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Child carrier/trailer - how fast is too fast?

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Child carrier/trailer - how fast is too fast?

Old 04-13-13, 11:33 AM
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lineinthewater
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Child carrier/trailer - how fast is too fast?

I don't claim to know anything about this topic. But I saw a tandem pulling a child trailer, doing 25-30mph down a hill. Just interested in what people think of this .... BTW, the man on the front of the tandem was dressed like he was racing, and the girl on the back was dressed like she was just out for a leisure ride. To each their own I guess, but it looked weird.

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Old 04-13-13, 03:50 PM
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wsbob
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Originally Posted by lineinthewater View Post
I don't claim to know anything about this topic. But I saw a tandem pulling a child trailer, doing 25-30mph down a hill. Just interested in what people think of this .... BTW, the man on the front of the tandem was dressed like he was racing, and the girl on the back was dressed like she was just out for a leisure ride. To each their own I guess, but it looked weird.

What are some things of concern that occur to you about the situation you described, involving use of a trailer for transporting a child? Here's a link to Burley's page describing Safety and Durability of its trailers: https://www.burley.com/home/bur/smart...77/safety.html. In general, I suppose in traveling down a hill at what would be fairly high speed for a bike, braking would be something to think about, but allowing for braking required for the additional weight of a trailer and cargo would probably be something tandem captains would be particularly prepared to consider.

I'm more interested in what are the actual abilities of a bike trailer in resisting injury to kids riding in them, in situations involving collisions with motor vehicles. Notice Burley's Safety and Durability page prominently features owner testimonials vouching for a Burley trailer's ability to protect a child in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle. Burley does test its trailer models, but it does not seem those tests are particularly designed to indicate ability of their trailers to counter impacts from motor vehicles. Here's the text from one of those testimonials:
Owner testimonial from the Burley trailer Safety and Durability page:

"...we were pushed across the street for 30 feet..."
"I just wanted to thank you for making such great products and bar none, the safest trailers in the world. My son and I were rear-ended by a vehicle this week and he flipped in the trailer (a "Bee") and we were pushed across the street for 30 feet. Although he was scared out of his mind, I pulled him out with nothing but a small scratch on his knee. I took pictures just to prove how well the trailer held up and though the wheels are bent and parts of the lower frame cracked, the roll bars around his head saved his life! I'm hoping to replace the trailer soon and be back on the road again. Until then, thank you for your focus on safety and long live Burley!" Joey

Unlike a rider on an upright bike, rather than a bent, in designs of most bike trailers, the occupant of a bike trailer tends to be located relatively close to the ground, at about the point where many cars' bumpers would be on a level with their body. Except for the frame of the bike trailer, in the event of a collision, that's potentially a direct hit to the person riding in the trailer. Since the occupant of the trailer is likely to a child, completely reliant upon the person towing them, and other road users, collision resistance of bike trailers to motor vehicles is important to consider.
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Old 04-13-13, 03:57 PM
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Six jours
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My kids start to scream in terror at around 40 MPH. Above 45 MPH I can't hear them over the wind noise. So I guess my answer is "below 40 or above 45".

And speaking only for myself, I dress like a racer from the waist down and like a leisure rider from the waist up. Underneath I prefer some kind of glittery pouch-thong.

HTH!
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Old 04-13-13, 04:27 PM
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lineinthewater
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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
My kids start to scream in terror at around 40 MPH. Above 45 MPH I can't hear them over the wind noise. So I guess my answer is "below 40 or above 45".

And speaking only for myself, I dress like a racer from the waist down and like a leisure rider from the waist up. Underneath I prefer some kind of glittery pouch-thong.

HTH!
Thanks for the laugh.
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Old 04-13-13, 08:42 PM
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Six jours
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In all seriousness, I don't worry about speed with the trailer nearly so much as I do about being hit by a car. Living here in the mountains we regularly exceed 30-35 MPH, but I really don't think there's significantly increased risk of falling due to those speeds, nor do I think there's significantly increased risk to the kids from falling at 35 as opposed to 20, or whatever. Being hit by a car, though, is going to be an issue regardless of what speed we're traveling...
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Old 04-13-13, 09:54 PM
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I would only go very slow, if I were pulling a trailer with child in it, and I wouldn't go on a major arterial road. Because, the direction of the bike, and the direction of the trailer, can react to each other. So the speed of the road is definitely an issue. Because, A lot of the roads I bike on in the DC-metro region, are definitely not roads for pulling a bike trailer with a child in it.

Last edited by Chris516; 04-14-13 at 02:28 AM.
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