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Bike Carriers and Trailers

Bike Carriers and Trailers

Are child carriers and trailers for bikes safe to use? Is one better than the other?

Child carriers and trailers for bikes can introduce your child to the joys of bike riding, but it's important to know the potential risks.

Injuries can happen with both products, but bike trailers are considered somewhat safer because children are lower to the ground and have less of a distance to fall in a crash. Also, the weight and movement of a child in a bike carrier can throw off the balance of the adult cyclist, increasing the risk of a fall.

Before taking your child on a bike, check with your municipal and provincial governments to ensure you are following local regulations about cycling.

Are there any advantages to a bike carrier?

The main advantage has nothing to do with safety – bike carriers are much less expensive than bike trailers. Although trailers may be a better choice, they cost anywhere from $150 to $400, compared to $50 to $100 for a bike carrier.

Is it better to use a bike carrier that goes in front of my seat, or one that goes behind?

There isn't much research to confirm which type is safer, but there are advantages to a front-mounted bike carrier over the more common rear-mounted type. One advantage is that a parent can see and talk to a child during the ride. Another advantage is that the child is seated in the middle of the bike, closer to the centre of gravity. This allows the cyclist to get on and off the bike more steadily.

However, a front-mounted bike carrier can make steering more difficult. It can also interfere with pedalling or may not provide enough space for the cyclist's body or knees.

It's best to test out both types of carrier before you buy. Strap a sack of potatoes into the carrier to mimic your child's weight and go for a ride. That way you can determine which carrier feels more stable and comfortable to you – and whether you're even comfortable with a carrier at all.

What can I do to reduce the chance of injuries?

Whether you're using a bike carrier or a trailer, follow these safety tips:

Do you recommend any particular type of trailer or carrier?

Parachute does not endorse specific products. Canada doesn't have safety regulations for carriers and trailers, but some manufacturers choose to follow voluntary U.S. standards (look for a label that says ASTM). We recommend looking for a product with an ASTM label. Check also for the items listed below.

Bike trailers should have:

Bike carriers should have: