Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Official statement on HB 2228 from Rep. Greenlick

Posted by on January 13th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Below is the official statement on HB 2228 that Rep. Mitch Greenlick is sending out to people who’ve contacted him about the bill. The statement was preceeded by a form email from Greenlick’s Legislative Assistant Justin Freeman:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about HB 2228. Our goal in introducing this legislation was to start a conversation about the safety of children when riding as passengers on bicycles and we welcome and encourage any input from the community that furthers that conversation. Attached is a statement from Rep. Greenlick that will hopefully address some of your concerns.

And here’s the statement by Rep. Greenlick on HB 2228

I have spent my life as a health researcher. During the 1990s I was professor and chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. I have been a member of the Oregon House of Representatives since 2003 and currently co-chair the House Health Care Committee. As a health researcher and as a legislator I have pushed hard to improve the health and safety of our citizens, including promoting measures (such as safe-routes to schools) that increase the opportunity for safe bicycling in Oregon. I introduced HB 2228 because I am not convinced that we are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of young children who join their parents bicycling on the streets and roads of Oregon.

Researchers at OHSU recently completed a study of serious riders, those who bike to work on a regular basis. The study found that, on average, about 30% of those riders suffer a traumatic injury each year and that about 8% of those riders suffer an injury serious enough to require medical attention. I was not able to resist asking myself what would have happened to a young child strapped into a seat on the bike when the rider suffered that serious traumatic injury. The study clearly leads us to work to reduce the environmental hazards that make those injuries more likely. But when I began looking for data on the safety of young children on bikes, it is clear that data are simply not available.

My children were born in the late 1950s. Back then we would put the three kids in the back of a station wagon and let them bounce freely around the car while we traveled the country. It never occurred to us that we were putting them in danger. The cars did not even have safety belts in those days. We have learned that this is not a safe way to transport kids. We now require safety belts, safe car-seats for infants, and we exclude small kids from the front seats of cars with air-bags. Consequently, we have dramatically reduced auto crash fatality-rates for children over the decades. By the same token I do not believe there is a parent in Oregon who would want to risk the safety of their young children if they really believed it was risky to put them on a bicycle.

I introduced HB 2228 to begin what I hope will be a rational discussion to assure we were doing everything possible to improve the safety of bicycle transportation in Oregon. This bill is not an anti-cycling bill. In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children. There is so much we don’t know about this topic. I hope this process will reduce the heat in the debate and increase the light.

I urge the bicycling community to be patient and to engage the process calmly and productively if the bill gets a hearing in a house committee, as I hope it will. Let’s try to keep the discourse civil and trust we all want to do what is best for the children of Oregon.

Read our full coverage of this bill here.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • todd January 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Please note that this self-described researcher repeatedly misquotes the OHSU study as showing a 30% “traumatic injury” rate per year among commuters without kids on the bike. The study cites a 20% rate. This is not a small difference. Furthermore, as Mia Birk patiently explains, the study is misleading and wholly irrelevant to the proposed new illegal parenting activity.

    It is not at all reassuring, but rather alarming, that Mr. Greenlick touts his academic credentials so prominently in advancing a process so lacking in rational basis that small children can spot its errors.

    It is furthermore galling to be exhorted to “civil discourse” by a legislator so frighteningly confident of his faculties that he does not see fit to address his many eloquent critics in advance of it proceeding to a house committee hearing. There was no debate, civil or otherwise, before Mr. Greenlick proposed to criminalize this activity for which he himself admits no evidence exists showing significant harm. It is not civil to create controversy where none existed, least of all threatening to wield the full power of the state in its “resolution.”

    Mr. Greenlick is 75. He has undergone treatment for cancer recently. In light of his baffling behavior around this bill, I would like to start a civil debate about whether he is mentally competent to hold office. I propose he be removed. Everybody remain calm. We all want what’s best for our honored senior citizens.

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  • El Biciclero January 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    “In fact, it is a pro-cycling bill that will focus on creating a safe cycling experience for Oregon’s children.”

    It takes very little reasoning capacity to reach the conclusion that any activity in which one doesn’t participate cannot harm one. I’ve never been injured skydiving because I’ve never done it!

    Given the text of the proposed bill, this quote should read:
    “In fact, it is a pro-motoring bill that will focus on eliminating the cycling experience for Oregon’s children.”

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  • q`Tzal January 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind

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  • Allan Folz January 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Ahh, gotta love the irony, “I introduced HB 2228 to begin what I hope will be a rational discussion…”

    So he proposes an *irrational* bill, which he justifies with flagrant logical fallacy of appeal to authority (his) and false dilemma, and we are supposed to remain patient, calm, and rational.

    Arrogance, thy name is Greenlick.

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  • Will Lockmiller January 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    We need to BOMBARD Greenlick’s email with our disgust. I’m actually a Washingtonian, and I still feel threatened and angry about his proposed legislation to a degree I rarely experience. Todd said it: His judgment is unsound, and he needs to be removed from office. Go get him, Oregonians.

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  • Steve January 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Prohibiting travel by the innocent and harmless in response to potential dangers from the lawless is turning 100+ years of traffic law on its head. It’s hard to think of a more blatent misunderstanding of the legitimate purpose of government than the thinking behind this bill.

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  • wsbob January 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I believe Rep. Greenlick’s intentions, as indicated in his official statement, are good despite the current text of HB 2228, which would seek to prohibit carrying kids age 6 and under by bike or bike trailer.

    Quite a few people seem to have taken great delight in the opportunity Greenlick’s sponsorship of this bill proposal has given them to make smart cracks and various other pot shots at the representative. I wonder though, if those that casting the insults really believe he would actually pursue this bill proposal, as it currently reads, to become law.

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  • Patrick Logan January 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I have participated in the ASTM committee work with safety standards on bicycles for 16 years. I have worked on ASTMs Bicycle Trailer standard F1975. My career has been design testing bicycles and bicycle accessories as well as the investigation of bicycle accidents.

    That being said, trailers have an amazing safety record, since they became popular in the 1980s. The companies that make them, the bike dealers who sell them, and the consumers who use them can all attest. For many families these are for transportation, not just recreation.

    If there is to be a discussion on transportation safety, it should not single out bicycles; and especially not single out Bicycle trailers. Any time someone argues safety by saying “what if”, it is a clear indication that the facts are not clear.

    The victims of such misstatements are the families that rely on them for transportation needs and the small businesses across Oregon (who sell and service bicycles and bike trailers). I would think that this time would be better spent on things that might actually help the economy.

    It is easy to see this as anti-bicycle when a specific segment of the bicycle market is negatively singled out. So have a discussion on safety, but please use actual data to determine the specific issues to address.

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  • M. Jane January 14, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Greenlick: my father made us wear seat belts long before the seatbelt law and I know that the parents who are pulling their children are as careful as my father was with us, if not more so. More legislation is not what the citizens of ORegon are asking for. We currently don’t have the police force to enforce the health and safety laws already on the books (i.e. speed limits, cell phone use by drivers etc).

    In regards to creating discourse, it is counterproductive and in many cases bringing yet another arena for the anti-biker vitriol. If the intent was to truly bring about safety, try limiting the freedoms of those who actually cause the severity in bicycle accidents, the auto driver or providing mandatory funding for more separated bike paths.

    With this bill’s kind of logic, biking with or without a trailer will be ruled out eventually…

    This nonsense, in this day and age is not wanted by either side of the aisle.

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