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Old 11.04.2017, 23:10
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Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

Hello all!

Yet another long-time lurker emerges As a quick introduction: we are a family with 2 little kids who moved to Switzerland about 2 years ago and we still find it great despite lack of fresh snow _every_ weekend and occasional 3-minute train delays

Preparing ourselves for the change of seasons I'm trying to find some info regarding legal aspects of electric bikes transportation: are there any laws which prohibit carrying ebikes on the car roof rails?

I've got an ebike which listed weight is about 24kg, but having stripped it of the battery and pannier rack it comes just under 20kg, making it suitable for the Thule ProRide roof rack. So technically it's all within manufacturer's weight limits. The ebike does not need registration/number plate (according to the shop who sold it..) and has a maximum supported speed of 25km/h, if that's relevant.

The closest source I found is this page: http://www.bfu.ch/de/ratgeber/ratgeb...ofahrrad-recht, but it does not say anything specifically about transportation and my google-fu in German is not strong enough yet.

Any experience/info about this? My worries mainly are zillion-CHF fine from the police in a bad case and/or void car accident insurance in a worst case.

Thanks a lot in advance.

PS: I would not want to fit the bike inside the car and I did consider the towbar option, but given the occasional need I'm not convinced on the cost+need to mount/unmount the trailer itself... So I'm fine with rare lifting of 20kg to the car roof.
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Old 11.04.2017, 23:15
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

As the weight is within limits, I think the only thing you need to worry about is if the load extends beyond the car body.
The load needs to be secured well.
The Italian police used to be very hot on things sticking out the back of cars, as it requires a large diamond shaped warning board, and a light at night!

If you are travelling at Easter, why not ask the missus to pedal the bike to your destination? She will get there before you do.
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Old 13.04.2017, 11:29
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

Check the length, but in my experience this is usually not a problem with most car makes.

For a 20kg bike, I would recommend a 2nd person help you put on and off the bike, not just to lift but also keep the bike stable while you strap all the fixings. You wouldn't want to scratch/dent your roof in case the bike topples over. As you gain experience, maybe this becomes a one-person job. Last but not the least, NEVER EVER forget that you have the bike on the roof, else it will get expensive quickly.

My experience is: I need to transport 4 bikes (2 adults, 2 kids). I had 3 on the roof and 1 inside the car. The initial plan was we do this 'occasionally' and I didn't want to invest too much. However, the kids liked biking as a family that we got limited by my dislike of mounting on/off. We have an SUV (high roof) so even more difficult. I finally decided to invest in a towbar and bike carrier. I justified the cost by thinking that this will be cheaper than paying a doctor/physio in case I knacker my back in the future.
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Old 13.04.2017, 11:41
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

This driver tried, and managed to exceed the weight limit by a mere 400 Kgs:



and more: http://www.20min.ch/schweiz/zentrals...-Dach-15985599
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:15
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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Check the length, but in my experience this is usually not a problem with most car makes.

My experience is: I need to transport 4 bikes (2 adults, 2 kids). I had 3 on the roof and 1 inside the car. The initial plan was we do this 'occasionally' and I didn't want to invest too much. However, the kids liked biking as a family that we got limited by my dislike of mounting on/off. We have an SUV (high roof) so even more difficult. I finally decided to invest in a towbar and bike carrier. I justified the cost by thinking that this will be cheaper than paying a doctor/physio in case I knacker my back in the future.
Thanks a lot for the comment, I'm in a similar situation (but not exactly as it's 1 child bike + 1 foldable trailer for another couple of years )
As for mounting, I did try to put it on the roof - tricky, but manageable. If this becomes too annoying my plan is to DYI (or buy) some kind of foldable ramp like this. That would also help with 2nd (non-electric) bike too
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:19
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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This driver tried, and managed to exceed the weight limit by a mere 400 Kgs:
Exactly, I do not want to be in the news for a similar reason ;-)
So all weight limits (built-in roof rails, crossbars, bike racks) are duly checked and obeyed :-) What's not clear is the legal aspect..
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:31
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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Exactly, I do not want to be in the news for a similar reason ;-)
So all weight limits (built-in roof rails, crossbars, bike racks) are duly checked and obeyed :-) What's not clear is the legal aspect..
Is there any particular reason why you think an electric bike would be legally different to a 'normal' bike being transported on a roof rack?

If the weight doesn't exceed the permited allowed load and it doesn't protrude beyond the car's body area then you should be fine; presuming that it's secured properly... which would be the case with anything else transported this way.
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:47
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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Is there any particular reason why you think an electric bike would be legally different to a 'normal' bike being transported on a roof rack?
What made me think twice about this are recent (2012) changes to the Road Code / VTS (Verordnung über die technischen Anforderungen an Strassenfahrzeuge) where there were specific regulations added regarding the use of e-bikes (ie usage of helmets, mandatory number plates for faster variations, etc).
So 100% there are some law aspects for e-bikes - but I could not find any restrictions regarding the transportation of them.

Maybe I am indeed overthinking the issue. The Internet in general is usually very good in telling someone if something is not allowed - so if noone was able to find such restrictions yet, probably they do not exist
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:49
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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Thanks a lot for the comment, I'm in a similar situation (but not exactly as it's 1 child bike + 1 foldable trailer for another couple of years )
The foldable trailer you have, is it for kids or only loads? Do you mind sharing me which model/make you have? Thanks.
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Old 13.04.2017, 12:57
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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The foldable trailer you have, is it for kids or only loads? Do you mind sharing me which model/make you have? Thanks.
It is 'Thule Croozer Kid For 1' - it collapses like so. Search for its manual on the Internet - it shows in good detail how it folds.
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Old 13.04.2017, 13:03
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

You might want to remove the battery from the E-Bike, and keep it inside the car: if it falls out it is an expensive loss. If you remove the pedal underneath the bike it will lay on the roof better, and on top of thick cardboard it will protect the roof paint.

My neighbour parked his car with a bike on the roof in Italy. When he came back someone had stolen the saddle....
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Old 13.04.2017, 13:11
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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You might want to remove the battery from the E-Bike, and keep it inside the car: if it falls out it is an expensive loss. If you remove the pedal underneath the bike it will lay on the roof better, and on top of thick cardboard it will protect the roof paint.

My neighbour parked his car with a bike on the roof in Italy. When he came back someone had stolen the saddle....
Thanks, it is indeed advised to remove both battery and the control unit.
And no, we're not going to Italy / anywhere through Gotthard this Easter The timing of the post is coincidental
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Old 13.04.2017, 13:39
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

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What made me think twice about this are recent (2012) changes to the Road Code / VTS (Verordnung über die technischen Anforderungen an Strassenfahrzeuge) where there were specific regulations added regarding the use of e-bikes (ie usage of helmets, mandatory number plates for faster variations, etc).
So 100% there are some law aspects for e-bikes - but I could not find any restrictions regarding the transportation of them.

Maybe I am indeed overthinking the issue. The Internet in general is usually very good in telling someone if something is not allowed - so if noone was able to find such restrictions yet, probably they do not exist
The quickest way to find out might be to either check with your car insurance people, or pop into a nearby copshop and simply ask!
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Old 16.04.2017, 16:32
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Re: Electric-bike on car roof racks - is it allowed?

I have an SUV and roof racks with bike holders.
I also have a removable towbar and a towbar mounted bike rack

The towbar mounted rack is SOOO good that I've never had a bike on the roof

And lifting my 13kg Mountain Bike above my head to put on the roof is like a gym workout (I am a cyclist with skinny arms)

So my recommendations: towbar mounted bike carriers are the best way to go
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