I recently received a membership solicitation from the Boston Cyclists’ Union — the new kid on the block in Boston Area bicycling advocacy. The image of a family happily enjoying travel by bicycle is printed on the envelope:
Here’s the image. How, uh — sweet.
The child is in a front-mounted child carrier, which I find distressing in itself. it can impair pedaling and steering, and if the bicycle has a head-on collision or something stops the front wheel, the kid can vault over the wheel and go down headfirst. I know that this kind of child seat sees some use in Europe, but on the other hand, the more modern and safer approach is to use a cargo bicycle or tricycle (“bakfiets”) with the child in a low compartment ahead of the adult rider — or a bicycle trailer. Even a rear-mounted child seat is less risky, despite the instability it causes.
Well, yes, they are all wearing helmets — though both Mom’s and Dad’s are tilted back on their heads like sunbonnets.
But also, Mom is riding on the bicycle’s rear rack. Consider the effect on stability, or her getting a foot into the spokes of the rear wheel. For good reason, it’s illegal to ride on the rear rack. This is from Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 11, Section 11B, the bicycle section, and is typical of law all around the USA:
(2)(i) The operator shall ride only upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle; a passenger shall ride only upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle or to a trailer towed by the bicycle.
Why doesn’t Mom for crying out loud have her own bicycle? Or maybe they could get a tandem?
Why does Boston Cyclists’ Union try to recruit members by showing anything so stupid, hazardous, and illegal?
I could comment on the quality of the artwork as well, but I’ll demur on that.
This letter is one for the circular file.