Q: Is there an Oregon law that addresses bicycle trailers and safety standards?
A: There is currently no Oregon law that governs the safety of bicycle trailers. However, there is interest this year as Senate Bill 846 has been introduced into the current Oregon legislative session, sponsored by Senator Floyd Prozanski, that seeks to establish minimum safety standards for bike trailers in use in Oregon.
Without Oregon law specifying safety standard guidelines, parents should be looking at manufacturer statements that their product has been designed based on the standards developed by respected test laboratories for non-powered trailers pulled behind bicycles for transport. As an example, http://burley.com
website has information about trailer safety and testing for their products.
One set of standards for bicycle trailers has been developed by ASTM International, ASTM F1975 -09, Standard Specification for Nonpowered Bicycle Trailers Designed for Human Passengers. The following is the abstract from the ASTM website:
“This specification covers non-powered trailers intended to be pulled behind bicycles to transport one or two children with accessory loads with a prescribed maximum weight. It includes methods for strength, impact drop, structural integrity in rollover, tip-over resistance, single-occupant trailer, double-occupant trailer, coupling security, and system fatigue tests. The tests confirm that this specification is satisfied. The specification also prescribes colors, reflectors, and flags for conspicuity.”
ASTM’s standards are used worldwide to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.
Their recommendation is not to purchase a bike trailer or bike seat until the baby is at least 1 year old. “We don’t recommend bike trailers and bike seats for children younger than that because they may not be physically equipped to withstand the forces they’ll be exposed to when riding in them. Children younger than a year old can’t support their heads properly while wearing a helmet, as all riders should.”
Also, parents should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the maximum weight, and recommended use of the trailer.
Q: At what age must children wear a helmet when riding a bicycle?
A: Regarding bike helmet use, ORS 814.485 requires a person under16 years of age to wear protective headgear when riding as an operator or rider of a bicycle on a roadway or on premises open to the public. The protective headgear must be the type approved under ORS 815.052, which are helmets for bicyclists that are labeled certifying compliance with U.S. CPSC standards. Oregon law does not specify a minimum age for when bicycle helmets are required to be worn.