Friday, March 22, 2013

The Kids Aren't Alright

from Jacqueline

Just so you know, the following is not  product review.  It’s simply an opinion.  My opinion.  Clearly many people do not share my opinion, and that’s just fine, and how things should be – heaven forbid we should all think alike.  So now that’s out of the way, and I think I can avoid being sued …

I hate these things:

I think they are one of the most dangerous vehicles I have ever seen on the road – ON THE ROAD – and I think whoever invented this thing (possibly rolling in money now), must have a downer on children.  And I find it strange that parents who buy cars based upon their safety factors, because children are precious, vulnerable human beings – cars like this, with airbags, safety cages, crumple zones, and the like …

… will then shove a toddler or two in something that amounts to this, and take to the road:

That’s a road with things like this rolling along in the same lane - I've seen it:

Do they really want to go out on their bikes THAT much?  Why can’t they find a nice bike path, or a forest road, or something a bit safer?  Why play bicycle Russian roulette, when it could end like this:

You may wonder why I am on this little rant-ette.  Well, it’s like this.  The issue of these little bike trailers has been on my mind for a while, mainly because I live in an area where there are a lot of young kids around, many of them being transported by bicycle in various ways:

It’s also an area where the sun shines a lot, and where that very shiny sunlight is low in the sky in spring, fall and winter especially – that’s a lot of year.  And we know that low sun can blind a driver, or a person on a bike.  Here's what happened to me last week.  I was driving in a rural area with bendy roads and hills, in places obscured by overhanging trees.  In the distance I could see a bicycle with a trailer, just about to start up the hill.  I approached and – because I know the road – decided it would be best to pass before we arrived at the bend, because on that bend you hit a wall of blinding sunlight that even your most expensive polarized sunglasses won’t help you with.  So, with a clear road and wide berth, I went past the bicycle – the woman was already weaving, such was the strain of the hill on her and the bike, especially with her precious cargo of two little ones.  I passed with no problem, but then glanced in my rearview mirror in time to see a car approaching the woman and her charges.  She was weaving even more as she made the bend, and I saw the sunlight on the driver's windshield and I knew he couldn’t see a thing.  He avoided her at the very last second – how, I don’t know.  I add that I did not take my eyes off the road for long – these things happen really quickly.   How that woman and her children were not killed is beyond me.  The driver was not speeding, and he was not being reckless – but he was faced with other vehicular traffic (and despite protestations to the contrary, things on wheels are vehicles, not pedestrians) that, frankly, in good sense, should not have been there.  I felt heartsick.  And I do not think the woman with the children even noticed.

I have heard arguments about rights, and who is allowed to be where on the road, and that it’s a parent’s business what they do with their children, etc., etc. I happen to think that is pretty lame.  Try having those arguments when a child is injured or killed in an accident.  Pointing the finger won’t bring someone back, nor will litigation.  Ever.

When I was a child and my mother was pressing home the drill about looking both ways as you cross the road, I first learned the tragic story that involved my great uncle.  He had been driving along – not fast, not illegally, just an ordinary driver on the road – when a little girl raced out of her house and acros the road without looking, straight in front of his car.  She didn’t stand a chance and was killed instantly.  He was absolved of any criminal irresponsibility, and even her parents did not cast blame, but it marked him for life. He gave up his job and trained to be what we now all a paramedic, because he felt he had to try to save lives from that time forward.  But he could never bring back the little person who he would have given his own life to save, and he was scarred forever by that one moment.

I think of that story every time I see kids playing close to the road – I am hyper vigilant.  And I hate seeing kids put in positions of vulnerability – and I am sorry if you don’t agree, but I think this …

… on a road where even stronger vehicles end up like this …

is mind-blowingly stupid.  You can’t bring kids back.  But you can shove the lot in your car and go off to a park.  It doesn't guarantee you won't have an accident, but the odds are in your favor.

And that's all just my opinion.

PS:  Oh, nearly forgot to tell you - she said, excitedly - my new novel, LEAVING EVERYTHING MOST LOVED, will be published next week, on March 26th.  I hit the road for my book tour on Monday, so if you're interested, check out the Appearances page on my website:  It would be lovely to see followers of Naked Authors along the way!


  1. Agree with you on this 100%. The helmet may be useful if on a bicycle path in a park, but on the road next to useless. Why put our most precious possessions at risk. I saw a cyclist with a little one in the seat on the back just the other day, weaving in and out of traffic. I called to report accident waiting to happen. (signed as anonymous as easy way to go....Ruby Brett)

  2. If I may add to this list of annoyances and traffic hazards: bicyclers who race through stop signs and people who walk their dogs in the middle of the road.

  3. from Jacqueline

    Patty, you may of course add to the list of traffic hazards. People walk dogs in the middle of the road???? Oh my, now that is a bit thick! And Ruby - it always makes me cringe when I see children at risk on the road. I saw a woman with a child on her bike go straight through a stop light and almost get hit - and people don't always consider how the driver of a car feels when they have a near miss that isn't their fault, especially where children are concerned.

  4. You make excellent points. Why aren't there child safety laws applicable to these situations? Seat belt laws met with some opposition but are now accepted. There is only so much other drivers can do to protect risk-takers, and if you add the oblivious drivers on cell phones . . .
    Meanwhile, looking forward to LEAVING EVERYTHING MOST LOVED!!

  5. I'm playing catch-up this week, but I couldn't agree with this more. We actually own one of those trailers, but only because we're fortunate to live in a neighborhood with miles and miles of bike trails. I can't imagine taking my children on a busy street in that thing! Of course, I wouldn't ride a bike (or walk) on a busy street, either. Person vs. car almost never ends well for the person. My aunt was killed in such an accident, actually: she was walking along the shoulder of a busy road, and the driver of the car looked away for just a second, but it was enough to allow the car to drift to the shoulder, and that was it. And she was a grown woman who should have been perfectly visible.

    Patty, here it's the teenagers. They walk down the middle of the road and will turn and look at you and turn back and keep walking in the middle of the road. I can't tell you how many times I've told my children "If I EVER see you do that, you'll (insert terrible punishment here)."