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  1. #1
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    Commuting with 8 month old

    I want to start commuting again, but my wife is against my daughter being in a trailer because she is afraid we'll get hit. I live 5 miles from work (not far at all) but have to drop my daughter off at the sitters which adds three miles (still not very far). The commute is 50% county roads with little traffic, 10% State Route with no bike path and the remainder is neighborhood roads and bike paths.

    Are there better ways to transport my child or should I just stick to the car until the wife gives in. I have exhausted all arguments and my wife is still worried about her/our safety. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    I read a thread on carfree a while back about it possibly being unsafe to carry children that young in child bike trailers. Something to do with the bouncing around and general vibration.

    Somebody knows/remembers more about possible dangers...

    EDIT: found the thread: haulin' babies!
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  3. #3
    jcm
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    I'm an advocate for bike commuting, but this ain't Holland. Over there, the kids are dangling from the handlebars and the entire culture is wired for it. Your cargo is way too precious. Don't do it. Your wife will never have a moment of peace. Trust the instincts of the she-bear.

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    You could always drive to the sitters and commute from there.

    There is no way I would risk the life of my child to get an extra few miles of cummuting on my bike. Just not worth it.

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    Older than one years of age and they have issues holding their head up. After one years of age it will be more doable.
    I transport my son about 5 miles from the daycare to home using a trailer in a fairly decent sized suburb of denver. I take a bike path, lesser trafficked residential streets, and ride on the sidewalk besides a major street for a short distance. Be visible, ride slower, be aware, and have plenty of blinkies. However, I tend to only transport the kid in daylight.
    Wait 4 months and it should be more workable. As for the wife.... I do not have any advice on that. If she will not get on board then I would surrender.

    Incidentally, I have not had one single incident with cars while towing a trailer. *knocks on wood*

  6. #6
    Cat None SDRider's Avatar
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    Have your wife drop your daughter off at the sitters. Problem solved!

    I agree with your wife on this. There's no way I'd have my 8 month old child on my bike in traffic.

  7. #7
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    We recently purchase a Chariot CX bike trailer / jogging stroller. The manufacturers documentation & our LBS representative stated to not tow a child under the age of 1 because the riisk of neck injury is very high at that young age.
    Last edited by Tequila Joe; 04-18-07 at 11:16 AM.

  8. #8
    Get on your bikes & ride! xB_Nutt's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to side with your wife on this one. There is absolutely nothing more precious than your child's life. Use one of the work arounds the other gave you above. Driving to the sitters and riding from there sounds like a good option.

    Now, I know driving in a car is not 100% safe, but at least there is some heavy steel and more space between your child and danger. Anyone who does carry there child on a bike/trailer, please don't let this sound like I am judging you. I applaud you and wish you the best.
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  9. #9
    Administrator Allen's Avatar
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    Little babies are for what cars are made. When she is walking and talking then use the bike.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    A child needs to be able to hold up her head with her helmet on. Every kid is different, of course, but most kids can't do this until their first birthday.

    Wait until then.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Walking and talking? I say a 1 year old is fine. However, mine was walking around one. Talking takes a while longer.

  12. #12
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    Im skeptical that a car is more safe for a child than a bike, but I dont know the facts either way, so can't give you any advice =/

  13. #13
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG
    Little babies are for what cars are made. When she is walking and talking then use the bike.
    Have you really thought about this? I would bet anything that, statistically, driving her in a car is MORE dangerous than the bicycle.

    I don't like the trailer concept though, and would rather have them on the bike once they reach an appropriate age.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Itsjustb's Avatar
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    Purely anecdotal evidence (and, based on my experience with my own wife, nothing will sway her anyway), but...

    A guy I play Ultimate with biked his twins to day care nearly every day for years, riding on some pretty bad roads. He said that once he started riding with the trailer, drivers started treating him MUCH better than they had when he was just commuting on his own. Just for added caution, he rigged a visibility flag to the trailer (the long white pole and hi-vis orange flag) and placed a "slow-moving vehicle" triangle and a "baby on board" sign on the back of the trailer.

    YMMV.
    "Everyone is entitled to an opinion" is only half-right.

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  15. #15
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWRB
    You could always drive to the sitters and commute from there.

    There is no way I would risk the life of my child to get an extra few miles of cummuting on my bike. Just not worth it.
    So how old does a kid have to be before she wont get killed by a car colision?

    Sorry if that sounds smart, but arn't we all in danger of getting killed? Do we keep the kids of the bikes forever?
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  16. #16
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsjustb
    Purely anecdotal evidence (and, based on my experience with my own wife, nothing will sway her anyway), but...

    A guy I play Ultimate with biked his twins to day care nearly every day for years, riding on some pretty bad roads. He said that once he started riding with the trailer, drivers started treating him MUCH better than they had when he was just commuting on his own. Just for added caution, he rigged a visibility flag to the trailer (the long white pole and hi-vis orange flag) and placed a "slow-moving vehicle" triangle and a "baby on board" sign on the back of the trailer.

    YMMV.
    More anecdotal evidence, but this has been my experience too. Somedays I think about pulling an empty trailer to work just so drivers will give me the space.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Fonk's Avatar
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    I did that for a while last year when my daughter was about the same age. Yes, children that young are too young to sit in a trailer on their own, but what I did was strap the baby carseat in there real tight, put her in that, and she did just fine. In fact, she loved it! She was always much more peaceful riding in the trailer than riding in the backseat of my car.

    That said, my ride was in town, on a mixture of bike paths and residential streets (avoid the main thoroughfares!). On open country roads you're a little more exposed, and traffic will be going a bit faster. That might be a little unnerving for me w/ my kid trailing behind me...

  18. #18
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    The core of the danger is the jarring effects of going over bumps at cycling speed and not traffic as some folks have eluded. (although it still exists) A babies head makes up about 1/3 of their weight. A big bump could injure their neck.

    I don’t know what I would do to myself if I was responsible for turning my child into a paraplegic.

  19. #19
    Commuter First newbojeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllenG
    Little babies are for what cars are made.
    This is sort of how I thought of things. For me alone, it makes much more sense to take a bike. The car was for transporting our kids around when they couldn't get around better on their own. I used to drive them to daycare, then bike from there. From age 1 and on, it would totally depend on what type of roads you're facing. Our roads to daycare? No way.

    Now that they are 7 and 5, if we are not going too far, they complain about having to take the car instead of walking/biking/taking the T. The brainwashing is working.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    Have you really thought about this? I would bet anything that, statistically, driving her in a car is MORE dangerous than the bicycle.
    You would lose whatever you were betting. Per mile ridden, cycling is more dangerous than driving. All the sources I've seen that like to claim that cycling is safer claim it using the statistic of per hours ridden, by that metric cycling is safer. Well, that's great but time is not the common denominator, is it? I don't know about you but the distance I ride to work is fixed, not the time. It's always going to be 22.5 miles, currently thats about 1.5-1.75 hours by bike. But if I drive it takes at most 45 minutes.
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  21. #21
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    As a parent, you have a responsibility to your child to keep yourself healthy and alive. If it's too dangerous for you to bike someplace with your kid, then it's irresponsible for you to bike there alone.

    My purely subjective experience is that biking with a kid in a trailer is safer than biking alone. Other road users treat you better, and the trailer makes the bike more stable.
    The United States of America is the only democratic nation in the world to deny citizens living in the nation's capital representation in the national legislature. District residents have no vote in either the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. www.dcvote.org

  22. #22
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the relative safety statistics are expressed in hours of exposure so that you can compare various activities without regard to speed. For example, walking v. cycling v. driving v. space travel (which I'm guessing has a very high mortality per hour exposure but somewhat less per mile traveled.)
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedSnackFoam
    You would lose whatever you were betting. Per mile ridden, cycling is more dangerous than driving. All the sources I've seen that like to claim that cycling is safer claim it using the statistic of per hours ridden, by that metric cycling is safer. Well, that's great but time is not the common denominator, is it? I don't know about you but the distance I ride to work is fixed, not the time. It's always going to be 22.5 miles, currently thats about 1.5-1.75 hours by bike. But if I drive it takes at most 45 minutes.
    If that is true, then around here cycling is definitely safer as its much faster than by car.

  24. #24
    Raving looney
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    I took my daughter out in the trailer once she was 12 months old. As per safety recommendations regarding neck strength of youngsters. I made sure she could hold her head up properly in her helmet, and all was good.

    When I've done cargo runs with the trailer, I've noticed a LOT more courtesy from cars, that's nice. Whenever I took/take my daughter out, it's usually on very non-busy routes or MUP path trails.

    I personally prefer a trailer to a bike. Firstly, I don't trust myself if I were to come off to be able to prevent/stop my child from having a bump of their own (I find it much more likely I'll cause myself to fall off than to be hit by another vehicle) - a trailer remains upright even if the bike goes down (mine does, for sure - my bike slipped from the stand one day while I was parked getting a snack for the young one). Another thing is that, while it's not all so strong, the trailer does have all-round tubing and is generally more stable. It's also got a nice weather shielding on it, and has a storage area in the back to boot.

    I've not taken her out since last summer, maybe if this current temperature lift will stick around I will do that once again.

  25. #25
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    Our pediatrician told us that 12 months was the earliest age for either bicycle or airplane. The issue was ability to hold her head up. I suppose that one could also conclude that taking a child under a year old on a car trip is also not a good idea.

    We did great with our trailer from age 12 months to age six years. Our daughter was disapointed when we used on of the cars to pick her up from school. All good things must end -- at age six, our daughter discovered the Trail-A-Bike and the trailer was demoted to grocery getter for stores where parking is scarce.

    Paul

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