How to Carry Your Bike Safely and Legally

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

If you’ve bought a bike and want to cycle to work, or just outside of the usual neighbourhood streets, you can hitch your pushie to your car and find a bike path.

But what are the rules around carrying your bike on your car?

There are a couple of ways to get your bike onto your car.

The quickest and easiest way is to throw your bike in the back of your car – but if you’ve got a smaller car, have to carry passengers or more than one bike it’s not really practical. Plus, it’s not a good idea to have wheels and handlebars blocking your view out of the rear window – so it’s really only recommended if you’ve got a large car with enough space for the bike to lay relatively flat and secure.

If you can’t put your bike in the back, you’ll have to buy a bike rack to hang your bikes on the outside of your car. The two options are to have your bikes on the roof or locked to a bike rack on the tailgate.

On the roof

Mounting your bike on the roof is the most convenient way for some people, especially riders who have lightweight racing bikes. On the plus side, securing your bike on the roof of your car doesn’t get in the way of any doors and is often more secure because it’s not as accessible for would be thieves looking for a quick snatch and grab.

But, if you have a heavy off-road mountain bike, or aren’t particularly tall or flexible enough to lift a bike over your head – then roof racks may not be for you. They also change the way your car handles, if a strong wind buffets the side of your car – the bike will create a bigger surface for the wind to hit. This means you’ll have to change your approach to handling corners and manoeuvring your car in general. Some roof-mounted racks will make you remove the front wheel and attach the bike by the front fork, which makes it difficult if you don’t have a quick release for the wheel.

You also have to have roof racks fitted, and then fit a bike rack onto those – which, if you don’t have either, can start to get costly. However, once you’ve fitted them – it’s easy to legally carry a bike on your car’s roof – as long as they’re properly secured, you’re good to go. If you’re buying a new car, you might be even able to option a bike rack as a genuine accessory.

On the tailgate

A bike rack on the tailgate is seen as the easier option – with two ways of hitching your bike onto the back of your car.

The first option is to buy a bike rack that attaches with straps to the boot, this is the easiest option for people who just want to get out and ride. The problem with this system is that it’s not as secure; with limited options to make sure your bike doesn’t get stolen.

The other route is to mount a bike rack to your tow ball – these are safer to leave your bike on them, because they usually have more sophisticated locking systems, but the main obstacle is obviously that you need to have a car already set up for towing, which most smaller cars aren’t.

The main drawback of mounting a bike to the back of your car is that it limits your options to get into the boot – especially if you choose a back rack that is strapped to your car, rather than mounted on the tow ball. Either option is easier than fitting roof racks, and as long as they’re secured, it’s perfectly legal to fit several bikes onto a rear-mounted rack – but if your bike covers your number plate, you will have to buy an accessory plate from Personalised Plates.

The team at Motorama can help you fit your bike rack onto your new car, and a couple of our avid cyclers might even share the best tracks around Brisbane to head on two wheels. If you’re serious about cycling, the team can even fit out your new car with genuine accessory bike racks, so all you have to do is hitch your ride up and find your next trail.