April 21, 2011

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Real Freedom

I didn't take my first kid out in our full-suspension bike trailer until four months because I had heard that the bounciness of the trailer would rattle my infants little brains and cause long term damage. I later did research - and no one, including my doctor, shared one study that gave any information that made this advice plausible. I weighed the pros and cons...and took him our earlier than the pros, with no information to back them up, suggested. I have never heard a doctor caution folks to drive slowly on bumpy dirt roads, or to avoid bumps in a stroller, and felt that corralling my kids in a car for their first year of life would actually be a detriment to them and my health and well-being. The second went out with me at one month. They are both quick, healthy kids and have learned first hand a key ingredient to a health life and a healthy planet - exercise and carbon free travel.

Becky Douglas more than 2 years ago

Common Sense

I too believe it is just as safe to carry young children in safe trailers like Burleys as it is in cars or pushing them in strollers. All four of my kids were rolling around behind me within their first week or two. We used car seats securely mounted in our Burley D'lite. As a cycling instructor - I understand the rules of the road as well as the threats. I believe the benefits of riding in a trailer at that young age outweigh the risks and the alternatives are not substantially different.

Organic Haus more than 2 years ago

Riding with infants

Surely these laws are a reaction to all the deaths and maimings of small children in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, right?

Eric in Seattle more than 2 years ago

Bilenky ViewPoint Tandem

I have a Bilenky ViewPoint Tandem bicycle and I strapped my baby's car seat to the front, which is basically a recumbent seat. I was a little late getting him in the seat (at 5 months) and I suppose it would have happened sooner if the weather was better.

The baby does get a bit shaken pretty hard by going over bumps and pot holes. I would be concerned about going fast with a newborn.

I don't know what drivers think, but I have gotten a lot of surprised looks from drivers, as well as had my picture taken. Not any negative attention so far.

Elias Ross more than 2 years ago

jacksonville, a cycling nightmare

Have heard this from so many people but it really depends on where in town you are riding, Jacksonville is roughly 874 sq miles, Porland is less than 150. I would never subject anyone to riding in some parts of town unless if they were aware of their rights as a cyclist, had plenty of years experience, and a good helmet. There are many places where cyclists are everywhere and just about everyone is courteous to each other, these areas together make up roughly 200sq miles. The bicycling community is coming together to help remedy some the safety woes. The first Wednesday of each month is Art Walk, a night for people from all walks of life to come downtown and experience art, music, and free informative seminars. The upcoming May Art Walk is themed Bike Walk which kicks off bike month. Hopefully this will make those drivers on other sides of town aware of the laws in place to keep everyone on the road safe. We all hope that one day the city of Jacksonville, FL as a whole can be removed from the dangerous list, but for now we cautiously proceed to work on the Southside of town with helmets in tow and cellphones at the ready to report aggressive drivers. Here is a link

heather more than 2 years ago

Riding with infants

I was a stay at home dad. I started riding with my eldest daughter when she 7 weeks old. She was strapped in a car seat that was strapped in a Burley deLite trailer. I had two vertical flag poles with orange flags on them. I had a big "Slow Vehicle" triangle on the back. I replaced both rear reflectors with flashing lights. I also had a spring mounted horizontal pole with another orange flag mounted on it. My oldest was born in the middle of May. Little sister was born 20 months later in the middle of January. It wasn't until it was warm enough for big sister to ride in a bike seat that little sister took over the trailer at 13 weeks of age.

My eldest will be 19 in a couple of week and little sister was 17 this past January.
We have been completely car free for about a year now and still riding.

David more than 2 years ago

Paranoid pedaling parent

I've wrestled with the issue of riding with our baby since before he was born. I want to believe what was written above - that it's safe - because I ride with our baby despite the warnings I've found online. I still don't feel 100% about it because of sites like the "Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute" ( - and I think that's a good thing. Their info has helped me mitigate the risks.

My wife and I ride so slow I think the risk of shaking our little guy's brain is pretty low. And we ride with so many flags, reflectors, bells, horns and lights that I think our risk of getting hit by a car (or another cyclist) is also pretty low. We look like complete dorks, but we feel safe. I tow our trailer and my wife plays crossing guard / defense / guinea pig when we have to ride off bike paths with car traffic.

I think the warnings on the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Site are worth noting, but they don't need to stop you from riding with an infant so long as you manage the risks.

vangroover more than 3 years ago

Re: Look to Cultures who have Experience

This article was to focus specifically on the North American experience. However, researchers at the Emma, the children's research hospital in Amsterdam, were contacted. They did not have any specific literature on this topic. I also talked to advocates of cycling with infants in Holland. I was told that the Dutch do not keep specific records on cycling with newborns. Even in the Netherlands there is not much hard data kept on this topic, but it is much more common there.

Ryan Mijker more than 3 years ago

Riding with newborns..

as patrick above, i did a great deal of on-line research.. this wonderful country of ours (baby experts) had nothing good to say about new born cycling.. "DANGEROUS".. "MUST WEAR A HELMET".. stop i said.. what do our friends in other countries do?? strap them in safely, and go.. like others above.. install car seat in bike trailer.. and off we go, choosing the safest routes possible just as if i was driving my car, except, i am riding my bike..
i get really tired of all these "experts" trying to protect me from myself.. glad i live in portland or..
enjoy the ride.......

bob cooper more than 3 years ago

Baby on board

Wonderful article and topic.
Thank you Momentum "families".

James Bikes Green more than 3 years ago

Finally some suport

When I was pregnant, my family were aware and try to discourage me of my plan to continue commuting with my baby and partner. We don't own a car and the bus service is unreliable; plus I just love bking. Often, when I was riding around town, I had comments like "your a irresponsable mother" or "poor baby". I had little support. Thank you for bring light of hope.

Kara more than 3 years ago

Look to cultures who have experience with this

this is not a mystery. newborns are carried by bicycle all over the world. why not ask health professionals in the Netherlands, Denmark or Sweden for their perspective? They have decades of data for us to peruse.

patrick barber more than 3 years ago


I agree that it is safe to cycle with a newborn if you are careful. I ride with my 2 mo old in his Chariot. I just go slow, watch the bumps, and do the same things I would if I were pushing him in the stroller mode.

Jen more than 3 years ago