Child bike seat: legislation and advice. Take the children on a bike with you, choose safety and approved bicycle seats. There are one or more solutions suitable for transporting children by bicycle? Obviously yes, and this post is dedicated to all those who usually travel by bike for pleasure and for daily needs but have never raised the problem of transporting other people on bicycles that were not primarily themselves; and this typically happens until a child is born in the family.
Obviously, having a larger family should not prevent you from continuing to have the healthy habits of before, typically that of traveling by bicycle. There is one legislation of the highway code that regulates the transport of children of different ages on bikes? And if so, what are the permitted and recommended bike accessories about? To all this and more we will try to answer shortly in the post indicating the rules and the best tools to cultivate the healthy routine of the bike every day and perhaps during the holidays.
In reality, the idea also arises from an occasional event that occurred months ago and which concerned a friend: her child of a few years sitting on a front seat of the bike driven by his grandfather had a small accident, fortunately nothing serious at all. aimed at milk teeth and chin but, the causes of which are to be found in the lack of respect and knowledge (and for heaven's sake also from a bit of bad luck) of some precautions on the transport of children by bike and the choice of a wrong accessory for the size of the child himself. It is appropriate to say that the devil often hides in the details and to do a right thing, the exact opposite is often completed.
Children on bicycles: what the highway code says about bikes with child seats
Article 68, paragraph 5 of Traffic laws it says among other things that the cycles can be equipped for the transport of a child, with suitable equipment, the characteristics of which are established in the regulations for the execution of the code.
The implementing regulation Article 225 lays down the rules on "Construction features of equipment for transporting children on bicycles". If the highway code shows us how on cycles is allowed only to adults transport of children up to eight years of ageas regards the construction features:
- The equipment suitable, pursuant to Article 68, paragraph 5, of the Code, for the transport of a velocipede for a child up to eight years of age, consists of a special seat consisting of:
- seat with backrest,
- velocipede fastening system and child safety system
- The armrests can be omitted in the case of seats intended exclusively for fixing in the rear position to the driver, for the transport of children over the age of four.
- The seat is made and prepared for installation so that, even during the transport of the child, the dimensional limits set for cycles by Article 50 of the Code are not exceeded, the driver's vision is not obstructed and the possibility and freedom of maneuver by the same are not limited.
- The child safety system consists of braces or containment belt and from one foot protection structure of child. This protective structure can be part of the seat or be an element separate from it, in which case it is mounted directly on the velocipede; in any case it must be suitable to prevent contact of the feet with moving parts.
- The fastening system provided must ensure the anchoring of the seat to the velocipede, preventing, in any case, its accidental release. For child seats for which assembly in front position, between the handlebar and the driver, and which are suitable for the transport of children whose mass does not exceed 15 kg, fixing systems are allowed both to the frame, to the steering column and to the handlebar. In the latter case, the distance between the hooks on the handlebar is no more than 10 cm. For child seats that are to be mounted in the rear position, fastening systems are allowed both to the frame and to a luggage rack accessory. In this case, the minimum load capacity of the luggage rack, necessary to ensure the transport of the child in conditions of suicide, is clearly highlighted in the assembly instructions and instructions for use of the seat referred to in paragraph 5.
- Each seat is equipped with illustrated instructions for assembly and instructions for use to ensure safe transport of the child. Together with these indications there are articles 68, paragraph 5, and 182, paragraph 5, of the Code, as well as articles 225 and 377, paragraph 5. A declaration certifying the compliance of the seat with the established characteristics is attached to the aforementioned instructions and indications from this article. This declaration is signed, under its own responsibility, by the manufacturer or by whoever markets it with its own brand, or, in the case of a product imported from countries that are not part of the European Community, by whoever imported it in the exercise of their business. commercial.
- The year of production and the name of the manufacturer, or of the person marketing it with its own brand, are visibly imprinted on the seat, even after its assembly, or, in the case of a product imported from countries that are not part of of the European Community, by those who imported it in the exercise of their commercial activity.
- Trailers for bicycles are allowed as long as the length of the velocipede, including the trailer, does not exceed 3 m. The maximum total width of the trailer must not exceed 75 cm and the maximum height, including the load, must not exceed 1 m. The transportable mass must not exceed 50 kg. For night circulation, the trailer is equipped with the rear and side visual signaling devices provided for cycles in article 224.
The seats must be regularly homologated and compliant with the European standard EN 14344 and are commonly divided into front and rear child seats depending on the part of the frame on which they are fixed. The forelegs must hold a weight of up to 15 kilograms maximum (which is the largest mass supportable previously by law) while for the rear there is a maximum age value whose limit is 8 years. All seats cannot exceed the size limits set by art. 50 of the highway code
Furthermore, the seat must not obstruct the view and the possibilities and freedom of maneuver of the driver of the velocipede.
In recent years, the common front and rear seats have been joined by the so-called trolleys that join the rear of the bicycle: they are equipped with safety belts and covers and / or mosquito nets against the dangers of bad weather and are often the solution best for the cyclist who travels with children in tow. Obviously, here too one must be in compliance with the provisions of the law
The rules on accessories are accompanied by those on the circulation of the velocipedes themselves; Finally, we remind you that it is strictly prohibited by the highway code:
- carry a child under the age of 8 for an underage velocipede driver,
- carry a child under the age of 8 outside the prescribed equipment (on the saddle or on the bike barrel)
- on cycles specially built and approved for the transport of other people, in addition to the driver, it is possible to transport no more than four adults, including drivers, and the simultaneous transport of two children up to ten years of age is allowed (article 68, paragraph 6 and 7)
Bike seat: front or rear. Which one to choose?
Obviously, the mandatory aspects to consider are those of the law: the front seat should not be used if the mass of the child is greater than 15 kg. It is an aspect that not all mothers and fathers know while perhaps they are better able to extricate themselves on the car seats of they know more about the specific legislation. But coming to the aspects of specific functionality, I allow myself to express some opinion supported by logical evidence.
I'm not a lover of front seats as well as front baskets in general:
- often they are the first to be used and with the growth of the child it is a mistake
- although the position facilitates the driver's control of the child in front of you, I remember that a weight in front of you near the steering wheel can generate difficulties in turning the velocipede itself which, as everyone knows, is always in precarious balance ("to be in balance you have to move and drive the vehicle "). This, perhaps combined with tires not perfectly under pressure, is often a source of possible danger
- obviously the front seat has undoubted advantages when the child is small because being equipped with poor balance as well as a slightly accentuated neck musculature, this allows you to have it under control and to fix it better and not to carry it almost like an inert weight; the fact of knowing behind it, not being able to see it and knowing how it is fumbling hands and feet often discourages this solution in the early stages, which is delayed until the weight limit is reached.
As in many things, there are legal constraints that must be respected but after which there is always the common sense of those who then pedal and guide us on the road; therefore, beyond personal opinions, all the appropriate solutions are fine if adopted in compliance with the rules and safety in the traffic sector.
Sometimes it is customary to think of solutions paying more attention to comfort and ergonomics (a helmet, braces, containment barriers for the feet it is obvious that they give a certain annoyance to the child) but we must also remember that beyond the purely appearance Legislative it has to do with creatures that do not yet know all the dangers and moreover are very curious when not restless. A security solution is just a matter of habit; once the routine takes over, even the initial annoyance ceases.
Bike seat: guide to the best solutions, from bikes with child seats to trailers
- There are dozens of brands and models of child seats on the market to choose from and as you can see prices range from 25 euros for the cheapest models up to over 200 euros for the more advanced ones.
- The solutions of the trailers for child carriers, of the bike with child seator what we said are particularly suitable for those who do not want to give up cycling with the whole family. However, they appear to be a good compromise compared to the classic stroller even for those who have small children of similar age if not twins, since most of these trailers are two-seater. Obviously, the prices are higher than for simple seats but they are far from prohibitive (starting from 100 euros) for those who decide to invest and use this accessory.
- And if your baby is already starting to be one and a half years old, why not try it learn with a balance bike
Latest information on child seats
Finally, below I provide you with some links to better perform a targeted search on Amazon, the ecommerce site where you can also buy bicycle seats classic and not that I have discussed in this article at excellent prices and with the usual "satisfied or refunded" guarantee.
By following the links you will find not only an abundant assortment of seats for front and rear bikes of different brands and dimensions but also other products such as trailers, strollers, classic seats per car, bike without pedals, bicycles for children so that you can evaluate the individual product sheets with all the features and prices.
Amazon shipments can take place within 24 hours and are often included in the price. And if you already have Amazon Prime you can take advantage of free and fast shipping for almost all items in the catalog. Here are the links:
- Child bike seats
- Trailer strollers for children
- Pushchairs and prams
- Car Seats
- Bike without pedals
- Balance bikes up to 2 years
- Children's bicycle
Curated by Tullio Grilli
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