How safe are cycle trailers?

How safe are cycle trailers?

I enjoyed the recent article about touring with a two year old. We have just bought a cycle trailer for our one-year-old daughter which has no suspension, to use for trips around town and touring. The roads in our area are in a poor state, with numerous potholes. She sits on a two-inch foam block to try to insulate her from the bumps and we try to cycle slowly.

Is there a significant risk of brain injury from the vibrations, and if there is, what can be done to mitigate this?

Alison Dugmore

I think the simple answer to your question is no: I am not aware of any significant risk of brain injury to a child from the vibrations caused by a particularly bumpy ride in a cycle trailer. It would be fair to say that there is a lack of evidence on this subject but in general, the forces required to cause brain injury would be much greater than those sustained during a rough ride in a cycle trailer.

The pneumatic tyres will act as a partial shock absorber from bumps and potholes. If the ride is very rough, you could consider buying a trailer with suspension but this is not usually necessary.

Most young children enjoy riding in a cycle trailer and will let you know if they’re not happy (sometimes a bit of bumping around adds to the fun)! Children can sit in a cycle-trailer seat without any additional support once they can comfortably sit up. This age varies but is usually by around 9-12 months.

If you haven’t done so already, it would be worth reporting all these potholes to your local authority (you could use the Cycling UK’s Fill That Hole website). Some are better than others at taking action but if they’re aware of the problem, they’re more likely to do something about it.

Matt Brooks

 

This was first published in the August / September 2014 edition of Cycling UK's Cycle magazine.

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