Using a car carrier?

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 17.

The government wants to find out about people’s experiences of using cycle carriers mounted on cars.

The Department of Trade and Industry thinks that there may be problems with bike carriers mounted on cars. There have apparently been a number of serious accidents – for example with the rear window against which some models of rack rest shattering when the car is travelling at high speed.

Therefore, they are looking at formulating a British Standard for these products. They would like to hear from users of them to find out their experiences. If you use a carrier like this, they would like to hear any anecdotal or first-hand evidence of problems (or, presumably, perfect happiness), and are inviting our comments on what a British Standard should entail. They do say that any replies will be treated in confidence.

The study is being conducted by a firm of private consultants. If you would like to make any comments, please write to: Laurence Clift, Ice Ergonomics, FREEPOST MID17459, Loughborough, LE11 0BR.

The circular also offers the following safety advice:

  • Ensure that the rack is correctly mounted, with securing straps located on solid structures (not aerofoils, spoilers etc.).
  • Ensure that the bikes are securely mounted on the rack – tether the retaining straps to the frame of the carrier, not to any padding.
  • Ensure that the carrier is not overloaded – cheaper mountain bikes can weigh a significant amount, especially if fitted with accessories, child seats etc.
  • Stop after a couple of miles and check the security of the straps. Repeat the checks on a routine basis if the journey is a long one.
  • Use a lighting board if the number plate or lights are even slightly obscured.
  • Modify your driving to account for the (relatively) unstable load attached to your car.

David Earl