Whether you're an avid bicyclist or a casual weekend rider, at some point you might have to consider how to tote your tots along for the ride. With all the concerns about the safety of biking with your child in tow, there's a good chance you have some questions about which option to choose.
Enjoying the sights and sounds of a beautiful bike ride can be something to share with your little one, and we've outlined your options to help you make the safest choice possible.
As always, make sure you have a helmet for your child, regardless of which seat you choose. Make sure you get a helmet that fits your child, doesn't slouch, and stays comfortably in place on their head.
For many years, it seemed like bike-mounted seats were the only option for parents who wanted to ride with their kids. You're most likely familiar with these plastic seats that you affix behind the rider and secure to the bicycle's frame.
Beware of a few potential dangers. First of all, this seat changes the weight distribution on the bike. Depending on your riding skill, it could be anywhere from a slight nuisance to making your bike difficult to control.
Beyond the issue of weight distribution, the seat sits roughly 3-4 feet off the ground. A fall from this height, even with a helmet, can cause serious injury to your child. If you decide to go with this option, we recommend you ride in a controlled environment and have acclimated yourself to the change in balance. Don't forget to use the safety straps to secure your child.
These options have become more common the last few years, especially on bike trails around the state. Trailers can offer a number of benefits over the standard bike-mounted child seat.
These two-wheeled wagons are often attached to the bike's rear axle and pulled along behind the rider. They're typically screened in compartments that sit low only a few inches off the ground. This reduces the fall distance and can keep your child safer. In fact, many trailers come with an attachment that keeps the trailer upright even if your bike tips over.
We don't recommend riding in traffic with your child – no matter the seat – but bike trailers are especially difficult to see. Since they sit so low to the ground, passing motorists can easily miss them. So stick to the trails if you decide to go with a bike trailer.
Trailer cycles are geared for kids who might want to actively participate in the ride. They are more suited for older riders. These interesting add-ons provide an extra wheel that rides behind your rear wheel. Your child can sit and pedal along when they want or relax when they're tired. The cycle has no brakes so it doesn't affect your ability to ride safely.
A big difference between the trailer cycle and the other two seat types is in how the child rides along. Bicycle-mounted seats and bike trailers allow you to strap your child in for the duration of the ride. Many trailer cycles are modeled after a bike seat, requiring your son or daughter to hold on to handlebars. As always, this can create the risk of falling if they aren't careful.
Regardless of which seat-type you choose, we hope you follow all the safety precautions necessary for you and your child. Be seen and be safe when you're out for a ride, and always wear a helmet.
If you're ever injured in a bicycling accident, contact our law firm for a free consultation. We're here to get you the help and assistance you need.