When children are too small to ride a bicycle on their own, it’s often difficult for parents who cycle to decide on the best way to take their future riders with them. Cycling with children should be a pleasant experience, but it is understandably difficult to know where to start. There are many products on the market that attempt to make co-riding with children easier. But some products are safer or more economical than others. So, we’ve outlined the popular products and methods available to help choose the safest possible option.
Common Co-Riding Options:
- Bicycle Trailers – Great for groceries and children, trailers can sometimes hold two children if you can manage the weight. Trailers tend to be lower to the ground and have mechanisms that prevent tipping, making it a safe, easy-to-install option. Just keep in mind that riding in heavy traffic with a child can be dangerous in any seat, and, the low height of the trailers can make them hard for motorists to see.
- Mounted Child Seats – These seats are popular with parents because they are relatively affordable and keep children within sight. But, keep in mind that these seats change the weight distribution of the bike. They must also be installed carefully because they are high off the ground and make a fall significantly more dangerous. If you choose this option, please consider staying in a low- traffic area and become accustomed to the weight before setting out. Also note: Front-mounted child seats are deemed more dangerous than rear child seats, especially in the event of a fall.
- Trailer Cycles – Also known as “tagalongs,” these add-ons provide an extra wheel that rides behind your bicycle's rear wheel. Trailer cycles are a convenient option for older children who would like to participate in the riding experience, but may not be able to keep up with adult riders. They’re also good for parents who want to keep their children close while riding. Trailer cycles can be installed and removed easily, making them good for storing and transporting. However, if the child moves from side to side in the tagalong, especially at lower speeds, it may make stabilizing the bicycle difficult.
- “Box” Bikes – A cross between a trailer and a tagalong, these tricycle-style Dutch bikes incorporate a sitting space for children on the cycle itself. These bike boxes may look strange, but transporting cargo or children is easy, and you have a clear view of the kids at all time. Just remember that these bikes can not be converted into a regular bike.
- Helmets – We recommend that children always wear a helmet while cycling and co-riding.
- Installation – Correct installation of co-riding products is essential for safety. If you feel unsure about doing it yourself, enlist the expertise of your local bike shop to install it for you – perhaps for a small fee.
- Clothing – When cycling, especially with the excess weight of a child, you’ll probably get a little warm. But your child passengers may require some warmer clothing depending on the weather, or as an additional layer of protection in case of a fall.
- Bicycle laws – Please remember to follow all local laws for bicyclists in your area. In many municipalities, children under the age of 10 have permission to ride on a sidewalk, while adults usually do not.
With the information provided, we hope that you find the co-riding method that works best for you and your family. It’s important for cyclists and motorists to safely share the road at all times. Spread bicycle awareness by displaying a FREE Watch For Cycles sticker on your bicycle or trailer, available HERE.In the event that you or a loved one is injured by a motorist while cycling, or harmed due to a dangerous or defective co-riding product, the personal injury attorneys of Hupy and Abraham are here to help. Contact us at 800-800-5678, or chat with us 24/7 at hupy.com.