Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Scotness » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi guys I'm in Brisbane but I have a friend who has just moved to Melbourne and she said you can get a fine there if you have a bike carrier attached to the back of your car but you have no bike on it. Is this true or is she just mistaken? Seems like a bad law to me if it's true

Thanks,
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby RonK » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:17 pm

It is true - and it applies in Queenslsnd too.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby bychosis » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:22 pm

something about it being a dangerous protrudance (if that is a word)
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:26 pm

Can someone explain what the point of this law is? Does it only apply to empty bike carriers or can you also get fined for towing an empty trailer?
Practically I also struggle to see how you can comply with this law. For example, I take the kids to the park with the bikes. At the park we take bikes off the carrier to ride them. Can I now be fined for the empty rack while I am out riding? If so, where am I supposed to put the rack until I return?
My carrier is a Thule Euroway 3-Bike carrier. It is not like I can take it off and put it in the car, it is meant to stay on the tow ball!
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Wanta-bike » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:46 pm

im pretty sure that u may only get fined if you're diving the car with no bikes attached - and if the number plate is blocked/obstructed by the rack, then u i think u can get fined for that too!

if you've parked the car, out with friends/family riding, and the bike rack is still attached, i'm pretty sure that's ok (as the vehicle isnt moving!)
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby biftek » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:47 pm

queequeg wrote:Can someone explain what the point of this law is? Does it only apply to empty bike carriers or can you also get fined for towing an empty trailer?
Practically I also struggle to see how you can comply with this law. For example, I take the kids to the park with the bikes. At the park we take bikes off the carrier to ride them. Can I now be fined for the empty rack while I am out riding? If so, where am I supposed to put the rack until I return?
My carrier is a Thule Euroway 3-Bike carrier. It is not like I can take it off and put it in the car, it is meant to stay on the tow ball!


the vehicle is stationary so no you can't get fined while it is parked in a car park , but out on the road you can get fined
comes down to a safety thing for pedestrians

no can't get fined for towing an empty trailer , , would be a pretty screwed up thing if you did , eg: take showtime to the tip return trip you get fined for it
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:10 pm

biftek wrote:
queequeg wrote:Can someone explain what the point of this law is? Does it only apply to empty bike carriers or can you also get fined for towing an empty trailer?
Practically I also struggle to see how you can comply with this law. For example, I take the kids to the park with the bikes. At the park we take bikes off the carrier to ride them. Can I now be fined for the empty rack while I am out riding? If so, where am I supposed to put the rack until I return?
My carrier is a Thule Euroway 3-Bike carrier. It is not like I can take it off and put it in the car, it is meant to stay on the tow ball!


the vehicle is stationary so no you can't get fined while it is parked in a car park , but out on the road you can get fined
comes down to a safety thing for pedestrians

no can't get fined for towing an empty trailer , , would be a pretty screwed up thing if you did , eg: take showtime to the tip return trip you get fined for it


I found the actual Vic Road Rule:-

405 Vehicles must not be driven with an empty bicycle
carrier attached
A person must not drive on a road a motor vehicle
that has an empty bicycle carrier attached to the
rear of the vehicle.
Penalty: 3 penalty units.


So, yes, you can only be done while driving the car. However, same issue as above. When I went to pick up my new bike from the shop, the carrier was obviously empty. Here is my bike getting put on the rack to take it home:

Image

If I was not permitted to take the empty rack to the shop, how else am I supposed to get the rack to the shop?

I am somewhat puzzled as to how the empty rack poses an issue for pedestrians whilst the car is being driven, but it is not an issue when the car is parked. Am I missing something?
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby damhooligan » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:32 am

yes, one of those silly rules, they sorta makes sense, but not really.. :D

Just wondering, has anyone actually ever been fined for this ?
i dont think police wil be having a crackdown on empty bike racks :lol:
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Oxford » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:11 am

The rack is basically invisible to a pedestrian. If they are crossing the road and step behind your vehicle as it passes them, they may step into the rack, get caught in it and dragged along. Particularly a long one like the pictured one, which I would also bet is illegal anyway. Bike racks are not allowed to extend more than 60% of the wheel base distance from the rear axle. Most car tow bars only just fit inside this requirement let alone attachments to them.

Its a silly rule as wheel chair carriers are similar in design and construct plus pose the same dangers, yet do not have similar restrictions.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby RonK » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:26 am

damhooligan wrote:yes, one of those silly rules, they sorta makes sense, but not really.. :D

Just wondering, has anyone actually ever been fined for this ?
i dont think police wil be having a crackdown on empty bike racks :lol:

It was quite a few years ago but I was stopped and given an official warning notice here in Brisbane.

During my conversation with the police, I was also warned that my rear number plate was faded, and that the bike rack must be fitted with an accessory number plate, which leads to a further question as to whether the accessory plate must be illuminated. I don't think it has to be in Queensland.

And also, I was warned painting my own accessory number plate is considered falsification, and is in fact a more serious offence than obscuring the plate, driving with an empty rack, or not having an accessory number plate.
Last edited by RonK on Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Grim » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:23 am

The road law in question is obstruction of the number plates and not about protrudance danger to peds. Legally in Vic, you cannot have any obstruction of the number plates so you are legally bound to have an alternative plate affixed to your bike rack whenever it is in use. (Obstruction also includes dirt or any matter foreign matter as well so yes you can be fined for a dirty license plate)

Law below:

The registered operator of a vehicle must ensure that the numbers and letters on the vehicle's number plate are clearly visible from a distance of 20 metres.
If you have a bicycle rack fitted to your vehicle, and it obscures the rear number plate you can either:
obtain a bike rack number plate from VicRoads and attach this to your bicycle rack
attach the rear number plate from your car to your bicycle rack when it is in use and then return it to your vehicle when you are not using the bicycle rack
Hand painted plates are not permitted to be used.

So this means that you can be fined irrespective of if you are carrying bikes in your rack or not if the number plate is deemed to be obstructed.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby jimsheedy » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:01 am

queequeg wrote:So, yes, you can only be done while driving the car. However, same issue as above. When I went to pick up my new bike from the shop, the carrier was obviously empty. Here is my bike getting put on the rack to take it home:

Image

If I was not permitted to take the empty rack to the shop, how else am I supposed to get the rack to the shop?

I am somewhat puzzled as to how the empty rack poses an issue for pedestrians whilst the car is being driven, but it is not an issue when the car is parked. Am I missing something?



wow is that thing legal?
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby KenGS » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:48 am

Grim wrote:The road law in question is obstruction of the number plates and not about protrudance danger to peds.

No, it is Rule 405 as quoted above by queequeg
queequeg wrote:I found the actual Vic Road Rule:-

405 Vehicles must not be driven with an empty bicycle
carrier attached
A person must not drive on a road a motor vehicle
that has an empty bicycle carrier attached to the
rear of the vehicle.
Penalty: 3 penalty units.

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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:59 am

Oxford wrote:The rack is basically invisible to a pedestrian. If they are crossing the road and step behind your vehicle as it passes them, they may step into the rack, get caught in it and dragged along. Particularly a long one like the pictured one, which I would also bet is illegal anyway. Bike racks are not allowed to extend more than 60% of the wheel base distance from the rear axle. Most car tow bars only just fit inside this requirement let alone attachments to them.

Its a silly rule as wheel chair carriers are similar in design and construct plus pose the same dangers, yet do not have similar restrictions.


This document might be useful (http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/registration/downloads/vsi/vsi_10.pdf), though it is probably only valid in NSW. It shows the guidelines for carrying bike racks, and I emphasise that they are "guidelines", not "laws".

If you look in the document, in NSW you can extend up to 1.2m from the rear bumper of the car. The distance from the furthest point to the centre of the rear wheel can be no more than 60% of your wheelbase. The wheelbase on my car is 2.675m, so 60% yields 1.605m. The carrier itself extends 75cm, plus the towbar (which as you can see in the photo is pretty close to the bumper). You can also just see the rear wheel in the bottom right of the photo. The centre of the wheel arch is just forward of the courtesy light you can see in the boot of the car. For reference, the bicycle wheels you see in the boot are NoTubes ZTR Crest rims with a 622mm BSD.
Although I have not got a tape measure out and checked everything is within limits, it looks like I am ok. I suppose the real proof is that when I first got the rack I was pulled over by the police for an RBT. They (four of them!) were most interested in the rack and inspected it closely. Their only comments were "That is a nice rack! Where did you get it? How much did it cost? Good to see you have lights/plate etc fitted correctly". None of them whipped out a tape measure to examine my wheelbase, towbar or rack.

I have driven thousands of km with it fitted, but only on QLD/NSW. I have never been given any grief over it.

I just had a thought....if I was driving one these:

Image

My wheelbase measurement would be huge! That would let me go up to the 1.2m maximum protusion from the rear of the car. So, I am not sure of the logic behind the 60% of the wheelbase guideline. If it is all about pedestrians, surely the length of the car not relevant for someone walking behind it?
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:59 am

jimsheedy wrote:
queequeg wrote:So, yes, you can only be done while driving the car. However, same issue as above. When I went to pick up my new bike from the shop, the carrier was obviously empty. Here is my bike getting put on the rack to take it home:

If I was not permitted to take the empty rack to the shop, how else am I supposed to get the rack to the shop?

I am somewhat puzzled as to how the empty rack poses an issue for pedestrians whilst the car is being driven, but it is not an issue when the car is parked. Am I missing something?



wow is that thing legal?


In short, yes. They are fairly common carriers too.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Oxford » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:47 am

don't just measure the rack, make sure you also include the bike in the measurement ie the handlebars extend past the rack? its part of the load and as such is part of the measurement.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby jindydiver » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:23 pm

queequeg wrote: So, I am not sure of the logic behind the 60% of the wheelbase guideline. If it is all about pedestrians, surely the length of the car not relevant for someone walking behind it?


It is also about the amount of lateral swing the extension will have. You can turn left (lets say) and someone could step close on your right side expecting to cross after you pass and an over long rear to the car will swing wide of the track of the rear wheels and collect them. Also when reversing the extended section will be swinging laterally as much as the front of the car does and it is seen as a risk to people in the car park (or on the street).
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby adrian_d » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:50 pm

Oxford wrote:The rack is basically invisible to a pedestrian. If they are crossing the road and step behind your vehicle as it passes them, they may step into the rack, get caught in it and dragged along. Particularly a long one like the pictured one, which I would also bet is illegal anyway. Bike racks are not allowed to extend more than 60% of the wheel base distance from the rear axle. Most car tow bars only just fit inside this requirement let alone attachments to them.

Its a silly rule as wheel chair carriers are similar in design and construct plus pose the same dangers, yet do not have similar restrictions.


Makes you wonder why the pedestrian was crossing so close to the back of a car as it drove past. If they were crossing at the correct pedestrian crossing then all cars should have passed the interestion well and truly before the green person to cross comes up. I'm guessing if they were walking behind a car as it went past they are likely to be J walking hahaha.

Interesting that certain vehicles can have large overhangs on the front and back (pipes, beds etc) which could still be quite dangerous, even with a flag/cloth to indicate that it exceeds the length of the vehicle.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:57 pm

Oxford wrote:don't just measure the rack, make sure you also include the bike in the measurement ie the handlebars extend past the rack? its part of the load and as such is part of the measurement.


Yes, that is true. You only get handlebars extending beyond the rack when there is a bike loaded in the rear most position. If the last bike is a road bike, the bars protude about 5 to 10cm over the end.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby Scotness » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:11 pm

It sounds to me like a piece of overly officious legislation.

Now unless if my maths is wrong I calculate the following:

For a bike rack that extends 1 metre behind the car

At 60 kmh - the entire rack will have passed in 0.06 of a second

At 10 kmh it will have passed in 0.36 of a second

Now Usain Bolt can run the 100 metres in 9.58 seconds which is 37.5 kmh

At that speed you can run 3.75 metres in 0.36 of a second

In other words you'd have to be with in almost 4 metres of a bike carrier that is moving at 10kmh and you'd have to be running as fast as Usain Bolt in order to hit the bike carrier from the time you can see it clearly (once the rear of the car has passed).

And what are the chances of that happening - wouldn't you just STOP!

If you are running or walking more slowly than Bolt (ie all of us by definition!) then the distance to the car and carrier would have to be much closer - but then why are you that close to a car?? And if you're moving more slowly you need a shorter stopping distance.

Of course accidents can happen one way or another but this is getting into the territory of being so worried about something you stay at home in bed. I can't see the built in risk in bike carriers that can't be overcome by sensible pedestrian behaviour.

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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby gcouyant » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:26 pm

Guys there are two issues to consider. One is the relevant regulation and the other is policing. If a law is policed then we abide.

Here in Victoria, a significant rear protrusion (unloaded bicycle carrier) is policed - especially in country regions and more so by motorcycle mounted police. An option for those who use a carrier that is a hassle to remove is to mount a small 12" children's bicycle and drive around with that. A pretty little pink one with tassells makes a good statement I think.

On the other hand, a small rear protrusion such as the tow bar tongue left installed on the vehicle may not comply but it is rarely if ever policed. I think that this is a good example of how the relevant policing authorities treat the very same regulation and its impact upon civil compliance of that regulation. In other words - If a law is policed then we abide.

Also policed is licence plate visibility. You must use an authorised licence plate if your vehicle's plate is in any way obscured. If you display a non authorised plate it's a pretty hefty fine - more than not displaying a plate at all. To give you an example, if your licence plate is obscured you are stung with a $460 fine and three demerit points (in SA). If on the other hand you display a non authorise plate then you are hit with the same fine of $460 for an obscured plate plus an additional $600 fine for displaying a non authorised plate.

I have never heard of the 60% overhang regulation ever being policed and I doubt that it ever will be. I do however understand why a regulation like this exists. Again, if a law is policed then we abide so let's not get too twisted about it.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby rudeboy » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:42 pm

with the rear mounted carriers has anyone been fined in NSW for obstructing their lights.
I understand that you need a approved license with night time light but what about brake and blinkers?
How important is a secondary light board?
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby il padrone » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:49 pm

I have been aware of this rule for at least 15 years. I believe that you may get into some bother if you leave the rack on the car unloaded in a carpark and someone walks into it and injures themselves - something about creating a public hazard. The basic reason for the no driving rule is to avoid unnecessary protuberances, that may be very hazardous to drivers/passengers in the event of relatively minor collisions.

Seriously. How hard is it to clip the rack off and sling it in your boot? :? Most racks have quick release mounts for this very purpose, but years ago I got the spanner out and unbolted my single post rack - took all of a minute to do.
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby biftek » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:23 pm

il padrone wrote:I have been aware of this rule for at least 15 years. I believe that you may get into some bother if you leave the rack on the car unloaded in a carpark and someone walks into it and injures themselves - something about creating a public hazard. The basic reason for the no driving rule is to avoid unnecessary protuberances, that may be very hazardous to drivers/passengers in the event of relatively minor collisions.

Seriously. How hard is it to clip the rack off and sling it in your boot? :? Most racks have quick release mounts for this very purpose, but years ago I got the spanner out and unbolted my single post rack - took all of a minute to do.


i am always weary about my towball just in case a pedestrian walks into it , it would be a civil matter so wouldn't want to dragged into courts because a ped walked into my towball ,
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Re: Fined for an empty bike carrier in Victoria??

Postby queequeg » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:17 am

il padrone wrote:I have been aware of this rule for at least 15 years. I believe that you may get into some bother if you leave the rack on the car unloaded in a carpark and someone walks into it and injures themselves - something about creating a public hazard. The basic reason for the no driving rule is to avoid unnecessary protuberances, that may be very hazardous to drivers/passengers in the event of relatively minor collisions.

Seriously. How hard is it to clip the rack off and sling it in your boot? :? Most racks have quick release mounts for this very purpose, but years ago I got the spanner out and unbolted my single post rack - took all of a minute to do.


Removing my rack is easy, but the rack uses almost all of the boot space, and my wife is not capable of lifting it because it weighs 19kg. Most of the time we need the rack on without the bike is because she is coming to meet me after a ride and has the two kids with her. The pram is in the boot, the kids seats are in the back of the car. The only place the rack can go is where it was designed to be....on the towball.
I do like the idea of putting the kids bike on it to make the carrier "in use". My son's balance bike should do the trick.
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