New legislation could prevent carrying children by bicycle

US House representative sponsor concerned with child safety

Portland-based Oregon state house representative, Mitch Greenlick, seeks to make transporting a child under the age of six by bike or by bike trailer illegal.

The legislation is proposed through House Bill 2228, which the 76-year-old representative sponsored last week. Greenlick cited child safety concerns as his reason for supporting the bill, in which offense is punishable by a US$90 fine.

“I introduced HB 2228 because I am not convinced that we are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of young children who join their parents bicycling on the streets and roads of Oregon,” Greenlick said in an official statement.

“I hope it will be a rational discussion to assure we were doing everything possible to improve the safety of bicycle transportation in Oregon,” he added. “This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children. There is so much we don’t know about this topic. I hope this process will reduce the heat in the debate and increase the light.”

The bill sparked controversy amongst the cycling community across the country including urbanMamas, four mothers who founded the community blog to share relevant information. They expressed concerns about the impact the bill could have on their childrens' quality of life and for low-income families that can’t afford to travel by any other means. “We could surely prevent many deaths through punitive laws,” posted by CafeMama. “We could ban balloons, peanuts, playground structures, swimming pools. We could outlaw bath tubs and pillows.”

“Greenlick says he wants to start a conversation,” she added. “This is the wrong conversation to start. Limits are not needed on bicycling, a choice of transportation which harms no one and is the only option for more and more economically struggling Oregonians each year…. But as irrational as his reasoning on this bill is, I don't believe he's going to be listening.”

The bill would affect manufacturers of toddler bicycle trailers. The Pacific Cycle owned company, InStep, which manufactures baby joggers, strollers and bicycle trailers was surprised by the bill and responded.

“We care deeply about the safety of children and are strong advocates of bicycle safety,” said Jessica Antle, global press relations officer for Pacific Cycle brands. “We firmly believe in the safety of our products, including our bike trailers which are designed for children ages 12 months to 5 years and up to 50 lbs. Riding with your children is a great way to have healthy, family fun.”

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