How to carry your bike in the car safely and in compliance with the regulations.

28 November 2023

Let’s open a melon.

If you are a cyclotourism lover, you will know that sometimes you need to take your bike by car to start a route in a distant point.

It’s best when the road doesn’t start at your front door.

So that you don’t make a fuss, in this article you will discover:

  • Several ways to carry your bike in your car safely and in compliance with the regulations.
  • What the law says about taking your bike in the car and what fines you can be fined.

Let’s roll!

6 safe and legal ways to carry your bike in the car

These are the safest (and legal) ways to transport your bike by car.

#1 Carrying the bicycle inside the car

Carrying the bicycle inside the car is the easiest way if you don’t have a bicycle rack and you consider that it is not worth buying one because you will hardly use it.

If the car is large, you can put it in the trunk (folding down the seats if necessary).

However, there are some drawbacks to this system:

  • Sometimes one or both wheels have to be removed to fit.
  • You run out of trunk space for other things.
  • You can stain your car with grease or dirt.

#2 Using a tailgate bike rack

Depending on the model, this bike rack can carry between one and four bikes.

The good thing?

That it is economical and that you have room in the trunk to fit everything you need.

The downside?

That you need to disassemble it to open the trunk and doing so is a bit of a mess.

In addition, you can scratch the bodywork.

At the end of the post we indicate some considerations that you must take into account to comply with the law (among others, to carry the V-20 sign to mark the rear load).

#3 Bicycle carrier for trailer tow ball

Although it is more expensive than the previous method, it is more convenient because it allows you to open the trunk without unloading the bikes (and you can carry up to four).

Of course, you need to install a tow ball.

You must keep in mind that bikes cannot protrude more than 15% of the length of the car and you also need the V-20 sign.

Let’s go for more…

#4 Use a bicycle rack on the roof of the vehicle

This is the easiest and quickest to assemble.

In addition, you can use the trunk without any problem and carry everything you need.

The law is quite lax with this system; it only requires that it be securely fastened so that it does not fall.

But all that glitters is not gold, as it also has some drawbacks:

  • You can forget that you are carrying the bicycles and not take it into account in tunnels or parking lots. Watch out for that!
  • It is more uncomfortable to carry bicycles, especially if you are not a tall person.
  • It affects the aerodynamics of the vehicle, so you will consume more fuel.

Black car carrying bicycles on roof racks

#5 Bicycle carrier on trailer

If you have a trailer, you can also use it to carry your bicycles.

What are the advantages?

You can carry more bikes and also more cargo, useful if you also need tents or material for your routes.

What are the drawbacks?

If you do not have a trailer, it is a rather expensive alternative.

In addition, it will cost you more to park and maneuver than with a bike rack.

In this case, you must take into account the specific regulations for trailers.

#6 Integrated bicycle carrier

We have left the integrated bike rack for last because it is a rare species.

This system is integrated into the car, so it is quite convenient.

Why is it a rara avis?

Because currently only Opel offers this equipment with the FlexFix system.

If your car is of this brand, you are in luck!

Basic regulations you should know about taking your bike in the car

We know that the pocket is where it hurts the most.

Therefore, we want to tell you that you can be fined between 80 and 200 euros for not carrying your bicycle correctly.

If you carry rear bike racks or bike racks on the trailer tow ball, you should take this into account:

  • The bicycle carrier must not cover the license plate (if it does, you must carry an additional license plate and lights on the carrier).
  • Bicycles may not protrude from the sides (if it does, one or both wheels must be removed).
  • You must use the V-20 sign to indicate that you are carrying rear cargo. It is the one you see below.

Red and white V-20 sign required to indicate that a bicycle is carried in the car at the rear of the vehicle

In all cases, bicycles must always be securely fastened to the bike rack or trailer (you can fasten them with tie-down straps, turnbuckles or pulleys).

And in the trunk too!

In addition to being securely fastened to fixed parts of the car, they must not impede visibility or hinder the mobility of the occupants.

That said, you are now ready for a good cyclotourism route.

Discover here some of the organized trips we offer you.

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