No Biking With Kids Under Six in Oregon?!

BikePortland just posted a story about a new bill (House Bill 2228) that has entered the 2011 session of the Oregon Legislature that would prohibit anyone from carrying anyone under six years old on their bike or trailer!  The legislation was introduced by Mitch Greenlick (a Democratic who represents Northwest Portland/Forest Park). The infraction would come with a fine of $90 (max). BikePortland is trying to find out more information but hasn’t heard back from Mr. Greenlick or his staff. Here’s the letter (and photo) I just sent off to him.  Not sure what his thinking is but…. seriously?!

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

UPDATE: The net and Twitter are all abuzz about the issue now and BikePortland has an update with an interview with Rep. Greenlick where he states “safety concerns” for his reason for the bill!  Someone in the comments asked for his email addres- it is . Please email him your concerns with this bill!  Also, it might not be a bad idea to contact your local representative (Find them here).

UPDATE 2: I received a response from Rep. Greenlick and have another post on the subject with a copy of the response.

18 Responses leave one →
  1. 2011 January 12
    Jessica Roberts permalink

    Can you post Rep. Greenlick’s email address so others of us can do the same?

  2. 2011 January 12
    Travis A. Wittwer permalink

    Great letter and thank you for posting information. As a way to help others write letters, can you post the people and addresses to whom such letters can be sent?

  3. 2011 January 12

    How utterly ridiculous! Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Our family’s letter to this fella (I’ll send a copy to our local legislator, too) will soon follow.

  4. 2011 January 12
    H K permalink


    I’m with you on this one. I’ll be sending a letter Rep. Greenlick shortly, and following this bill closely. Regardless of the intention, this legislation is misinformed as cycling with kids is safe and can be made safer most easily by enforcing speed limits for motorists.

  5. 2011 January 12

    This will be a crime if this passes. If this happens in to the most bicycle progressive state in the U.S. , what hope is there for the rest of us in this country? Portland Oregon has done so much to lead the way, and this fool wants to take things backward???

    -robyn (in arkansas)

  6. 2011 January 12
    Derf permalink

    Here is his email address . Flood the inbox.

  7. 2011 January 12
    Derf permalink

    OK. For some reason it stripped out the email last time. Hopefully now it works.

  8. 2011 January 12

    Thanks Derf, I placed it in an Update as well and a link to find your local representative.

  9. 2011 January 12
    Ian Cooper permalink

    Here’s the email I sent, in case anyone wants to use all or part of it to help them compose a response:

    Dear Representative Greenlick,

    I have to tell you that I think your bill, House Bill 2228, is a terrible idea. If such a bill had been made law when my daughter was in preschool or Kindergarten, I would have been severely hampered in my ability to get her to school! Not everyone has access to a car for transport. Some of us rely on our bicycles as a primary mode of transportation. Bicycles are at least as safe as any other vehicle, and to outlaw cycle commuting places an unfair burden on those of us who have no alternative mode of transport other than walking. I certainly would not have relished walking my child to school, especially in the winter, when a bicycle could have reduced the travel time from 30 minutes to ten. Young children find it hard to walk for thirty minutes straight, especially when it is cold, while ten minutes on a bike is not only easy for them, but fun! Please, for the sake of families like mine, withdraw this ill-considered bill.

    Thank you,

    Ian Cooper
    Silver Spring, Maryland, USA

  10. 2011 January 13
    Hugh Prichard permalink

    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 you for your reconsideration.
    Hugh Prichard
    Eugene, Oregon

  11. 2011 January 13
    Chris Kimber permalink

    That law would not stand up in court as there is no documented proof that there is any safety risk to a child under six on a bike (where’s the data!). There is, however, ample evidence that children under six are regularly injured in automobile collisions. So, by following his logic…

  12. 2011 January 13

    Yipes! Double yipes! In Oregon, too? How can this be? Safety concern, huh? Meanwhile, how about we ENFORCE laws about texting while driving, using a handheld phone while driving, etc? Why go after family cyclists? No data here but I certainly know I absolutely bike safely, following all laws, especially because I am cognizant of having my children in/on my bike….

  13. 2011 January 13
    Joe Benson permalink

    This is my email to Mr. Greenlick:
    Mr. Greenlick,
    Your proposed bike law is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time. Will we soon be placed in rubber rooms soon after birth to ensure we cannot sustain any type of injury? What about the parents who do not drive, and do not live in the city. Bus lines are not available to everyone. Please remove this bill ASAP. I can only hope the voters of Oregon realize the ignorance of a bill like this, and the man who proposed it.


  14. 2011 January 13
    Joe Benson permalink

    The thing to remember folks is that they are not asking us to vote. They will put it in place and make us work to get it repealed.

  15. 2011 January 14
    Rex permalink

    Mia Birk has apparently gotten him to agree to withdraw it. The study’s author’s did no favors with their choice of words which she does a better job of explaining that I would.


  16. 2011 January 16
    Jacob Rusby permalink

    Dr. Mitch Greenlick,

    I am an avid cyclist with a 2 year daughter who loves to go riding on the back of the bike or in the trailer. I feel that my daughters safety is my #1 concern whenever I take her out on the bike. Also, it gets her outside into nature( something children should be doing more of ) and she enjoys running errands with me on the bike.

    I understand that there are parents that feel that it is okay to children out on bikes at ages well under the recommended age of 12 months, which is on virtually all child carrying systems already.

    I also know that there are other parents that disregard rules and laws and endanger their children’s safety, but the actions of these people should not hinder the parents that do take seriously the safety of their child when out on a bicycle.

    If you insist of increasing safety for children on bikes or in carriers, fine parents who do not care whether or not their children wear a helmets( which is already a law) and praise, promote, and encourage children by rewarding them (say, a free scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or similar).

    Please remove this from HB 2228 and don’t hinder people who work to provide safe riding conditions for their little ones, especially for families that cycling is the only form of transportation for many.

    Thank you,


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. No kids under 6? Oh, please! | Eugene bicyclist
  2. Responses to Oregon House Bill Which Would Prohibit Biking with a Child Under Six « We Bike Eugene

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