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I am guessing more than the weather, this is because the trailer was attached to a moped (not a bicycle).  

Agreed. I'd also question hooking up a bike trailer to a moped. I can totally see why they are charged with child neglect. 

Mopeds can't go over 30 mph.

A tandem pulling a trailer could probably average 15 mph and certainly exceed 30 mph on a good downhill.

It was down to a tropical depression before landfall and travel advisories are lifted.  Flooding is still a concern.

I'm a little confused by your post and this response. Are you saying that "child neglect" is a questionable charge because a "moped can't go over 30 mph"? 

While you "could" go 30 mph on a tandem downhill, I'd think that most parents would be reluctant to do this with an infant in a trailer behind the tandem. Also a 30 mph accident is going to have 4 times the impact of a 15 mph accident. 

Additionally, the trailer was hooked up incorrectly and in an unsafe manner to a vehicle that it was not intended for. 

Combined with a tropical depression and flooding concerns, there is a clear case against the parents. 

I agree.  Extremely irresponsible.

Mike, so are you saying what they did was OK?  Would you actually ride a tandem bike downhill at 30 mph with a seven-month old baby attached like this?  

Mopeds have exhaust fumes.

Pic of the actual trailer and the back of the "moped."

 

http://www.wyff4.com/image/view/-/32987572/medRes/3/-/maxh/358/maxw...

 

Also:

"During an investigation, the officer saw that a one-inch nylon strap went from the trailer around the axle of the moped. Officials say the strap was attached to the trailer with a screw and a washer, and the strap was torn through the screw and washer area of the strap. In addition, one of the wheels on the trailer was flat, the report states, and police did not see reflectors on the rear of the trailer."

 

http://www.wyff4.com/news/two-arrested-for-hauling-baby-on-trailer-...

I kind of hate to say it, because maybe it's just some weird acne, but my immediate impression of dad was exactly the same as yours.

Putting the strap around the axle is a very bad choice due to the wear.  A solid connection to a solid frame point is what they should have.

3 (or 4) wheel I would call an ATV.  Moped would be like a Vespa and under 30 mph.  Illinois law does require Mopeds and ATVs to meet vehicle requirements, have a title, plate, and insurance before using on the road.  Motorized bicycles with two working pedals do not.

For something like lumber protruding out from a truck bed or trailer, you only need a red flag.  The red cloth the trailer is covered in should qualify.  Reflectors, or reflecting strip on the trailer would be recommended for night.  The white vertical strips on the front corners seem adequate, I would assume the same exists on the rear.

You have to flag an oversized (long) load and do not need to light it but you can also only move an oversized load during daylight hours.

The rules of being able to flag an oversized load only apply to loads ON a vehicle or trailer, not to an actual trailer.  If you want a LEGAL road going trailer based on motor vehicle laws in IL you would need to have running, brake and signal lights.  There are no specific laws for  bicycle trailers, but logic would dictate that they need the same rear facing reflectors a bicycle is required by law to have.

I am not sure what your point here is, do you think what they were doing was OK?

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