Is Biking With Your Child an Unnecessary Risk?

Tanya Snyder, Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor and mother of 21-month-old daughter Luna, writes about a conversation she had with Dr. Phyllis Agran, consultant to American Academy of Pediatrics, about the risks she has exposed Luna to when biking.
October 17, 2013, 6am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Snyder speak with Dr. Agran, "a preeminent expert in pediatric injury prevention", who has written an consulted for AAP on "policies relating to childhood injury and trauma prevention." She asks Dr. Agran about "the AAP’s recommendations on bicycling with kids."

“It’s extremely risky,” Dr. Agran told me. “If you’re hit by a car, there’s a good probability — if you look at the weight of you, your bicycle and your infant and you look at the weight of a car — there’s a high probability that you and your child would be killed.”

If you are a parent who bikes with your child, you may not be feeling particularly good at this moment. Snyder writes that she "worked the lump out of (her) throat" as she continued listening to the somber "biomechanics and shearing forces" that all cyclists, not just children, expose themselves to when cycling in traffic, according to Dr. Agran.

OK, we get it. If you're hit by a car, it's nasty. But what does AAP recommend if one does choose to "expose your child to risk", as Dr. Agran would say.

AAP’s guidance on bicycling boils down to this: Make kids wear a helmet. Ride “in parks, on bike paths, or on quiet streets.” Don’t put a kid under 12 months old on a bike under any circumstance. Bicycle-towed child trailers are safer than bike-mounted seats. 

Dr. Agran has a lot more to say, and Snyder shares with us her comments on the discussion, including biking in protected lanes. Here's one:

And for my money, rear-mounted bike seats are safer than trailers in a high-traffic setting.

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Published on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 in Streetsblog Capitol Hill
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