Bike transport by car: how to do it

A trip, even close to home, is enough to have the need to transport the bike with your car : are you organized, do you know how to do it? Don’t worry, we explain everything to you.

Bike transport by car: how to do it

Choosing to transport your two wheels “haphazardly”, perhaps tied to the roof rack, in addition to being dangerous for you and other road users, is a practice that breaks the law: the latter in fact provides for the use of bike racks external , on which mount it safely.

Obviously, if your bike is very small, or can be disassembled, you can easily carry it in the trunk; otherwise you will need this car accessory that can be freely applied to the car. In fact, no particular formalities are needed since it does not modify any technical characteristics and does not require updating the registration certificate.

On the market you will find various models, which differ from each other in the type of attachment to the car (roof or tailgate) and in the number of bicycles they carry. To assemble them correctly, however, there are rules to follow in order not to incur penalties, nor in accidents: here are what they are.

Gauge limits: bicycle rack rules

Even if it can be freely installed, remember that the use of the bike carrier requires compliance with specific rules of the Highway Code: the first rule concerns the maintenance of total visibility of the license plate , signaling and lighting devices .

The assembly of the bike carrier is also fundamental, as it must be carried out with care to ensure perfect anchoring to the bodywork: the risk that they can hook pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists is high, therefore the rules require that the bike carriers must necessarily fall within the limits of gauge and expected mass.

Specifically, the Code provides for these constraints:

  • prohibition of front longitudinal projection
  • maximum 30% longitudinal rear projection, to be indicated with the quadrangular panel with red and white diagonal stripes or with 2 panels on the sides
  • maximum 30 cm lateral projection from the outer edge of the position lights
  • maximum 4 meters of overall height (car + load)

Mass limits: bicycle carrier rules

As for the mass limits, remember that they are specific to each car: how to know them so as not to make mistakes? Read them directly on the registration certificate and add the tolerance of 5% , but keep in mind that usually with bicycles the problem of mass does not arise.

In fact, this is usually an aspect to check if you apply the bike carrier to the tow hook: in this case, pay attention to the permitted vertical load, which is also clearly indicated on the identification plate.

Even if the law does not expressly say so, remember to remove any type of removable accessory from the two wheels such as pump, multifunction computer, battery, etc., all possible dangers during travel.

Car bike rack sanctions

It is expressly forbidden to use the repeater plate if the bike carrier or the load conceals that of the car: this type of plate is in fact applicable only to appendage trolleys, or to trailers registered before February 20, 2013.

If, on the other hand, you attach the bike carrier to the tow hook equipped with an illuminated license plate holder, you can directly apply the rear license plate of the car. Also to avoid penalties and accidents, we advise you to remove the bike carrier when you are not transporting your two wheels .

Remember that for those who choose to transgress the fine will be 87 euros and -3 points on the license .

In short, taking your bike with you on vacation is a pleasure for the whole family, but always follow our advice for road safety: the last one is to compare yourself with your insurance to find out if the load (and you) are covered in case of an accident.


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