How do you choose the right bike to transport children ?
Bicycle transportation is the solution of the future. Whether you are curious or already an accomplished cyclist, the daily practice of cycling is becoming more and more popular. But when it comes to transporting your children, the question of their safety is always important. We assure you, it is possible and there are many solutions!
These solutions are sometimes (and often) just as good or even better adapted to city traffic than a car. The right alternative for you will depend on the type of commute, your child’s age, their weight, and their balance.
Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything to you.
Transporting your child by bike: what age, what precautions...
In order to transport your child safely (and comfortably), there are some important elements to consider.
- you can transport a baby as soon as they can hold up their head, i.e. around 6 months old with a baby helmet (when head perimeter of the helmet is 44 cm).
- a helmet is mandatory for children up to 12 years old (and strongly recommended for children over 12 years old).
- you can put your child in a front bike seat on the handlebars up until they are 3 years old, which allows you to always have him or her in sight and to communicate with them more easily
- in France, any seat for children up to 5 years old must be approved (restraint system, fixed child feet, provided for the stated age)
- in France, children under five years old must be transported on a seat equipped with either a belt-type strap or a handle (a belt is recommended) and footrests.
- it is possible to have your equipment installed by a professional
Finding the right biking solution
On a classic bike or electric bike:
- Front seat: designed for children under 15 kilos, from 6 months to 3 years old.
- Back seat: for children between 15 and 22 kilos or between 3 and 6 years old. It is installed either by being attached to the luggage rack or the seat post (for bikes without luggage rack)
- Junior rear seat: for children under 32 kg or up to 10 years old, it can only be attached to the luggage rack and comes with footrests.
These 3 solutions have integrated footrests, as required by law, so that your child does not get stuck in the fixed or moving parts of the bike.
Some parents are less comfortable with these solutions and have difficulty transporting their children on a long trip. It is important to take into account that the lower the center of gravity of the bike, the more stable the bike is even if the child moves around, unlike a baby carrier where you would have to adapt to the possible sudden movements of the child.
The right solution for families : cargo bikes
This solution is highly recommended for families as it is considered more stable and comfortable for city trips. You can sometimes transport up to three children and more easily. Other than children, the load transport that this alternative allows is not negligible, like shopping or your pets! Want to know more about the U-Cargo, our cargo bike made for families ? Click right here.
Of course, for large families or people living in hilly areas, electrical assistance is a good solution to help you transport everyone! In France, many subsidies exist for the purchase of an electrically assisted bicycle. You can find informations here.
With a cargo bike:
- on a longtail (reinforced classic bike): you can carry up to 3 children and add child seats, handrails, cushions…
- on a two-wheeled bicycle: up to 3 children can be transported (80 to 100 kilos of load), these bicycles are equipped with safety belts. A front and rear seat can be added to extend the capacity of the tandem carrier to 5 children.
- on a three-wheeled bike, (two wheels at the front with a loading box): this is the most stable bike, there is no risk of falling or falling down when we put our children on it. If your child is less than 1.55 m tall, with less balance, the three-wheeled bike is the most suitable solution. It allows more capacity to transport loads: up to 4 children, and the possibility to add a child seat at the front and at the back which allows to transport up to 6 children in complete safety!
These bikes have a slight learning curve, but are the most suitable for families, being safer and more comfortable.
And what about accessories?
A lot of accessories exist to improve cycling with children: protection against bad weather and the cold, against the sun (sun visor), accessories for posture (such as cushions, support seats, neck support), safety accessories (footrest, baby seat up to 18 months…). All of which makes the bike ideal for everyday journeys.
If you love your current bike and you don’t want to change it, there are solutions such as the AddBike which allows you to transform very easily and quickly your classic bike into a cargo bike. You can add the Carry’Box Kid which has been certified to be safe and comfortable for 1 child.
In a nutshell,
There are many solutions to safely transport your children and replace the daily use of the car. Nothing better than for them to see the scenery! It’s up to you to choose the one that suits you best.