Are Car Bike Racks Legal? [Safe Ways to Secure Them To Your Car]
Are you planning a long trip? Do you want to carry your bikes too? Purchasing a bike rack that can solve your problem. Your trip can be greatly enhanced when you have bikes to ride around. It’s fun and good exercise.
It’s legal to use a bike rack in most states, yet your license plate needs to be clearly visible. That means you may need to display your license plate somewhere else in or on the back of your car because many bike racks obscure license plates.
The safest way to secure a bike rack is usually on a car hitch, yet trunk bike racks can also be fairly secure. Truck rack systems can also be very secure, and roof-mounted systems are best for license plate visibility.
Consider which kind of vehicle you have, the types of bikes to be transported, and the number of bikes will help you decide which bike rack you may want.
Also, consider how many times in a year you are using the bike rack. The ease of use of some bike racks is much better than others.
Driving With A Bike Rack – Legal Precautions
If you go to bicycleuniverse.com you can find a list of what each state law is regarding what is expected for license plate visibility.
Police officers probably won’t care too much, in my opinion, if you have a bike rack on your car, but if you breaking traffic laws and have your license plate covered by a bike rack, that could draw even more attention to you. They are likely to ticket you for both traffic and license plate violations.
So, it’s best to drive at the speed limit and cautiously around other cars since your bikes will be sticking out from the back of your car and likely a bit on the sides as well.
Safety With Your Bike Rack
To safely drive with your bike rack you need to secure the rack to the car correctly and the bikes to the bike rack.
Make sure you follow all of the directions and don’t skip on any of the steps or you might find your bike falling off of your car or worse, causing an accident.
I know that mounting a racking system can sometimes be time-intensive, and that’s why an easily installed rack will go a long way toward reducing frustrations. I recommend a hitch bike rack or another system that only has a few steps.
When roof mounting, you’ll need to be more aware of any low hanging trees, garages, or other structures. When rear mounting your bike be aware of cars to either side and make sure you give yourself extra room when making turns.
What Factors Should You Consider before Selecting the Right Bike Rack?
Following are the factors you should consider before purchasing a perfect bike rack for yourself:
- Distance and the frequency of using bike racks.
- The kind of vehicle you have to attach the bike rack with.
- Kind of bikes that have to be accommodated on the rack.
- Way to carry bikes- The style of carrying bikes- on top of the vehicle, at the back, or attached to the receiver hitch.
- Any other luggage or sporting equipment to be carried.
- The style and size of the bike also play a very important role when selecting the bike rack.
- The feature of the rack allows easy fitting into the vehicle and load bikes.
- It must hold the bikes safely and tightly. It must have a locking system.
- Storage space- The number of bikes it can store.
Car Bike Racks
1. Swagman XC Cross-Country 2-Bike Hitch Mount Rack
This bike carrier provides an easy and convenient way to transport bikes. It provides a stable and safe ride on bikes. The adjustable cushioned hooks get fit to different-sized bikes. The frame gripped arms protect the bike. The rack can be folded for easy storage. This rack comes with a built-in anti-wobble hitch device.
- It carries two bikes
- The maximum load capacity is 35 lbs. per bike.
- It is compatible with one ¼ and 2-inch receiver hitch. It takes a few minutes to assemble.
- The ratchet arms can be adjusted to accommodate different-sized bikes. It can carry a bike frame of up to 59 cm.
- It is a lightweight, well-designed and reliable carrier.
- It is very easy to put together and load your bikes.
- The grip of the carrier is very strong. It carries the bike safely without any bounce.
- The most important feature is that it is very strong, sturdy, and high-quality.
- It only takes five minutes to install and remove the carrier from your vehicle.
2. Allen Sports Deluxe 4-Bike Hitch Mount Rack with 2-Inch Receiver
You can carry your bicycle safely. It gets fit onto the vehicle with a 2-inch trailer hitch. It is very easy to operate. An Allen sport deluxe is made from high-quality steel. It has a durable and long-lasting black powder finish. It is having a lifetime warranty by Allen.
- It can hold four bikes.
- It has 22-inch long carry arms.
- It safely secures individual bikes with a patented tie-down system.
- The rack gets assembled and installed in less than five minutes.
- It has individual bike cradles.
- The rack is very light in weight and gets folded for easy storage.
- It has a solid construction and is very sturdy.
- The tension bolt efficiently stops the bike rack from rattling inside the hitch.
- There are adequate required straps and buckles to keep your bikes secure.
3. Yakima Products Ridge Back Hitch Bike Rack
This is a hitch-mounted bike rack that can accommodate 4-5 bikes at a time. You can mount heavy bikes, light bikes, big bikes, or small bikes. While on the go, your bikes are safe and secure. It has a convenient locking system that protects your bike from falling.
- It comes with a lock-free speed knob for easy and quick installation.
- It fits 1.25 and 2-inch hitch receiver
- The service provider is providing you with a lifetime warranty.
- The upper-hand lever tilts the rack down for easy vehicle access.
- It easily gets folded for easy storage.
- It has Zip Strips that secure bikes to the rack.
- Zip Strips are easily removable. Anti-sway cradles eliminate contact between two bikes.
- The hitch mount comes with a locking system. It is easy to use a locking mechanism to protect your bike from stealing.
- Operation levers are situated at the top. You are not required to bend for operating the carrier.
- The carrier can be tilted for easy access to the trunk.
- The rack is made from high-quality material.
- This carrier comes with plastic clips. It is long-lasting and easy to use.
4. Pro-Series 63124 Eclipse Black 2-Inch Sq. 4 Bike Carrier
This trendy bike carrier has a strong tower design. It can be folded for easy and convenient storage. It comes with a rear reflector as an additional feature of security. Enjoy your ride while carrying bikes with your vehicle. It can carry four different size bikes simultaneously. The most important feature is that it is high-quality and easy to use. There is no wiggle with the screws in the bolt.
- It has the tilt feature so that the trunk can be accessed easily.
- Hoop and loop straps allow quick and easy loading and unloading of bikes.
- Soft rubber cradles protect the bikes.
- This bike carrier is good-looking and long-lasting.
- It is a strongly constructed bike carrier.
- It has an excellent pivot function.
- Very easy to mount bikes
- You can fit adult and kids’ bikes very easily
- It is easy to install and remove from the vehicle.
5. Hollywood Racks Express Trunk Mounted Bike Rack
It is economical and accommodates three bikes. It gets fits to almost all the vehicles. It has adjustable tubs and four attachment straps. Soft rubber cradles protect the bike finish. It is pre-assembled and can be folded for easy storage. It has a user-friendly hub adjustment system. It is equipped with a tie-down strap for additional security on the roads. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- It is easily adjustable. It will not damage your vehicle while on the move.
- It can accommodate 2-3 bikes.
- It is pre-assembled.
- It is folded flat. It takes minimal space for its storage.
- Adjustable hubs and straps for ensuring a secure fit.
- It is light in weight and easy to handle.
- Strong straps that hold your bikes tightly. It prevents your bikes from falling.
- Unloading bikes and detaching the rack takes less than five minutes.
- You can drive a longer distance. The bikes remain safe.
- The rack is very well- build and strong.
What are the Different Types of Bike Racks available in the Market?
We are discussing the features of the various types of bike racks. Select the best bike racks according to your requirement.
1. Roof Racks
- If you own a truck, van, or SUV with a high roof, then think twice before buying a roof rack. In this kind of model, you are required to lift your bike and keep it on your vehicle.
- If you can lift bikes, you can carry only two bikes. The center of the crossbar is out of reach for storing two bikes.
- Roof models are good options if you have vehicles that are lower to the ground.
- Crossbars can be used to carry other stuff. You can carry skis, cargo boxes, and surfboards along with the bikes.
- If you have crossbars on your vehicle, then select compatible roof types.
- Buy crossbars or horizontal rails if they are not present on your vehicle.
- Roof racks are easy to install and are not required to take off.
- Roof racks are versatile to use.
- No visual obstruction to the driver while driving.
2. Hitch Mount Racks
Hitch-mount racks are a good choice. There are two types of hitch-mounted racks.
- A tray-style hitch mount: These trays support the bikes in a tray. They provide security by clamping the front wheels. They are easy to load and carry on any bike. It can hold the heaviest to lightest bikes.
- Arm support hitch mount: This style has a low loading height. The point of attachment and arm does not fit mountain or unusual frame bikes.
- Hitch-mounted bike racks protect your bikes from air and bugs.
- Locks are provided with hitch racks.
- Some of the bike racks are not accessible to the rear of the vehicle.
- Some vehicles have insufficient rear suspension and are not able to sustain extra weight.
- It increases the length of the vehicle; you can face parking issues.
3. Trunk Mount
- They require minimal effort in installation.
- It provides a quick and economical way to accommodate your bikes.
- Trunks are light in weight. It can be used in various compatible vehicles.
- Nylon straps or hooked cables are used to tie them to the vehicle.
- It is an extremely secure system that prevents your bikes from theft.
- They are easy to install and removed.
- Bikes rest on support arms that come with cradles.
- Bikes are secured by straps that are made from neoprene rubber.
- Excellent locking mechanisms.
- They can be folded for easy storage.
- They are made from high-quality stainless- steel.
- The design limits heavy bikes.
4. Spare Tire Racks
- Some racks can get fit on vehicles that are equipped with rear-mounted spare tires.
- These racks are light in weight and compact.
- They can carry only two bikes, and the cover of the tire has to be removed.
- It has a simple installation
- It is difficult to lock the bikes.
- Bikes can obstruct license plates or the driver’s rear view.
5. Truck Racks
These racks are tailgate bike pads that are specially designed to transform the bed of a truck. Temporary installation of internal rails or support bars is done.
- It can transport up to 6 bikes and has pockets for tools and other items..
- It can fit securely on your tailgate and comes with the option to lock the pad and bike down.
- It temporarily attaches to your vehicle using straps that you can take off when you’re done. No need for screws or bolts.
Quick Tips to Organize Bikes
- Before the installation of a roof system, check the maximum weight your car roof can sustain. In the case of installing a hitch mount, check your vehicle’s towing capacity.
- Know your vehicle payload limit before putting an extra burden. Weight can affect the tires, suspension, engine and transmission of your vehicle.
- Before deciding which bike rack to buy compares features and options. You can ask your friends and the salesman about their views and experiences.
- Frame compatibility: Every bike cannot get fit on every hitch rack or trunk rack. If you want to accommodate your best pit bike then test-fit it before going for a trip.
- Security is a very important feature that must be considered while buying a bike rack. Many racks come with locks, and some don’t. We often stop in between the trips for relaxation and snacks. In that case, the security of your bikes is a prime concern.
A rack must have the required equipment to secure your bike. Many hitches-mounted racks come with a locking hitch pin that secures your bikes from theft.
Check the bikes after unloading them from the bike rack. Check tires, paddles, and brakes. These are some bike maintenance tips before using your bike. I hope that these tips will be helpful to select the right bike rack. Plan a long trip while safely carrying your bikes.
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