Wednesday, January 12, 2011

HB 2228

There is proposed legislation in Oregon to prohibit carrying children under six on bicycles or in bike trailers.  The text of the legislation is here:  BikePortland's amazingly quickly obtained interview with Rep. Greenlick is here:

Of course, I have a deep emotional response to this legislation, and to the justifications Greenlick gives for it, but I don't think it is useful for me to rage just yet.  So, I'm working to stay calm and conversational, and so should you.  Rep. Greenlick says he wants to start a dialogue.  So, let's dialogue.  You can reach him at  And, if you are an Oregon resident, you should also write to your own representative.  Find them by entering your address here:

If this bill gains political traction in the coming months, we will organize.  We will rage.  We will do much more than write letters.  But for now...

My letter is below.  Please add your voice.

Representative Mitch Greenlick
900 Court St. NE, H-492
Salem, OR 97301

 Dear Representative Greenlick:

        I am writing with deep concern regarding your proposed bill,
HB 2228, prohibiting the carrying of children under six on a bicycle
or in a trailer.

           My husband and I choose not to own a car, and when I
discovered I was expecting our first child, I did a lot of research
regarding carrying children by bicycle.  What I discovered was, first,
that there is very little data regarding the safety of children on
bikes, and second, that there is copious frightening data on the risks
posed to children carried in automobiles.  Furthermore, studies show
that children who are transported primarily by car, rather than by
foot, bike, or bus, are significantly more likely to struggle with
obesity.  They are less likely to aspire to ride bikes in adulthood.
And children who grow up near our car-choked freeways are more likely
to suffer from asthma and, according to one recent study, autism.  For
all of these reasons, I was willing to move ahead even with limited
children’s bike safety data: reducing our time in cars seemed the best
choice not only for our personal welfare but also for the welfare of
children in general.  My son has been carried primarily by bicycle
since early infancy.

           Like every parent, I am always aware of my child’s safety.
 And I would welcome more data about the risks children face while
being carried by bicycle—in fact, I would gladly participate in such a
study.  But scientific studies should begin with grant proposals, not
proposed legislation.  HB 2228 frightens and alienates me and the many
other parents in this state who transport their children by bike.
Please reconsider submitting this bill, or any legislation on carrying
children by bicycle, until research can be done on the actual risks
and benefits of this practice.

           Finally, since 2010 I have led a monthly family bike ride
in Portland called Kidical Mass.  Kids on this ride are carried in
various bike seats, cargo bikes, as well as riding their own bikes
alongside their parents.  Families that attend range from casual
weekend riders to daily kid-carriers like myself.  To promote dialogue
on this issue, I would like to invite you to join us on this ride.
Our next outing will be this Saturday, January 15 at 1:45 pm, meeting
at Oaks Pioneer Church in Sellwood (455 SE Spokane).  If you can’t
join us this month, our ride information is always posted at our
website,  I hope you can join us.


Katie Proctor

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Kidical Mass: See Beautiful Sellwood!

No clever theme this month, mostly because I caught the plague over New Years and had no brain cells to invent one.  So: costume theme is warm and dry, bike attire is well-lit.  We hope to see you there!

Let’s go biking in Sellwood! Meet at Oaks Pioneer Church on January 15 at 1:45, the ride will roll out at 2. We’ll make a tour of this great Portland neighborhood, maybe stopping for hot drinks and fun with park swings and ducks. Ride is just under three miles and will be a loop. Please dress for the weather, wear helmets, and don’t forget your lights for the ride home! Bring a few dollars in case we stop for hot cocoa.