Responses to Oregon House Bill Which Would Prohibit Biking with a Child Under Six

One of my favorite pictures from - this 20-month-old seems perfectly safe to me.

I hesitate to post another story so soon after Shane posted such an important story about upcoming construction, but this story has blown up all over the interpipes tonight – and it should.   Mitch Greenlick, a Portland Democrat who represents District 33 (Northwest Portland/Forest Park), has decided that it’s in the public’s best interest to ban people from bicycling with children under 6 on their bikes or in a bike trailer.  This story first broke on, and then was followed by a interview with Greenlick in which  it became clear that Greenlick  has no actual evidence that this bill is needed.  Quoted from BP:  “When asked if it might be wiser to find such evidence and then introduce a bill, he said, ‘Because this is just how the process works.'”

Predictably, the interwebs are alive with response.  I feel that BikePortland has covered the gist of the story well, so for our story I’ll report on the response., who rides regularly with a 2 and 4-year-old wrote on his blog: “Is carrying a kid around on a bike any more unsafe than embarking on a journey up I-5 in the car with junior strapped in the back seat? Why don’t we just make it illegal to drive any kids younger than 6 in the car, too? Why don’t we just make it illegal for them to leave the house while we are at it?”

WBE Contributor, Kidical Mass Founder, and Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane MacRhodes had a lot to say about it on the EugeneSRTS blog.  He’s already written a response to Greenlick which you can read after the jump.

After the jump is also the full response (and pictures!) sent to Greenlick by Hugh Prichard, one of the presenters in the recent Transportation Remix.

You can write Greenlick yourself ( and your local representatives and tell them how you feel.  Please remember to keep the letters civil.  The hateful response of cyclists two years ago to the mandatory bike registration bill is partially credited for the failure of the Idaho Stop Law that same year.


Mr. Greenlick,

As the Safe Routes to School Program Manager for the 4J School District in Eugene and one of the founders of Kidical Mass, a family friendly ride held every month in communities throughout the country, including Portland, I would like to respectfully request that you remove your House Bill 2228 from the Legislature. I am not sure the motivation behind the bill but as a parent of three children under three (twins!) and as a family who only owns one car we rely on cycling as a major form of transportation and I can tell you from both personal and professional experience that cycling with kids is healthy, safe, and fun and should be encouraged not outlawed!

More information on Kidical Mass:

Here’s a shot of all three of my kiddos on our first outing.. with my 20 month old daughter and 6 month old sons- in car seats for safety =)

Three Kiddos on Bakfiets & Burley

That’s a Burley trailer (made right here in Eugene FOR hauling kids!!!!) and a Bakfiets (sold in Portland at Clever Cycles), again FOR hauling kids.
Please remove this very unnecessary bill ASAP.
Shane MacRhodes
From Advocate Hugh Prichard:

Dear Representative Greenlick,

I have just heard of your proposed legislation to prohibit children under six from riding on bicycles. Surely this is some kind of internet joke.

Bicycles represent the fastest-growing share of all modes for urban transport. They are ideal for short distances such as from home to school. They are the solution to so many urban problems from carbon emissions to road budgets that your proposal is incomprehensible. I have just spent a pleasant weekend riding throughout Eugene with my 6-year-old grandson, who is an excellent and safe rider. You want us to stop???

I realize that some cyclists ride in an unsafe manner. This is lamentable and I wish they would change their behavior. Likewise, many automobile drivers break the law with great regularity. Like , or instance, driving from Portland to Salem at a speed greater than 65 MPH. This is demonstrably unsafe. Shall we introduce a bill to ban adults from automobiles? Probably not. Please drop your efforts to remove children from the best possible vehicles they can use. Bicycle-riding children make for bicycle-riding adults. They are part of the solution to our national problems regarding transportation, energy, obesity, health, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thank your for your reconsideration.

Hugh Prichard

Eugene, Oregon

I have attached a number of photos from a recent trip to northern Europe, where bicycles are an integral part of daily life, as they are beginning to be in Oregon. These are mostly parents with their children, enjoying muscle-powered transportation. I’m sorry for the lack of helmets. They don’t wear them much in Europe, but we do in Eugene!

(Hugh’s attached photos are included in the slideshow below. – Seager)

Author: C-Gir


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