Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Eric Scheie over at Classical Values points out the absurdity of requiring children traveling in cars to be in child seats designed to survive high speed car accidents--but there seems to be no problem with bicycle trailers.  Which is the greater risk, do you think?


  1. Bureacracies don't care about results....its all about policy and procedure. They will get around to bike trailers as soon as they get around to bike trailers.

  2. Statistically, the author points out that high-speed car accidents pose far greater risk than unregulated bike trailers.

    As a grandparent (and former parent) trailer-hauling kids behind my bicycle (always with a helmet on both tow-er and tow-ee), I've found that common sense prevails, if you're riding predictably, legally, and visibly. In fact, I feel safe in saying I have considerably fewer "near misses" when towing my granddaughter, than when I'm riding solo. My theory is that other people - the motorists - exercise the due care on behalf of my 4-year-old granddaughter, that they should exercise on behalf of all cyclists. (Some folks - particularly rednecks in big pickups, or so it would seem - feel it's their civic duty to intimidate cyclists. You can't convince me otherwise.)

    What's the author's point? That car kiddie seats should be legal? That bike kiddie trailers should be illegal? Or just an observation of inconsistent regulations?

  3. I have to agree that we've overblown the risks of everything.

    Statistics like the ones looked at in the article become even more mind-boggling when you compare them to the population at large. In the last few months, off and on, for example, I've been looking at murder and gun-death statistics. Have you seen the actual murder rates of Vermont? In 2009 about 7 people were murdered, out of about 620,000. The high, was 26 in 1976.

    If we look at all the various ways to die--accidents, disease, etc--we'll see similar numbers. Yet we're told that we need regulation--ban guns and knives! tax fast food! require seat belts and helmets!--and then all these problems will go away...

    When looking at things like this, all these petty laws just look stupid.

  4. Oh, and I would add: the risk that a child will die in a car accident, vs the risk that a child will die in a bicycle trailer...both are so small, I'm inclined to say don't worry about it!

    I remember as a little child sleeping on the floor of a car--or even just sitting there, because there were a lot of people that needed to get from point A to point B. I didn't die from it; neither did any of my siblings or cousins.

    Admittedly, this is "selection bias"--if I died, I wouldn't be typing this--but the numbers of accidents are small enough, that trying to criminalize the behavior is...well...petty.

    (This, from someone who moves his daughter as soon as she falls asleep in front of the bookcase where she wanted to sleep, because I fear the bookcase filled with books falling on her. Even in earthquake-prone Utah, though, that risk probably isn't all that high...then again, I am advocating for individuals to choose for themselves what risk is and isn't acceptable, aren't I?)

  5. The problem isn't the bike trailer; the problem is that if a car hits the bike trailer, there is no protection for the child. And yes, I am sure that most people towing a child in one of those will be much more careful than riding alone. But again, that's not the hazard: it is the cloak of invisibility that you put on when you are on a motorcycle or bike that attracts cars.