Children on Bikes
Sandhya asked: I have bicycle with a conventional flat, rear carrier. Can my 9 year old child ride along with me on this rear carrier? If not, then what are the options available?
The bicycle must be designed and built for the number of people aboard. The following are the applicable provisions in the statutes about children on bicycles.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(2) A person operating a bicycle may not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(3)(a) A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his or her person in a backpack or sling.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a), a bicycle rider must carry any passenger who is a child under 4 years of age, or who weighs 40 pounds or less, in a seat or carrier that is designed to carry a child of that age or size and that secures and protects the child from the moving parts of the bicycle.
(c) A bicycle rider may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier on a bicycle when the rider is not in immediate control of the bicycle.
(d) A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, final rule, 16 C.F.R. part 1203. A helmet purchased before October 1, 2012, which meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z 90.4 Bicycle Helmet Standards), the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation (1984 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling), or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets adopted by the department may continue to be worn by a bicycle rider or passenger until January 1, 2016. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.
In general, a bicycle is not designed to use a flat carrier rack for carrying a larger child as a passenger. It’s not safe and, as you can read above, it’s not legal.
You asked for alternatives.
Some parents use a trailer that is a like a bicycle that doesn’t have a front wheel. It is called a “trailing bicycle” and you can google for them to see what I am talking about.
Or, at nine-years old, the child may be mature enough to ride his own bike with accompaniment.
Either way, as the statute says above in that last line, a helmet must be worn.