Hello fellow cyclists,

The Centre for Automotive Safety Research at The University of Adelaide are seeking participants for a study investigating the safety of child passengers on bicycles. We would like cyclists who are parents of children under 5 who either carry their child as passengers on a bike, or do not carry their child as passengers on a bike to complete our survey.

The results of this research will be used to raise awareness of the different child carriers available, provide information that will allow parents to make informed decisions when selecting a carrier, and improve the safety of child passengers.

This study has been approved by The University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee.

If you would like more information or to participate in the study visit the CASR website

Thanks for your help

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Those barriers are a huge pain in the arse. After a few attempts getting through I've just given up and try to cross rail tracks on quiet back streets.

The problem with cycle infrastructure in Australia is that it's all to a minimum standard and all about normal sized bikes, probably because cargo trikes and bikes are relatively new here.

Hi Justin,

Sorry that the focus seems to be on injury. It's not about fear, it's about filling in gaps - there is no data available for this (I suspect largely because there aren't many kids being injured, either because of exposure, but probably because it's not that dangerous). Keep in mind that the questions are as much about not being injured as reporting injuries.

I agree with your point about kids being injured in (or by) cars. It's not something I'm looking at at the moment, but I have plans to study road safety as it applies to children (which I think is largely overlooked - road safety tends to focus on adults). In order to compare car injury to bike injury we will need injury data (or non-injury data) for bike passengers. The level of detail I have gone into with this study is similar to the injury and crash data for motor vehicle crashes that just aren't available for bicycles.

One of the barriers to cycling is concerns over safety. This probably extends to taking kids with you on the bike. The results of this report will be useful for parents highlighting the types of carriers available, and hints and tips for safe, enjoyable riding from people with experience in this. In the development of this survey I spoke with a number of cyclists and, even though I've been riding with my son for 2 years, I picked up a few good tips myself.

Thanks for responding Simon - we see so much anti cycling research or promotions dressed up as "safety" (we still remember that great Jay Walking conspiracy from the start of the auto era) that we are nervous with research. Most "safety" codes including how we teach our kids to cross the road & focus on visibility pushes the onus on the vulnerable rather than making drives more responsible for their action. School zone safety promotion should be about getting drivers to slow down & take more care not about getting kids out of the way of danger (which something we do naturally!) 

I do appreciate your efforts to promote cycling with kids - we have two kids no car two cargo bikes and a plethora of cycles. If you even need to chat to a very active family we would be more than happy to. 

You may even like to take a look at my wife's blog - she is trying to encourage more everyday cycling. 


This is frustrating. Typically "Australian" style of cycle safety study. Focus on armour, highvis, child seats. Ignore the predominant threat - the sacrosanct motor car.

I'd suggest scrapping this study, and writing a paper on the "Stop Der Kindermord" movement that yielded permanent positive change in Holland, and a model that spread across northern Europe.

Hint - 99.9% of the danger to children being carried on bikes is presented by cars. In Holland, kids ride safely on their parents handlebars.

Solutions are to change driver attitudes (by force if necessary), separated infrastructure, safe passing laws, presumed liability, lower urban speed limits, vehicular exclusion zones around schools.

Examine all of these before child seats.

Agree and said as much in the survey - cars kill! The focus should be there and not on safe cycling. Great photo by the way!

Hi Herzog, thanks for your feedback.

I read a lot of cycle safety studies (peer reviewed journal papers) and they all look at the same things, even those from cycle friendly countries in Europe.

There are questions about helmet use, high-vis, etc. and these are in there because when I was developing the study I spoke with a number of parents who indicated that when they were on their own they wore what they wanted. When they were taking the kids they wore a hi-vis vest. For the record, I don't wear one, I usually wear either a white or other light/bright colour t-shirt.

I'm not out to say seats are bad or dangerous or anything like that. I have stated the aims, etc. in the information sheet for the study and in other posts. This is about making cycling with children safer. Without having all the results yet I know for a certainty that I will be recommending separated infrastructure and lower speed limits.

All those things you mention for changing attitudes - the separated infrastructure, the low speed limits, exclusion zones, etc. are all well-known solutions. The thing is to get them introduced in Australia the powers-that-be who make the decisions want evidence, typically is there a problem (i.e. are people being injured), and when they're installed they want to know if they work (have injuries reduced).

I agree, the private motor vehicle is the road safety threat everywhere in the world.

I appreciate that your heart's probably in the right place, I just find it frustrating that cycling "safety" studies in this country invariably focus on things that are borderline victim blaming strategies, rather that the elephant in the room.

As a researcher in the field, it would be good for you to take it upon yourself to start turning this tide, much as we are now seeing with domestic violence. The focus is now very much on the behaviour of violent men, rather than the old "short skirts" argument.

Similarly rather than focus on highvis, helmets and the like, how about the conduct of motorists?

Be a change agent.

Anyway, here's my submission:

I agree with your points on victim blaming.

My argument would be that at this point in time road safety generally fails vulnerable users (pedestrians and cyclists). The focus is very much people who drive cars do things that hurt them and other people. Lets make cars safer. Lets make roads safer for cars. There's no real onus put on the person behind the wheel who pose the biggest threat to everyone else. And then we tell everyone else they need to do more so that drivers don't hurt them. It's a complete about face compared to what we do for car occupants.

Reading the medicalised message regarding child bicycle safety in today's Manly Daily by a Westmead doctor, it's a wonder most of us survived in years past. I'm sure the guy sees the worst of it, which probably skews your view, but the multitude of other children in the rest of the world make do somehow.

Ironically enough, his idea about putting stickers on kid's helmets is a no-no if you want to be pedantic as well.

A couple of letters in there from "cyclists" with concepts of sharing the road - and made up road rules for good measure too!

good recommendations obviously

Hi Simon, do you want to hear from a former parent of a little kid transported by bike (she's now 8) or is the survey only for parents whose kid is currently under 5?

Hi Beck, that is an interesting question. My survey isn't really set up to handle your situation. Havig said that, I would love to hear from you so I guess if you answered the questions providing the age at which your daughter was last a passenger on your bike (assuming she isn't now, in which case you could put 5). I have looked at modifying the survey to accommodate a different set of responses that would enable you to complete it but haven't found a workable solution. Having said that, I would love to hear from you so I guess if you answered the questions providing the age at which your daughter was last a passenger on your bike (assuming she isn't now, in which case you could put 5).


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