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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tots on Bikes

Nice article, which makes some good points. My investment in carrying my daughters on the bike and riding with them paid off very handsomely when we went on our long bike trip last summer.  You can bond with your kids in the car, too, but not as well -- too many distractions.

MAGAZINE   | December 12, 2010
The Ethicist:  Tots on Bikes
Modes of transport

My wife and I frequently transport our 4-year-old and 1-year-old by bicycle. They wear helmets and ride in a trailer or bike-mounted seats. People sometimes challenge us, asking if this is safe. The chances of our being hit by a car are low, but the consequences could be catastrophic. Is it O.K. to take the kids by bike when our admittedly safer, albeit not risk-free, car is available? DEREK PELLETIER,PORTLAND, ME.

Your parental duty requires you to find not the safest conceivable mode of travel, but only one sufficiently safe. ...Guided by the latter formulation, many parents, including me, sometimes transport their children by bike. Or I did when my daughter was younger. At 23, she's reluctant to squeeze into the little trailer.

...There are other ways this choice affects your kids and your community. If you forswear bikes and travel with them only by car, you teach them to do likewise, promoting the sedentary lifestyle that contributes to obesity and other health problems, and you express acceptance of the environmental damage cars inflict even on nondrivers — two disheartening lessons.

As significant as what vehicle you deem suitable is how you use it. .... I hope that you bike safely, choosing routes with the fewest cars and, even better, those with protected bike lanes. ...

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