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Old 19.06.2016, 00:58
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Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

Hi all,

Can anyone point me in the direction of the official word on visibility of number plates and lights?

In the UK for a bike rack I would need some kind of light board - but it doesn't seem to be something I have come across here...

Anyone have any info? I can't imagine having the lights and plate partially obscured is ok here?

Cheers!
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Old 19.06.2016, 12:21
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

A bike rack is not allowed to obscure the lights or number plate but it seems the ones that do come with a lightboard and number plate holder by design.
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Old 19.06.2016, 19:51
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

Thanks, figured that was the case.

Our car lacks a towbar, and although I thought I had found the solution:

https://www.galaxus.ch/en/s3/product/hollywood-racks-f4-b-bike-racks-315609?tagIds=344-247-249


It will cover the lights and plate. And a lightboard isn't going to work, as due to the lack of towbar, we don't have any electrics either...

Another option is this:

https://www.thule.com/en/gb/bike-rack/trunk-bike-racks/thule-backpac-973-_-973002


Which looks good - it mounts the bikes high, so that the plate and lights aren't obscured...except I don't think it is up to the job of carrying an ebike which weights about 25kg...
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Old 19.06.2016, 20:27
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

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Thanks, figured that was the case.

Our car lacks a towbar, and although I thought I had found the solution:

https://www.galaxus.ch/en/s3/product/hollywood-racks-f4-b-bike-racks-315609?tagIds=344-247-249


It will cover the lights and plate. And a lightboard isn't going to work, as due to the lack of towbar, we don't have any electrics either...

Another option is this:

https://www.thule.com/en/gb/bike-rack/trunk-bike-racks/thule-backpac-973-_-973002


Which looks good - it mounts the bikes high, so that the plate and lights aren't obscured...except I don't think it is up to the job of carrying an ebike which weights about 25kg...
They mention in the specs that it will not work with an e-bike.

They do have some models for e-bikes but you need a trailer hitch.
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Old 20.06.2016, 00:49
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

I believe that the "not for ebikes" thing is just that ebikes are generally heavier than normal bikes (around the 20kg mark, with battery) - they aren't that fundamentally different. Most bike racks have a per-bike limit (usually 15 - 20 kg) and a total limit (say 60kg)

It is possible to remove the battery on most - then the eBike is just a fairly heavy bike that should be ok for the weight limit.

Towbar isn't really an option - i'd be looking at 1500 chf all in (inc. towbar fitting, the carrier etc), which is bit much for moving 2 bikes once or twice per year...
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Old 30.04.2017, 00:51
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

Did you find a solution ?
I'm in same situation now
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Old 30.04.2017, 06:35
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

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A bike rack is not allowed to obscure the lights or number plate but it seems the ones that do come with a lightboard and number plate holder by design.
Don't trust the manufacturers on this. Even Thule can't get it right for a popular car model in its home country. It's definitely worth confirming with the shop or supplier that the rack is *fully* compatible with your car.

Not having a towbar, I bought a Thule BackPac together with the recommended adapter kit for mounting it on the tailgate of my Volvo V70. It did a good job of keeping the number plate visible but the car's high-mounted tail lights were totally obscured by the bikes' wheels and tyres. Even the third brake light was blocked.

Not only that, but with more than one bike on it the rack would shift alarmingly when cornering as it only has mounts and straps at top and bottom. However this was easily cured with a couple of side straps cannibalised from a cheapo rack.

Being a bit of an "in for a penny, in for a pound" type of guy and having too much time on my hands (and too lazy to argue for a return of the rack), I bought a Thule lightboard, an extra third brake light and a towbar wiring kit which is specific to the car. I built a triangular frame to hold the lights on the bike rack. The wiring kit plugs into the car's rear fuse box and ends in a standard towbar electrical socket. As I don't have a towbar, the socket lives in the boot/trunk and is connected to the lightboard arrangement when needed.

I wouldn't recommend this approach as although it was a fun problem to solve, it turned out to be much more long-winded than expected and requires some familiarity with car wiring.

If carrying more bikes or heavier ones I would probably invest in a full towbar setup - installed and connected by certified mechanics - and a towbar-mounted rack. A recent issue of K-Tipp suggested that as the best option for carrying e-bikes. I had such an arrangement with a previous car and Thule rack and it worked fine, apart from the Thule clamp scratching the living daylights out of the towball neck. Hopefully they've fixed that issue in newer models.
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Old 30.04.2017, 10:14
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

Use a roofrack with a pivot bike holder to help lift the heavy eBike onto the roof

OR

Ship the eBike via SBB in advance to your destination


I have a Volvo as well but mine had a factory removable towbar and so I bought a Thule towbar bike holder. Which has lights and numberplate holder. Works perfectly.
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Old 30.04.2017, 10:54
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

May want to view this before going shopping: https://www.tcs.ch/de/testberichte-r...elotraeger.php
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Old 02.05.2017, 12:58
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Re: Bike rack legality - lights, plate, etc

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Did you find a solution ?
I'm in same situation now
The lights are usually obscured by the bike wheels... easy solution is to remove the wheels and put them in the boot.

For e-bikes, weight is usually the problem. If you can remove the battery and wheels, then weight may drop below 20kg and you are good to go.

For the plates, it is a bit tricky as it will usually be obscured by the bike frame. If the rack doesn't come with an accessory to hold the plate, then this is something for the DIY-crowd. Plate holders are available in most local hardware store, you just need to find a way to 'fasten' it to the rack.
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