into a burley type kid trailer is at least as safe as in a car. I am taking into account that I would be taking mostly slower streets while a motorist is likely to be going 50,60,70 or even 80 mph.
    I think if you're talking about that Burley trailer spilling over, your statement might be correct. If you're talking about an automobile plowing into it at 45 MPH, your statement is nonsense.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gosmsgo
    I think that an infant in an auto car seat that is strapped into a burley type kid trailer is at least as safe as in a car.
    They are.

    Quote Originally Posted by gosmsgo
    I think a lot of this attitude is just ignorance.
    It is.

    Car drivers crash into each other much more often than they crash into cyclists. They even crash into pedestrians more often, so a kid being pushed in a stroller on the sidewalk is even more at risk than in a bike trailer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    NEVER strap a child seat designed for an automobile or aircraft into a Burley or any other bike trailer. Those trailer are desgined for a child to sit up in, not to lay a baby carrier in.


    Now to find my Nomax undies.....
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    They even crash into pedestrians more often, so a kid being pushed in a stroller on the sidewalk is even more at risk than in a bike trailer.
    And where do these auto/pedestrian crashes happen mostly? On the sidewalk, or in the roadway?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    And where do these auto/pedestrian crashes happen mostly? On the sidewalk, or in the roadway?
    Irrelevant nit-picking, the fact is that more pedestrians than cyclists get hit by cars. Therefore it's safer to ride than walk.
    The only way to change this is to modify people's behavior.

    DieselDan has a good point about child seats in trailers.
    Last edited by CommuterRun; 10-07-06 at 04:42 AM.

  7. #7
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Personally if I figured out a way of firmly attaching an infant car seat to a two wheel trailer I would do it, but thatís just me and Iím a bit nuts. I also seem to recall seeing an infant car seat between the pilot and stoker on a tandem (or was it a triple) that looked like a nice setup allowing stoker to also calm the baby while riding.

    I did find a couple of links that you might be interested in

    http://www.biketraffic.org/content.php?id=27_0_6_0
    http://www.ibike.org/education/infant.htm
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    Irrelevant nit-picking
    Your post was a textbook example of lying with statistics; asking a pointed question about that misuse of statistics-- which you dodged, btw-- is not "irrelevant nitpicking."

    the fact is that more pedestrians than cyclists get hit by cars.
    That doesn't make a pedestrian on the sidewalk less safe than a child on the roadway, though, does it?

    Therefore it's safer to ride than walk.
    Safer to ride on a trail than to walk in the roadway? Yes. Safer to ride in the roadway than to walk on a trail? No. Your conclusion is illogical because your premise is founded on a misuse of statistics.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Your post was a textbook example of lying with statistics; asking a pointed question about that misuse of statistics-- which you dodged, btw-- is not "irrelevant nitpicking."

    That doesn't make a pedestrian on the sidewalk less safe than a child on the roadway, though, does it?

    Safer to ride on a trail than to walk in the roadway? Yes. Safer to ride in the roadway than to walk on a trail? No. Your conclusion is illogical because your premise is founded on a misuse of statistics.

    Who gets hit more often by cars, cyclists or pedestrians?
    Thank you, I rest my case.
    Cut and dried, simple as that.
    It doesn't take a lot of BS "what-ifs" or hypothetical scenarios.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun

    Who gets hit more often by cars, cyclists or pedestrians?
    It's an irrelevant question when it's taken out of context.


    Thank you, I rest my case.
    Cut and dried, simple as that.
    The only thing cut and dried about it is that it's cut and dried that you're misusing statistics. Which results in the greatest number of fatalities: Pedestrians hit by cars, or cyclists chained to the bottom of the ocean? Pedestrians, obviously. Therefore, being chained to your bicycle on the bottom of the ocean is far safer than walking on the sidewalk-- Cut and dried, simple as that?

    It doesn't take a lot of BS "what-ifs" or hypothetical scenarios.
    It's not a "what if" scenario; it's asking you to put your "statistics" in context.

  11. #11
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun

    Who gets hit more often by cars, cyclists or pedestrians?
    On a percentage basis or numerically?

    Leaving out the actual data makes your statement irrelevant.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  12. #12
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    There is no evidence that riding with a trailer is any more dangerous than riding without. In fact, there is strong anecdotal evidence that it is quite a bit safer, drivers are more respectful. That certainly is my experience.

    Here's a rule: Don't ride with a trailer any place you don't feel safe riding without one. As a parent, you have a responsibility to your child to keep both your child and yourself safe.
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  13. #13
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCCommuter
    There is no evidence that riding with a trailer is any more dangerous than riding without. In fact, there is strong anecdotal evidence that it is quite a bit safer, drivers are more respectful. That certainly is my experience.

    Here's a rule: Don't ride with a trailer any place you don't feel safe riding without one. As a parent, you have a responsibility to your child to keep both your child and yourself safe.
    +1! I was just gonna say something like that!

    And sorry CommuterRun, I'm with BlueOrder on your statements of statistics!
    If Ray Charles is blind, and Love is blind and God is love, then Ray Charles must be GOD!

    and wherever you ride, make sure you know what the car coming up behind you is doing!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
    ........And sorry CommuterRun, I'm with BlueOrder on your statements of statistics!
    Go right ahead, I'm looking at the bottom line, he's trying to spin it to make it fit what he already believes.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I've been taking my son (age 3) for road and greenway rides in a Burley since he turned 1. We mostly do neighborhood streets and two-lane collector roads (25-35 mph, width/traffic ratios that allow easy overtaking by motorists) with some short sections of busy arterial to connect the links.

    I did a lot of personal research on the safety of trailers. Trailers are far less likely to cause injuries from falls and other accidents common with child bike seats, and according to a report of a study from Europe (I forgot where) children in trailers fare better in most car-bike crashes than children in bike seats because the trailer gets pushed away while a bike seat sends the child tumbling, often landing head-first.

    I have spent many more hours cycling with my son than pushing him in a stroller, and I have never had a close call with him in the trailer behind the bike, but I had a couple of close-calls with him in the stroller at crosswalks and driveways (drivers failing to yield, requiring me to move myself and the stroller out of the path of the vehicle in an emergency movement). I believe that trailer-cycling is safer per mile than stroller-walking.

    I did not choose to install an infant carrier in the trailer in order to trailer my son before he could sit up by himself. The main reason is bumps; cycling at speed is much bumpier than motoring or strolling, at least the way I travel by each mode. I did not want to put excessive stress on his body when he was that small. Even when he could sit up by himself, the motion of the trailer often knocked him over and caused him some distress. But I think traveling at slower speeds with an infant carrier in a trailer would be fine.

    I don't see the government mandating crash standards and helmet use for baby strollers any time soon, and I believe babies in strollers are at greater collision risk than babies in bike trailers operated according to vehicular rules. Therefore, I think it's silly to attempt to ban bicycle transportation of infants, although some requirements on equipment might be reasonably easy to accommodate. I think the main motivation, subconscious as it may be, for bans on child trailer traffic is to free motorists of the worry that their own acts of impatience or irresponsibility could endanger a child in the roadway, as if endangering an adult using a similar-sized human-powered vehicle would be okay.
    Last edited by sggoodri; 10-09-06 at 08:30 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Do not put a child less than 18 months in a trailer. Their skull is still somewhat soft, and can be deformed where it meets the spine by the bulk of a helmet pushing forward on their head. That's what I heard from a local doctor.

  17. #17
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    ...The main reason is bumps; cycling at speed is much bumpier than motoring or strolling, at least the way I travel by each mode. I did not want to put excessive stress on his body when he was that small. Even when he could sit up by himself, the motion of the trailer often knocked him over and caused him some distress. But I think traveling at slower speeds with an infant carrier in a trailer would be fine. ...
    Even at slower speeds this is the case, and is why I waited until my daughter could sit up (on her own) wearing a helmet. Of course she refuses to wear the helmet in the trailer now, but will wear it on her bike. I must admit to being a bad parent and letting her ride in the trailer without a helmet

  18. #18
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    Irrelevant nit-picking, the fact is that more pedestrians than cyclists get hit by cars. Therefore it's safer to ride than walk.
    More people are killed being run over by cars while riding their bikes on the streets in NYC than are run over by trains while they ride their bikes on the subway tracks. Does this mean that subteranian is the safer way to ride?

    Of course not. There are more pedestrians than cyclists by a magnitude of probably hundreds of thousands.

    Granted it is an absurd example, but...
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  19. #19
    Senior Member fenester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    I had a couple of close-calls with him in the stroller at crosswalks and driveways (drivers failing to yield, requiring me to move myself and the stroller out of the path of the vehicle in an emergency movement).
    I don't have any children and so don't have experience, but I've thought about when I've seen others pulling their kids in trailers. I think I would be inclined to stick a tall flag or two on the rear corners of the trailer to bring the presence of the trailer up to SUV driver eye-level. (I realise you were talking about stroller close calls)
    I'd be nervous that someone would just see a cyclist and not the trailer.
    "Mobility without effort constitutes a kind of unreal happiness, a suspension of existence, an irresponsibility."

  20. #20
    Senior Member R-Wells's Avatar
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    I think I fall in to the "it scares the crap out of me" group.

    I kind feel like we should let them have a little more low risk time before we make them play in the street
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  21. #21
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterRun
    Go right ahead, I'm looking at the bottom line, he's trying to spin it to make it fit what he already believes.
    I think that what you're missing are the numbers of people involved in each activity. There are many times more pedestrians out there than there are cyclists, so comparing "number of X hit by a car" doesn't really tell the story. I would guess that, percentage-wise, a cyclist is more likely to be hit by a car than a pedestrian is.

  22. #22
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy
    Even at slower speeds this is the case, and is why I waited until my daughter could sit up (on her own) wearing a helmet. Of course she refuses to wear the helmet in the trailer now, but will wear it on her bike. I must admit to being a bad parent and letting her ride in the trailer without a helmet
    I imagined that at pedestrian-like speeds on good pavement, with the child in a reclined position in an infant carrier, the bumps in the trailer would be similar to that of a baby stroller or jogger stroller on an average sidewalk. Given that some parents like to ride at very slow speeds with one or more of their kids on training wheels, I can see the utility of trailering an infant at such speeds on a greenway or neighborhood street. Personally, I'd rather walk or jog at such speeds, which is why I never did it.

    I consider myself fortunate that my son is willing to wear the helmet in his trailer (presumably required by law where I live) but I think it's partly because I bribe him with ice cream shops and toy stores as bicycling destinations.

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  23. #23
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenester
    I don't have any children and so don't have experience, but I've thought about when I've seen others pulling their kids in trailers. I think I would be inclined to stick a tall flag or two on the rear corners of the trailer to bring the presence of the trailer up to SUV driver eye-level. (I realise you were talking about stroller close calls)
    I'd be nervous that someone would just see a cyclist and not the trailer.
    My trailer has a tall flag. (And lights, and reflectors, and...) You really can't miss it though.

    That said, I am the most defensive rider you have ever seen when I am pulling my kid(s). The biggest cautionary spot is parralel cars making right turns. Often, I'll let them make the turn in front of me because I'm not confident they have seen the trailer.

    And Mrs. Hambone usually rides behind the trailer. You dont' want to get her mad at you!
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  24. #24
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fenester
    I don't have any children and so don't have experience, but I've thought about when I've seen others pulling their kids in trailers. I think I would be inclined to stick a tall flag or two on the rear corners of the trailer to bring the presence of the trailer up to SUV driver eye-level. (I realise you were talking about stroller close calls)
    I'd be nervous that someone would just see a cyclist and not the trailer.
    The Burley comes with a tall safety flag for the left rear corner of the trailer; we use it. Drivers give the trailer way more room than they do me cycling without it.

    I did have a cyclist rear-end the trailer once when a group of cyclists in front of me were slowing down. He was following too closely and not paying attention, but had previously been talking to my son in the trailer. Nobody fell or was hurt.

  25. #25
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougG
    I think that what you're missing are the numbers of people involved in each activity. There are many times more pedestrians out there than there are cyclists, so comparing "number of X hit by a car" doesn't really tell the story. I would guess that, percentage-wise, a cyclist is more likely to be hit by a car than a pedestrian is.
    The figures I've read in the past suggested that per mile of travel, cycling is significantly safer, but per hour of exposure, they are more similar, because walking takes so much more time.

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