Taking kids with you on a bicycle can be an environmentally friendly, sporty and eventful alternative to transport by car. But you have to get used to. Prior to buying, it is therefore recommended that you do a test ride ideally with the kids. You can take, for example, up to four tots in the transport box of a cargo bike; that's large-family-compliant! However, child transport by bicycle is even more diverse as the overview shows.
In Germany, one in ten cyclists takes a child with him or her several times a month. For a longer bike tour, a trailer is a good choice. According to the “Fahrrad Monitor 2021”, a representative online survey in Germany, this is the second most popular form of transporting children. With an upward tendency thanks to the e-bike boom. The electric auxiliary watts make towing a breeze. Most trailers are designed for 40 kgs of cargo. There is space for up to two children as well as luggage. Mainly, kids trailers are equipped with two seats, harnesses and weather protection. “You have a closed cage with roll-over bar,” says Dirk Zedler of the bicycle testing institute Zedler in Ludwigsburg. The wheels should have suspension. “Cheap models absorb shocks insufficiently, which can lead to postural defects," says the German Road Safety Organization (Deutsche Verkehrswacht). Infants can be transported in baby seats. Important safety requirements are regulated by the DIN EN 15918 standard, recognisable by a type plate.
Zedler points out the flexibility: “They can be hitched to several bicycles.” Equipped with small additional wheels, the trailer becomes a buggy or a baby jogger.
Bicycles must be approved by the manufacturer for trailers because higher loads are acting on the brakes and the fork. The total weight should also be considered. The trailer has little effect on the riding behaviour. There is hardly any risk of falling for the children. The turning circle is, however, considerable and manoeuvring is awkward; it takes a bit of practice. Good trailers can be folded and stored in a space-saving way, for example in the car boot.
As they can obscure the rear light, the German Road Safety Organization advises attaching another rear light to the trailer. Visibility, in general, is a challenge: The flat trailers can easily be overlooked. In an accident, they are at the height of bumpers. Placing a signal pennant on a long pole in the airstream makes the ride safer. Fully equipped kids trailers are available from around 500 Euros. But taking account of a resale, the money is well invested. “Even after five years, the loss in value is low,” states bicycle expert Zedler.
Read the entire German article online (pages 24-27).
Author: Stefan Weißenborn