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.