Carrying stuff

What are the guidelines (and the law) as to what you can carry on a bike? I understand the idea of a safe load is likely open to discretion, but are bikes restricted by width, for example?

I was pondering doing this yesterday, and couldn’t quite justify its illegality to myself, on the grounds that the box was quite secure, the bike was still less wide than a car and it’s only a little bit (well, about a foot) wider than the panniers are anyway…

Would that be legal?

It looks like nothing was stopping the box sliding out sideways? Can’t be safe.

Any idea what your bike’s load carrying capacity is?

The bungee at the back went through the box. The box is empty, so adds effectively nothing to the actual load of the bike. It was more the extra width I was wondering about.

I’ve been told that if you’re pulling a trailer, it shouldn’t exceed a meter in width. That might also apply to anything you’d be carrying on your bike too? Actually it would be good to know for sure. Ask someone with a proper rat bike - they carry all sorts - shopping baskets, oil drums, kitchen sinks, etc.

That box isn’t safe. I know, I have good experience with losing things on bikes. You won’t believe what the wind will do, or how often you will still knock into something with it.

Yeah, that’s what got me. All I can find is the 1m limit for trailers. I’m guessing there’d be something about the width of the indicators, though.

Yeah, I knew it’d be a sail, especially with the complete lack of weight. I did ride back with it in the end, with some more straps at about 15mph. It was entirely along small and empty roads, which was handy. There’s no way I’d have ridden like that on anything bigger.

I’ve reasonable experience of carrying completely daft things on bicycles, but there’s not a lot of law pertaining to them…

Highway code bit (the bold emphasis is theirs):

you MUST secure your load and it MUST NOT stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects and any animals are secured safely. If there is a collision, they might hit someone inside the vehicle and cause serious injury

:w00t::w00t::w00t::w00t:?!Has anyone ever taken an animal on the back of their bike?(Now if that’s not a sex joke set up…)

Rorschak (14/08/2009)

Came across a group of French harley riders touring Scotland last week, one of them had a toy dog, which they carried in a perspex box which was integrated into the windscreen.

Wish I’d taken a photo. The juxtaposition of Harley, badged up leather waistcoat, handlebar moustache and toy dog in the crook of the arm was quite amusing.

Funny this should be mentioned as a friend of mine did a ride round the uk recently. Most of her stuff was in a bag secured by a couple of cargo nets with some bungees. They met a motorcycle police man at a srvice station and he gave it a few pokes and when it didn’t move deemed it ‘ok’!!

Jackie and I have often taken gerbils and guinea pigs on bikes. Normally they sit in a box under the seat and don’t seem affected by the experience. Probably because most rodents actually think being in a small enclosed dark space is comforting! The gerbils probably think it is like a day out at Thorpe Park!

Got stopped in Scotland with Antlers on the bike, Police were fine as it was secure !:slight_smile:

Like jay i have learnt the hard way about carrying stuff on bikes…once made a pair of army back packs into throw-over panniers which touched on the exhaust each time the rear springs compressed and ended up setting fire ( and i mean real flaming fire ) to fishfaces clothes :w00t:

Lost a trumpet and case somewhere just outside cardiff and lost my ex wife off the back going over kew bridge .

Im not sure the law, but once i was with a biker mate who bought a xbox 360 then realised he couldnt carry it on his cbr600 and i didnt have bungees, so we went down the road to sainsburys bought 25 metres of clingflim, and strapped it to the back of my cbr125 and to stop it falling backwards, clingfilmed it to me. funniest thing ever :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve come to this a bit late…


in the example shown I think you may be committing an offence under s.40a Road Traffic Act 1988, using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition. The offence covers carrying any load where “the weight, position or distribution of it’s load, or the manner in which is secured is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger or injury to any person.”

It’s an endorsable offence. However there is also an offence under regulation 100 of the Road Vehicle (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 which states that neither danger nor nuisance should be caused by a load on any motor vehicle. The definition doesn’t stipulate the risk of injury to a person, so it covers the risk of damage to property. It’s not an endorsable offence.

Good to know what can and cannot be carried. I guess you can get away witha lot if you use a lot of bungees.

Bungees FTW!



re trailers Max width 1m from outside edge of trailer to outside hence why 99% bike trailers incorporate the wheels into the body …

max towing weight 150kgs

as for what would you carry on a bike

had no problems with this lot on ( all weighed about 85kgs )