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Carrying a Bike Behind your Car

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It is not uncommon to see cars carrying bicycles on cars, often on frames specifically designed for this purpose, but it is not always clear how the bike should be carried, and, more importantly, what additional signs or signals might be required.

There are two main points we must keep in mind when carrying a load at the rear of the vehicle, firstly, our lights and number plates must be clearly visible, and secondly, we must be conscious of whether the load, a bike in this case, protrudes from the rear and the sides of the vehicle. For other loads, we must also be conscious of whether it protrudes from the front, and the height, but on this instance, we are talking about carrying a bike at the rear of the vehicle.

So, the first thing to do is to buy a suitable carrying frame that will not only fit our bicycle, but must also securely fit to our vehicle. We must then attached additional lighting at the rear that replicates our vehicles own, rear lights, indicators, brake lights etc, and our number plate.

Once we have our frame secure, we must then consider the load itself, in this case our bike, and how it fits on the secured carrying frame.

In the case we are dealing with, which is that of passenger cars, depending on the width occupied by the load that protrudes from the rear, you may have to display one or two additional warning signs, the V-20.

The V-20 is a square panel (50 by 50 centimetres) with diagonal and alternating stripes of white and red.

If the transported object (our bicycle in this case) is less than the maximum width of the vehicle from the rear (including the rear-view mirrors), a single V-20 signal will be placed (at the end of the load and perpendicular to the axis of the vehicle).

If the transported load protrudes longitudinally occupying the entire width of the vehicle (including the rear-view mirrors), in other words, if our load is wider than the car, including the mirrors, the car will have to carry two V-20 signals in the rear, placed transversely at each end of the load in such a way that the red and white stripes form the geometry of an inverted “V”.

This provides important information to drivers approaching from the rear. If one sign is visible, drivers know that the load protrudes only to the rear. If two signs are visible, in the inverted “V” form, then approaching drivers know that not only does the load protrude from the rear but is also wider than the vehicle carrying it.

Use all the anchor points that the signal has in order to hold it in place, preferably using elastic belts or tensioners. The use of plastic clamps is not recommended. Hold the signal and the load tightly, as far from the wind as possible.

In terms of the load protruding from the rear, the regulations state that it may protrude 10% of the length of the vehicle if the load is divisible, whereas if the load is indivisible, it can exceed the length of the car by 15%.

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