Despite a lack of statistics to support his argument, a nanny state activist wants babies banned from biking with their parents.
Citing a wide array of scary scenarios that would make any parent cringe with fear, a ‘concerned’ citizen has petitioned city officials in a Boston, Mass. suburb to prohibit parents from taking their tiny tots on bicycle rides. According to Brookline resident Seymour Ziskend, city officials are encouraging “child endangerment” unless they enact his proposed ban on baby bike seats and tow-behind buggies.
Ziskend is a local public access television host and businessman specializing in “selling, appraising, designing, outfitting, financing, and renovating restaurants,” so he knows a thing or two about bicycle safety. He prepared a report for Brookline’s town council outlining his concerns and rationale for preventing parents from bicycle riding with their toddlers, WickedLocal.com reports:
His article would prohibit bicyclists from carrying or transporting “babies or children of any age” on bicycles, even with the use of baskets, bicycle seats, tandems, carriers, or any other attached carrier.
He cited state laws that require safety belts for passengers of motor vehicles, but asked “What law safeguards children, babies or adults riding as passengers on bikes?” He also called it “sheer negligence” for bicyclists who carry children in such a manner.
WickedLocal.com notes a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing 716 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in 2008, 23 of which the victims were between the ages of 5 and 15. That is a wide range in age for nationwide deaths of children involved in unspecified bicycle deaths, and while unfortunate, fails to prove Ziskend’s argument for parents ultimately being responsible for endangering their young children whether in bike seats or tow-behind buggies.
WickedLocal.com does not include the informational tidbit from the NHTSA report that states:
Alcohol involvement — either for the driver or the pedalcyclist — was reported in more than one-third (37%) of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedalcyclist fatalities in 2008. In 31 percent of the crashes, either the driver or the pedalcyclist was reported to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. Lower alcohol levels (BAC .01 to .07 g/dL) were reported in an additional 8 percent of crashes. Over one-fourth (28%) of the pedalcyclists killed had a BAC of .01 g/dL or higher, and nearly one-fourth (23%) had a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.
Drunk drivers, drunk bikers, drunk parents, drunk underage teenagers … you get the picture. They’re likely part of the equation, too, resulting in the deaths of 23 children between the ages of 5 and 15, making Ziskend’s argument even more irrelevant.
Contact Brookline’s Town Selectmen and tell them to oppose Ziskend’s petition to ban baby bike seats and tow-along carriers that not even NHTSA data can prove present a “child endangerment” issue. Or, sound-off below if you think we are flawed in our judgment on the proposed ban.