Attached Bicycle Seats
Pat Hines (Traffic Safety Educator & Executive Director, SafeMoves) gives expert video advice on: What is an "attached bicycle seat"?; How can my child be injured in an attached bicycle seat?
What is an "attached bicycle seat"?
An attached bicycle seat can either go in the front, where the child can sit on the crossbar, right in front of you. Almost between your legs and the adult has the handlebars. An attached bicycle seat there is a recipe for disaster. First of all, as the parent, how in the world can you steer the bicycle with a child sitting in your view? Also, how can you even see over the child to properly see where you're going? Plus the weight is distributed wrongly; you've got all your weight in the front part of the bike. So if you should hit the front brake to avoid an obstacle, the child will go flying head first into traffic. It is impossible to safely ride a bicycle with an attached bicycle seat in front. Now, the bonding experience doesn't exist because the child is probably holding on for dear life, and you as the parent are very nervous about riding with the child in the attached bicycle seat on the front part of the bicycle. So we don't recommend that. The other attached bicycle seat can attach to the back, over the back wheel. That throws the weight of the bicycle off. When you turn, if the child is not aware that you're turning and is leaning to the left and you're turning to the right, it can cause you to crash. Also, if you should be hit by a car, the child goes down in the attached bicycle seat, and the child goes down really hard. So it's really important to not use either one of those attached bicycle seats. If you want to enjoy cycling with your child, let them ride their own bicycle.
How can my child be injured in an attached bicycle seat?
The way children are hurt, and even killed riding on an attached bicycle seat, is when the parent loses control of the bicycle and the child hits the cement really hard. Now if a car's involved, the chance of a child in an attached bicycle seat child surviving a crash like that are zero. The child is open and vulnerable to any kind of car crash. There's the thin plastic of the attached bicycle seat that's protecting the side, but that's nothing when a car hits them. Also, if the parent simply runs over a stick and loses control, the child in the attached bicycle seat goes down. If the parent stops suddenly, the bicycle goes down. There's so many scenarios that can cause that adult to lose control of the bike and the child in the attached bicycle seat will be the one that suffers the injury, because they will hit the hardest. The adult may be able to put their feet down and protect themselves. The child has no way of protecting their self when they fall from an attached bicycle seat.