In Portland, the most bicycle friendly city in the country a bill was introduced that would prohibit Oregon cyclists from carrying children under the age of six on a bicycle or in a bicycle trailer.
HB 2228, or the Greenlick bill has been met with an incredible amount of backlash in its hometown and around the country. While HB 2228 is still miles away from becoming approved legislation, it has become an important topic of discussion. Here is what people are saying around the blogosphere:
- Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org spoke with Representative Mitch Greenlick and asked him about the controversial study that led to the development of this bill. Greenlick indicates that his goal is to protect children. But Maus and many of his readers take issue with Greenlick's ‘propose first, study later’ approach to law making. Read more (including an incredible number of thought-provoking comments) at BikePortland.org.
- Mia Birk, an accomplished advocate and author of the book, "Joyride," addressed Greenlick directly. “I appreciate that your intentions were good, but the facts do not support this bill. Please withdraw it.” Statements do not get much more direct than that, but the letter in its entirety is worth a read to obtain a better understanding of how Greenlick's interpretation of the study is incorrect.
- Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, one of the leading sources for industry-related information, allowed the dust to settle before publishing a post on January 19 that asserts that HB 2228 is unlikely to pass as it is currently written. Product and marketing manager Garrett Barnum of Burley Designs, a leading producer of bicycle child trailers based in Oregon, is open to more research regarding the safety of child trailers but was never approached by Greenlick prior to revealing this proposed bill. Barnum said, "if that's a result of this discussion, a study around child safety and trailers and bikes, that's great. We are excited about the discussion around safety because that's the strength of our products over lower-cost trailers sold at big-box stores."
- Eugene Cyclist responded with pointed snark, “As long as we are busy banning things,” he writes, “I don't see why we should allow any potential hazard to remain in our lives.” He goes on to suggest, with photographic evidence, other cycling dangers equally worthy of prohibition including: riding at night, riding in rain, sanctimonious placards, and carrying surface-to-air missiles on a bike.
Although HB 2228 is still on the table in Oregon, this proposed piece of legislature has demonstrated how communities can come together and speak peacefully but forcefully to defend an issue of importance. There have been hundreds and hundreds of comments posted, and influential people are using facts to defend their statements.