We’re talking regular bikes, not the snazzy, super cool ones specially developed for carrying our precious cargo (…the ones I’m highly jealous of). Just a bike with a child seat added.
The other day I saw a big 7-8 year old boy, climb onto the back of his mum’s bike into a traditional toddler rear seat. I kid you not!
My jaw dropped!
He then proceeded to strap himself in! It took all my restraint not to walk up to them and explain the idiocy of what they were doing.
#1 the seat was made for a toddler and not a big walloping school kid! Using such a bicycle seat gives the mother and child a false sense of security even though the seat is totally unsuitable for his weight and provides no protection.
#2 the bike, and more importantly the tires, weren’t necessarily constructed to take the extra 30 kilos of wriggling weight plus bags far back from the centre of gravity, right over the rear axle.
Have you ever driven a car that was overloaded?
As a new driver, I accidentally bought 2 pallets of cement once instead of the one I was asked to. (Miscommunication.) The pick up I was driving was shifting across the road. It was like driving on ice. I didn’t know why, till my dad explained, when I got home, that I was lucky I didn’t have a blow-out with the tyres carrying so much more than they were designed to. I can hazard a guess that the same applies to bikes.
#3 by strapping himself in he was actually putting himself in more danger… It’s not a flipping car!!! If anything happens he is held to the frame of the bike, all force of impact will be with that of his and the bicycle’s weight of the fall or, worse even, the flight, if some obstruction turns up in their path and forces the bike to catapult.
Those straps are for babies and toddlers before they understand what is right and wrong. Ones who parents can’t trust to stay in their seats yet.
Personally, I don’t strap my 2 year old in any more, because he knows the drill and will stay in his seat. If we have an accident I prefer him to fly and his delicate body just take the impact of it’s own weight accelerated through the air. *says a quick prayer for us never to experience this*
While looking up things on the topic I found this lovely picture of a child probably same age as the one I saw, yet it felt so different. This child is holding onto his father, he is thus more in tune with what’s happening, moving in synchrony with his dad, following the road.
So I ask the question, my dear reader:
Am I totally overreacting?
Is my assessment of the risk misguided?
Is carrying a child over 4 years old on the back of the bike safe?
Or does it throw the centre of gravity too much, overload the bike, etc.?
Throw me arguments!