THE RIGHT WAY: Make sure you know how to transport your bicycles safely on your vehicle. Image: Shutterstock
More and more South Africans are taking up biking or trail riding - often far from home. That means hauling your bikes long-distance so make sure you know how to do that safely... and within the law!
Les McMaster, chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association, told Wheels24: “Cyclists or mountain bikers often gather to ride in groups and this could mean transporting one or more bicycles to a designated meeting spot.
"While there are lots of ways to transport bikes it’s important that they are secure and safe before you hit the road, not only for your safety but for other motorists too.”
McMaster says it’s important to be aware of the road laws and associated legal obligations. “Officials are well within their rights to pull you over if your vehicle is not complying with laws pertaining to transporting a bike. For example, your lights and number plate can’t be obscured.”
KNOW THESE RULES...
• All lights need to be clearly visible and your number plate readable. Lights should be seen from various directions, not just from directly behind.
• Your view cannot be obscured in any way, the view through your rear-view mirror.
• Make sure you don’t have an ‘unsafe load’; don’t overload the car; make sure they cannot come loose, fall off or destabilise the car.
• Bikes should also not ‘stick out’ which could cause an accident involving other vehicles, property or pedestrians.
• Don’t exceed the maximum weight-bearing load for bike carrying equipment, roof bars, towballs, top or rear racks, or the load for your type of vehicle as specified by its manufacturer. This load value should be in your vehicle manual. The safe roof carrying weight is nearly always specified, as is the towball load (known as the ‘nose weight rating’).
• Check and tighten fixtures, straps etc of the carrier frequently during your journey - especially before you set off.
McMaster added: “When considering the type of carrier to use, make sure it will make sense for your vehicle. It should be quick and easy to set up, not interfere with your vehicle’s functionality (or damage the paintwork) in any way.
"For example, unless you have a large boot, the likelihood of fitting a bicycle in the boot is minimal and there’s a good chance you’ll damage the paintwork or boot or bicycle trying to get it in.
“Rather opt for a roof rack or toball mounting, knowing these items were designed to transport your bike safely and are worth the additional expense to make the trip hassle-free. Ask your mechanic or visit a Miwa workshop for advice on which carrier would work best for your vehicle.”