Salt Lake City, Park City and surrounding areas are popular places to bike, both as exercise and leisure activities. Many parents of young children choose to continue biking – and must therefore make a choice about involving their children. Some parents will choose to leave their young children with baby sitters while they cycle. This may not always be an option, and many parents want to include their toddlers while biking. In this situation, there are two options: the bike trailer or the bike seat.
Bicycle trailers attach to the back of a bicycle and are pulled along on their own set of tires/wheels. Bicycle seats mount to the front or rear of a bike, directly behind or in front of where the cyclist sits while biking. But which option is the better and safer one for your child? Unfortunately, no specific studies comparing the safety of these two bicycle devices have been performed. There seem to be pros and cons associated with both bike attachments.
The most obvious positive about a bike trailer is the stability it provides in comparison to other options. On the other hand, navigating a bicycle while a trailer is attached becomes more difficult due to the sizing. Turns and tight spaces are more difficult to navigate with a trailer. Many also feel that children are less safe because they are farther away from their parents while in a trailer.
Pros of bicycle seats include being close to the cycle driver and providing a better view of the road for the child. Navigating turns and tight spaces may be simpler because the bike length has not been greatly altered. However, bike seats oftentimes make bicycles top-heavy, which poses a tip-over risk. Only experienced cyclists should carry their child while biking, whether in a trailer or seat. A child’s safety should not be risked for any reason. And regardless of what type of bike attachment you may select, keep the following tips in mind when considering involving a child while biking:
- Children should be at least one year of age before they are made passengers on a bicycle, regardless of the method.
- Children (and adults) should always wear helmets and safety gear while biking.
- Five-point harnesses should be used to restrain children while biking. They may not prevent injuries in the event of a crash, but they will keep them from moving excessively or falling from the bike.
In the event that an automobile-bicycle crash occurs in which the auto driver is at-fault, the cyclist(s) may have a legal claim for damages. It is our hope that we can prevent as many of these types of injuries from occurring as possible, though, especially where children are involved.