Finally! A Kid’s Seat for Bike-Share

UPDATE, 6/2/14: Capital Bikeshare Director Eric Gilliland responds, below.

The magnetic pull of the minivan just got a little weaker. Bike-share has always been off-limits to people who need to tote kids around, but an enterprising DC dad has invented a kid’s seat that attaches on and comes off in seconds, without tools. As you can see in the video above, it’s easy. And the kid likes it, as you can tell by her happy dance.

Crispen Wilson’s invention won first place in the DC state fair competition for the best bicycle accessory. He’s refined the design since then and is now looking for product testers. (Volunteer in the comments section.)

Wilson’s invention was, like all inventions, born of necessity. As The Hill Is Home blog wrote, it all started when Wilson was trying to find a way to get his 5-year-old daughter to school:

Wilson’s daughter attends a school twelve blocks from their home — too far to walk, but not far enough to drive. He noticed there were Capital Bikeshare bikes just around the corner from his house and right next to the nearest metro at the school. He knew the bikes could help him streamline their morning routine — and he could save quite a bit of time and even some money. After taking some measurements of the Capital Bikeshare bicycle, Wilson disappeared into his shop. He emerged several hours later with the first prototype.

After much testing and a few prototypes, Wilson has refined the design to the current model, which is made from recycled materials, weighs less than two pounds, and is suitable for children from age two and a half to age seven.

“I find I save about 30 minutes each morning and evening on pick-up and drop-off. I also save a significant amount of money, and I even get in a little exercise,” says Wilson.

This invention puts tens of thousands of bike-share bikes around the country at the service of parents and kids that, until now, haven’t had a safe and practical way to use them.

It’ll be interesting to see how Capital Bikeshare — and its legal team — responds to the invention.

Director Eric Gilliland sent the following comment to Streetsblog on June 2, after the publication of this story, saying Alta Bicycle Share has sent a cease and desist letter to the makers of the seat:

As some of your commentators have mentioned, the use of the Bicycled Capitol Hill Bikeseat is in violation of two sections of the Capital Bikeshare member agreement which prohibit attachments to the bicycle, as well as the use of the bicycle by more than one rider.

Through its attorneys, Alta Bicycle Share, the operator of Capital Bikeshare, has asked Bicycled LLC to cease and desist the production, promotion and sale of the child seat attachment. Alta has also requested Bicycled LLC contact all previous purchasers of the child seat to inform them that use of the attachment violates the terms of the Capital Bikeshare member agreement. Bicycled has yet to comply with our request.

Alta understands the desire for more flexibility in bike share programs and we remain committed to providing the best bike sharing systems possible. Toward this end we intend to work with the bicycle manufacturer, our insurance companies, and our clients to find bike share accessories that will help safely expand the use of bike share systems.

  • suspicious_package

    Technically, it is against CaBi rules to use something like this. But I’m not sure how much they care.

  • Mark

    I was wondering about that but couldn’t find their terms and conditions. Is it a damage concern or one of safety?

  • Joe Linton

    This is great! The video made me smile. I would just mention that the Chinese were there first! There are quite a few kid bike seats visible in the Hangzhou, including at 00:32 http://www.streetfilms.org/the-biggest-baddest-bike-share-in-the-world-hangzhou-china/

  • suspicious_package

    Probably safety.

  • Gunnar

    Hm, the place where the seat attaches (from what I can tell from the video) is generally a high-stress area on a bike frame. Now probably the frames are overbuilt enough for this not to be a problem in practive, but CaBi might think otherwise, for technical or legal reasons.

  • Hilda

    I know in NYC it is against the terms and agreement of Citibike, but I think the invention is wonderful, especially as it seems to be so inspiring for the kid.

    When my son was three, he was at school about a mile away, and I could ride him on my bike, but he completely preferred to ride his own wooden push bike on the sidewalk, and I would either ride near him, or walk next to him on the sidewalk. Then he could ride his wooden bike home, or his sitter could hang it over her shoulder and they would walk if she picked him up in the afternoon.

    When you put a little thought into it, there is always a way to make it work.

  • Clarke

    Section 12 d. Member must not carry a second person on a Capital Bikeshare bicycle. and h. Member must not dismantle or modify a Capital Bikeshare bicycle in any way. This rule does not apply to the use of the seat height adjustment feature on Capital Bikeshare bicycles.

    The agreement also bans wearing a backpack while riding and using the system when it is snowing.

  • Kevin Love

    I like it! There is just something about children and bikes that makes me so happy inside. Perhaps it is because I remember when I was a child cycling with my father.

    Here is my all-time favorite video:

  • Matthew Davie

    I’m amazed why a whole cottage industry hasn’t cropped up for these types of bike share accessories. Especially since the Bixi bikes make up a big percentage of the fleets in North America. Expansion of their potential user base with authorized (and safety tested) attachments seems like a no-brainer to me. Think: front/rear cargo trailers, kid seats, holsters for beverages/unbrellas, panniers, etc etc

  • Well, we all know how well-run Bixi was…

  • chris schilling

    I’m all for kids bike seats, having two myself (kids and bike seats that is), but this set up is extremely dangerous. If the child’s feet find their way to the wheel or spoke, the feet and ankles will be injured and the bike could flip over.

  • Clarence Eckerson

    I just posted this on Streetfilms FB site. I want this kid to be a reporter for Streetfilms! She’s a natural!

  • Dan M

    Dear Mr Gilliland:

    Instead of trying to kill innovation, how about trying to work with THAT manufacturer and try to bring the safest possible option to market soon?

    There is a need for carrying children on these bikes. Parents would likely be glad to pay a little extra for added insurance if needed (me included), and it could really open up large customer segments currently hermetically closed to urban bike initiatives.

    The goal is less cars in urban areas: this is a great way to do it. Not through lawyers, but through innovation and understanding your market.

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