Legality of long overhang hitch racks

lukeyluke
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:05 pm

Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby lukeyluke » Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:21 pm

Hi all.

New to the forum. Mods if you feel this question would be best elsewhere please fell free to move.

Hoping everyone can provide some advice.

My wife and I have recently purchased mountain bikes, and are really enjoying rides around our area. We however want to be able to take our bikes plus the kids bikes out and about.

For the record we have a Forester with heavy duty hitch rack already installed. We are in Sydney NSW.

I was all set to pull the trigger on a Kuat NV Base 2 hitch carrier and the 2 bike add on (4 x bikes in total) but then decided to double check the legality of having something approx 1350mm hanging off the back of the car. Man oh man, what a can of worms.

So I now understand the 1200mm overhang rule and the 60% of wheelbase (measured from rear axle) and have come to the conclusion I would be lucky to have even one bike legally mounted to the hitch.

My plan if I went with the hitch rack would be to do everything right:

- Quality Rack
- Quality heavy duty 50mm hitch (already on the car)
- Buy a powered number plate holder to ensure we have the auxiliary plates, turn and brake lights clearly visible
- Potentially add a high vis flag to the most rearward point.

So this is where I need some advice. In everyone's experience if we went in this direction do you think it's likely the cops would ping us? I spoke to a few bike shops and the 'word on the street' is as long as you are doing the right thing (as per my list above) cops are not interested. Has anyone got any advice at all?

Alternatively maybe I could get two bikes on the roof and two bikes on the hitch. But the Forester is tall and getting two bikes on the roof in Yakima roof Mounts whilst possible sounds like a back injury in the making...

The topic has been doing my head in LOL!

Thanks in advance.

- Luke

User avatar
P!N20
Posts: 4051
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:50 pm
Location: Wurundjeri Country

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby P!N20 » Wed Jan 17, 2024 8:18 pm

It was discussed at length here: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=107157&hilit=overhang

TL;DR: Cops probably won't ping you, but make sure your car's handling isn't unduly affected.

lukeyluke
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:05 pm

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby lukeyluke » Wed Jan 17, 2024 8:36 pm

Thanks, still after peoples opinions or better still experience out on the roads with a 4 bike hitch setup

User avatar
P!N20
Posts: 4051
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:50 pm
Location: Wurundjeri Country

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby P!N20 » Wed Jan 17, 2024 8:57 pm

The cops have never shown an interest in my four bike rack, if that's what you mean, and I'm sure the overhang is well over the 60% of wheelbase rule, although I've never measured it.

Can't say I've noticed the car's handling to be any different either. Keeping in mind if I've got four bikes on the rack I've also got four people in the car.

Like you, my rack has auxiliary plate and lights, the only difference is mine is towball mount.

I found this post interesting in the thread I linked to above: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=107157&hilit=overhang#p1586099
In summary the intent of the whole 60% overhang rule probably didn't apply to bike racks.

User avatar
London Boy
Posts: 818
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:43 pm

Postby London Boy » Wed Jan 17, 2024 9:41 pm

lukeyluke wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:21 pm
For the record we have a Forester with heavy duty hitch rack already installed. We are in Sydney NSW.

I was all set to pull the trigger on a Kuat NV Base 2 hitch carrier and the 2 bike add on (4 x bikes in total) but then decided to double check the legality of having something approx 1350mm hanging off the back of the car. Man oh man, what a can of worms.

So I now understand the 1200mm overhang rule and the 60% of wheelbase (measured from rear axle) and have come to the conclusion I would be lucky to have even one bike legally mounted to the hitch.

My plan if I went with the hitch rack would be to do everything right:

- Quality Rack
- Quality heavy duty 50mm hitch (already on the car)
- Buy a powered number plate holder to ensure we have the auxiliary plates, turn and brake lights clearly visible
- Potentially add a high vis flag to the most rearward point.
Vehicle Standards Information VSI.5 | Rev. 6 | 11 March 2015 appears to apply. About half-way down page 2 it says:

"Note: Any object permanently fitted to a vehicle (eg bull bar, winch or equipment/tool box) is
considered part of the vehicle and must be included within the applicable dimension
limit (except for those specific items excluded when measuring width)
."

The vehicle registration regulation does not appear to define what must be included within the rear overhang dimension, while the Road Rules say, at rule 292:

"A driver must not drive or tow a vehicle if the vehicle is carrying a load that--
(a) is not properly secured to the vehicle, or
(b) is placed on the vehicle in a way that causes the vehicle to be unstable, or
(c) projects from the vehicle in a way that is likely to injure a person, obstruct the path of other drivers or pedestrians, or damage a vehicle or anything else (for example, the road surface)
".

That appears to indicate that a temporary attachment such as a bike rack is ok in NSW.

However, in Qld you'd be stuck, because Qld includes the load in the calculation.

User avatar
bychosis
Posts: 7272
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby bychosis » Thu Jan 18, 2024 10:38 am

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=106190&hilit=Bike+ ... g#p1563781

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4340&hilit=Bike+rack+overhang

It’s been discussed a bit. I can’t be certain but reasonably confidant that if you’ve got a good solid rack with lights and number plate and a good attitude if pulled over you’re unlikely to be booked for over dimension.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

lukeyluke
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:05 pm

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby lukeyluke » Thu Jan 18, 2024 11:55 am

Thanks all. Yeah I agree. Do everything right and your likely to be OK

User avatar
queequeg
Posts: 6484
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby queequeg » Thu Jan 18, 2024 1:50 pm

lukeyluke wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2024 11:55 am
Thanks all. Yeah I agree. Do everything right and your likely to be OK
I'm only running a 3-bike rack on my Outback, but last time I was in Bright I saw all manner of bike racks, including the vertical mounted racks like the Shingleback.

The only time I have been pulled up by the police with the bike rack on was actually for an RBT. However, it became clear the RBT was just an excuse to look at the bike rack. I was a bit worried as it was the first time I had used it and it was at night. The police (NSW) went around the car with torches and were asking me all sorts of questions about where I was going at night with a bike etc, but their next question surprised me..."Where did you get this rack? It's looks amazing, and we noticed it has integrated lights and even your Aux plate is lit up like it's supposed to be!", so we had a quick chat about bike racks and how much it cost, then they sent me on my way.

My lesson from this is. If you are going to put a rack on the bike, and especially if using it at night

1) Make sure you have the Aux Plate
2) Make sure that if the bikes are obscuring any of the cars rear lights/indicators, ensure you have a light bar.
3) If it is dark, make sure your light bar includes a light to illuminate the Aux Plate

If you follow these rules, it's highly unlikely you will be harassed by police for carrying bikes, especially in a town like Bright. I will add though, make sure the bikes are loaded safely and don't overhang the car or create any dangerous protrusions. The Shingleback style racks receive far more attention that a rack where the bikes are on a platform with both wheels supporting the bike. I think QLD police have pulled up plenty of people with that style of rack. If someone runs up the back of a car with a Shingleback rack loaded with bikes, it's easy to see how it could be dangerous.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '16 Cervelo R5, '18 Mason BokekTi

Arbuckle23
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:07 pm
Location: Mornington Peninsula

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby Arbuckle23 » Thu Jan 18, 2024 2:32 pm

Friend of mine has a Shingleback rack on his car.
He is a cop!

User avatar
WyvernRH
Posts: 3190
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:41 pm
Location: Newcastle NSW

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby WyvernRH » Thu Jan 18, 2024 2:39 pm

bychosis wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2024 10:38 am
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=106190&hilit=Bike+ ... g#p1563781

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4340&hilit=Bike+rack+overhang

It’s been discussed a bit. I can’t be certain but reasonably confidant that if you’ve got a good solid rack with lights and number plate and a good attitude if pulled over you’re unlikely to be booked for over dimension.
As Bychosis says, in NSW at least, do all the number plate/lights stuff correctly and most cops will have better things to do. Having said that, we have had a spate of tickets handed out for overlength bike racks here in the Lower Hunter recently - seems to be mostly on older Falcon/Commodore/Magna type station wagons that have a long overhang from the rear axle anyway so it looks bad.
Also as mentioned above, attitude to the cops when stopped may well have something to do with it as at least two of the tickets I know about the drivers were 'not overly polite' according to their spouses and got a ticket. Whereas one young lass stopped for a breath test was politely warned that her four bike rack might well be illegal and she should check it at the first opportunity. :P

However, obstruct your number plate or lights without legal replacements, especially at night, and it will be only a short time before the cops snap you up, especially if they are bored.

Richard

Andy01
Posts: 1293
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:31 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby Andy01 » Thu Jan 18, 2024 5:24 pm

That Kuat NV Base 2 hitch carrier is one seriously pricey rack :shock: - $1099 for a 2 bike rack and it doesn't even have a number plate holder or lights - ouch. And another $899 for the 2 bike extension.

Have you considered something like the Thule VeloCompact 3 bike towball rack with a 1 bike extension ? I have the 2 bike version (no extension) and it fits my Outback really well and is rock solid (my Outback has a Euro-style gooseneck hitch with removable ball, so no hitch receiver). It comes with lights, number plate holder and a tilting mechanism which makes it easy to get into the boot. My BIL has the 3 bike version and has also had zero issues with it. Pushys and 99Bikes tend to have sales on Thule every few months - I think around Boxing Day the 3 bike rack was around $800 from memory. It is a towball rack, not hitch rack though.

For the record I measured mine and even with only two bikes my overhang is more than 60% - although the Outback has a reasonable overhang to start with (longer than a Forester). I have used it in both Qld and NSW (northern) and have had police drive behind me and no issues. I think that as long as it looks "professional" and solid and the bikes are secured etc, AND the lights & number plate are well visible, it seems unlikely to be a problem.

lukeyluke
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2024 7:05 pm

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby lukeyluke » Thu Jan 18, 2024 7:52 pm

Thanks. I'll have a look at the Thule

Arbuckle23
Posts: 1146
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:07 pm
Location: Mornington Peninsula

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby Arbuckle23 » Thu Jan 18, 2024 8:14 pm

I have been looking for a solution from my caravan.
I found https://isi-carriers.com/.
They have a system that can be on the caravan or the back of the car. I have a Pajero, so this looks like it might suit

User avatar
familyguy
Posts: 8392
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:30 pm
Location: Willoughby, NSW

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby familyguy » Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:10 pm

Arbuckle23 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2024 2:32 pm
Friend of mine has a Shingleback rack on his car.
He is a cop!
Partly in jest, but also, unfortunately, experience. Ask one question of two officers, often get two answers.


A good chance to repost this:
Image

This pretty much indicates all shingleback-type racks are illegal. Shingleback, like most manufacturers, makes zero mention of standards compliance in their documentation.

https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/fi ... t-2014.pdf

User avatar
queequeg
Posts: 6484
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:09 am

Re: Legality of long overhang hitch racks

Postby queequeg » Mon Jan 22, 2024 2:16 pm

familyguy wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:10 pm
Arbuckle23 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2024 2:32 pm
Friend of mine has a Shingleback rack on his car.
He is a cop!
Partly in jest, but also, unfortunately, experience. Ask one question of two officers, often get two answers.


A good chance to repost this:
Image

This pretty much indicates all shingleback-type racks are illegal. Shingleback, like most manufacturers, makes zero mention of standards compliance in their documentation.

https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/fi ... t-2014.pdf
The illustration of the Yaris shows how ridiculous the guidelines are are. The Yaris that is pictured has a max towball down load of 45kg. After attaching the pictured 4-Bike rack, there's only likely around 20kg of capacity for the bikes.

In any case, while the RMS VSI talks of the 60% rule, the actual NSW Road Rules make no mention of it. If you were to pulled up by the NSW Police, they would need to reference Rule 292

292 Insecure or overhanging load

A driver must not drive or tow a vehicle if the vehicle is carrying a load that--

(a) is not properly secured to the vehicle, or

(b) is placed on the vehicle in a way that causes the vehicle to be unstable, or

(c) projects from the vehicle in a way that is likely to injure a person, obstruct the path of other drivers or pedestrians, or damage a vehicle or anything else (for example, the road surface).

: Maximum penalty--20 penalty units.

Note 1 : Other laws of this jurisdiction may deal with the loading of vehicles and carrying loads on vehicles.

Note 2 : This rule is not uniform with the corresponding rule in rule 292 of the Australian Road Rules . Different rules may apply in other Australian jurisdictions.
However, "Note 1" sort of gives them an "out", but I don't know what those other laws might be. My experience is that as long as you don't have an obviously unsecure load with bikes flapping about and you do everything neatly, you won't get harassed.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '16 Cervelo R5, '18 Mason BokekTi

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users