Controversial ban targets children

A potential ban would target children under six riding as bicycle passengers. Photo by JD Anderson/The Siskiyou

Portland congressman Mitch Greenlick’s proposal of a controversial bill that would penalize bicycle passengers under 6 made headlines this week.

The bill would make it illegal to carry a child under the age of 6 either a bike or a bike trailer.

Greenlick was inspired to draft the bill after reading an Oregon Health & Science University study on injuries bike commuters in the Portland area experienced.

The study discovered that approximately 20 percent of commuters experienced a traumatic injury at least once a year and 5 percent experienced injuries that required medical attention.

“It really got me thinking about what happens if there’s a 4-year-old on the back of that bike when a biker goes down,” Greenlick said in an interview with the Oregonian.

Opponents, like Jonathan Maus, editor of the blog, have criticized the bill saying that it is “just ridiculous.”

Maus, who has raised his two young daughters on bicycles along with his wife, stated that the bill is misguided.

“I think it is a terrible miscalculation to start a debate with something so one-sided that prohibits the use of a transportation option by a large segment of the population,” Maus said in an interview with the Oregonian.

“We have massive transportation safety problems,” Maus said. “Transporting a child on a bicycle is no where near the top of anyone’s priority.”

“It just doesn’t seem necessary,” Keoth Noyes, a sales associate at Ashland Cycle Sport said.

Greenlick’s bill isn’t taking only Portland-residents by surprise.

“That’s a funny one. Is he serious?” Jeff Rubin, manager at Siskiyou Cyclery, said. “There’s someone that’s seriously out there to take more of our freedom away. That’s pretty ridiculous.”

Maus also was concerned about how the bill would affect businesses in the state. Bikers across the state use trailers to tote their children around town, encouraging their children to exercise and decrease their carbon footprint.

“This is big,” said spokesman for Burley design, Garrett Barnum. “Child safety is a concern on bikes. There are a lot of products that aren’t as safe as trailers.”

Businesses like Ashland Cycle Sport and Siskiyou Cyclery that sell trailers and racks for children could be affected.

“We do sell the trailers and the seats on the rack of the bicycle,” said Rubin. “They’re the same ones that have been around since we were kids.”

Greenlick has expressed concerns over children’s safety, but it seems that he is overlooking the normalcy of the injuries during childhood.

“People trip on the cracks of the sidewalk and sometimes they get hurt,” Rubin said. “It kind of goes with the territory.”



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