WARNING - towbar mounted bike racks

minicharli

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Thought it best to share today’s experience and caution others. Please please please check and recheck any towbar mounted bike racks. Even though we triple checked before setting off, ours decided to part company today whilst travelling at 60mph on the M1. Standing helpless at the side of the motorway waiting for the inevitable accident is not a nice feeling. It ended up straddling lanes one and two and most people avoided it but unfortunately one car strike pushed it into another cars path. Then I was on the carriageway warning other motorists not to hit the car with the bikes underneath it that had stopped half way into lane one. A big thanks to Highways England for their assistance and if you were caught up in the tailbacks of a closed M1 Northbound at Woodall services this morning, my apologies. Then to top it all off the battery died whilst we were on the hard shoulder dealing with the aftermath of insurance details so it’s thanks again to the AA and no thanks to Moll batteries.
 

boxelder

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:( Nobody was hurt though, so not all bad news. Mate of mine had his roof mounted carrier flip off on the M74 chewing his car roof on the way.
 

Ayjay

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Glad nobody was hurt but what makes we’re the towbar and rack? I ask as I’m considering acquiring both in the near future
 

minicharli

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Hi @Ayjay Westfalia detachable towbar and Atera Strada DL3 bike rack ( non detachable apparently ) with two bikes on it. As you and others have said, no one injured thankfully just a hefty insurance increase to foot come renewal time.
 

Dellmassive

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So any idea what actually caused the detachment?

Surly the fitment of the bike rack and towbar have safety locking systems to stop this happening.?

So if it was fitted correctly and secure.... how did it become detached.?
 

Ayjay

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Hopefully, this was an isolated case and you just got very, very unlucky. I think there are many users of both of those things (including together) on this forum and we would probably have heard about it if it had also happened to someone else (unless I missed it). As I said, I'm a possible purchaser of both so I've got a vested interest.
 

Blitz

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Agree be nice to know what part failed, the tow bar or rack, or did it just work loose. Both me and a mate use similar luggage rack systems.
 

minicharli

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The towbar is still intact with a few scratches where the carrier obviously moved before flying off. I can only imagine it being our fault but we never even used the bikes this weekend so nothing was removed from the journey to the campsite last Friday only tilted back to gain access to the rear doors when camping. It’s more just to highlight possible user error and the potential knock on effects of that
 

The Bear78

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So did it hinge back or did the clamp come loose?
I took mine off today (no idea what make....) and the thread on the clamp bolt had picked up. The resulting breaker bar action destroyed both the bolt and captive nut and I am currently trying to find another M14 bolt to replace it.
 

minicharli

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@The Bear78 not sure mate thought it was a blowout to start with then saw something bouncing along the carriageway and got that sinking feeling. Pic attached taken when home

6B9C94C9-E183-4D3E-8848-E29DD4327F4C.jpeg
 

The Bear78

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I'm genuinely sorry to hear about your misfortune. Considering the bike section is detached from the clamp section I wonder if it hinged back and the resulting impact with the ground broke it off?
 

VanDamMan

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Just happy for you all that no one got hurt......but on the back of this ...do you have to inform your insurance company that ....
A. You have a towbar
B. You have a cycle carrier

As next year I’m looking to fit a Westfalia towbar and bike carrier
 

The Bear78

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After fitting my tow bar I thought it prudent to let my insurance company know as I recall the form when I took out the policy asked that very question.
I also mentioned the carpet and soundproofing as that was also finished. They made a note but didn't add anything to the premium.
This was with Aviva if anyone is interested.
 

jimc91

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I wonder if it’s possible to have some kind of tether system so if this happens to someone else, the worst case scenario would be the van would be dragging the bikes and rack along and therefore stopping them flying off into another lane or on coming traffic, a bit like how the F1 cars have their wheels tethered - just a thought
 

Dellmassive

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Can we have more close up pics of the mounting points pls?

On carrier and ball?
 

Paynewright

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My Witter 4 bike carrier has two straps that clip onto tailgate / doors of the car / van its fitted to. The carrier drops onto ball, an M14 clamp bolt is tightened and a long M8 bolt passed in front of the clamp plate meaning it cannot come off the tow ball even if the M14 bolt comes undone.

I too am interested to understand what happened to learn. Glad everyone was safe.
 
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