Carrying children on bicycles can be an environmentally friendly alternative to transport by car. But it also requires getting used to. Before buying a cargo bike, for example, it is recommended that you do a test ride – ideally with the kids. Our overview shows how diverse the transport of children by bicycle can be.
The child seat: After all, one in ten male and female cyclists in Germany takes a child with them several times a month. The classic child seat, which is used in half of all child transports (50 per cent) is by far the most popular. This is the result of the representative survey “Fahrrad Monitor 2021” conducted by the Sinus Institute on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). The result is hardly surprising, because bicycle seats are the lowest price option: “With a good 100 euros you are in,” says Dirk Zedler of the bicycle testing institute Zedler in Ludwigsburg.
Child seats have two major disadvantages
When buying one, parents should make sure that the backrest is high enough and that it has side bolsters. “Children tend to fall asleep during the ride,” says Zedler. The head is securely supported by the design described. The most important criteria for safety are regulated by the DIN EN 14344 standard. As a rule, the seats are equipped with bolsters and five-point belts. Thanks to adjustable footrests with foot straps, small children's feet do not come into contact with the spokes. Most of the products are designed for children between 9 and 22 kilos.
Zedler, the expert, sees two disadvantages in handling. “The most dangerous moment is when you put the child on or take the child off the bike. If the bicycle is only secured with a normal kickstand, it can quickly tip over due to the extra weight. As the centre of gravity moves upwards, the riding characteristics also change considerably: “The ride is more wobbly and less stable.”
Also, mum or dad cannot see their child in the back. A rear-view mirror can help. When the seat is attached to the seat tube, the frame swings along and offers suspension comfort. He advises against solutions that are permanently attached to the luggage carrier: “The child gets every impact hard as a rock.” Occasionally, you can also find seats for front mounting in the shops, but there the children are exposed to the wind and also to greater traffic risks.
Read the entire German article here.
Author/photo: Stefan Weissenborn