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Old 09-02-12, 03:39 PM   #1
oKayH
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Rear mount bike carriers and auto accident.

I just bought a new road bike last week and so far it has been great. I carry it around on my hitch mount bike receiver, but with all that $$ hanging off the back of my car I've become paranoid of other drivers possibly rear ending me and smashing my ride. Has anyone had this happen to them. Does regular car insurance cover this? I need to shop around for new insurance this week anyway but figured I'd ask first.

And yea, roof racks would get rid of this problem...but I don't want to spend all that money on them.
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Old 09-02-12, 04:41 PM   #2
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I'm sure that it happens, but I don't personally know of anybody who has had their bikes damaged by being rear ended. I definitely can't say the same for people who use roof racks. Almost everybody I know who has used roof racks has an experience they'd rather not talk about.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:51 PM   #3
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I've never had a car accident with a bike on the back. Always a possibility, of course, but a rare occurrence.
Usually carry bikes inside the minivan of late.
Sometimes use a roof rack.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:13 PM   #4
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You just got your new bike a week ago, you'll become less paranoid with time.

As an aside, when I brought my bike to the LBS and asked for help getting it off the roof (it is old, steel, and heavy), the guy told me several horror stories about roof racks in the two minutes it took to get the bike into the shop. The hitch mount is probably the safest option!
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Old 09-02-12, 08:20 PM   #5
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I suspect the probability of getting a bike damaged by someone hitting your hitch receiver rack is a *lot* less than the probability of destroying it yourself by forgetting about the roof rack and driving into the garage. I use a hitch receiver rack and would never consider a roof rack.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:56 PM   #6
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I had 2 mtbs' on the back (sparetire) of my bronco, some jackhole hit he corner of my truck smashing the taillight while it was parked on the street. he took off, fortunately my neighbor was just coming home and saw it. he followed him and got his plate.

He didnt hit either bike but the plastic from the taillight chipped the wifes (brand new) frame as it exploded. tiny about the size of a pea.

the Judge ordered he pay me $275 (lbs quote) to have the frame professionally disassembled, shipped, resprayed by trek, and returned.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:06 PM   #7
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I've been using a hitch rack for 3-4 years or so with no problem. A friend uses a roof rack and has driven into his garage twice with (5 and 6 series) Madones on top.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:25 PM   #8
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Someone once posted a hilarious story of doing construction work in a new neighborhood where one of the completed houses was occupied by some jacka$$ who was constantly filing noise complaints on them. Once day they watched him come home with a bike on a roof rack, and proceed to destroy it by driving into the garage. Then a week later they watched as he came home with the new replacement bike on the roof and repeated the scene.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:36 PM   #9
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Can't comment on bicycles specifically but I was rear ended once and items damaged in my trunk did get covered by the drivers insurance so I don't see why a bike would be any different.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:58 PM   #10
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I suspect the probability of getting a bike damaged by someone hitting your hitch receiver rack is a *lot* less than the probability of destroying it yourself by forgetting about the roof rack and driving into the garage.
Agreed - I've heard far more tales of the latter than the former. And even if you do have the misfortune of getting rear-ended you'd be able to go after the driver for compensation; with a roof rack incident you might be able to collect a little from home owners insurance but only after paying the deductible and with a likely increase in your future premiums.
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Old 09-02-12, 10:34 PM   #11
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I have owned a roof rack in the past but I prefer to put my bike IN the car rather than outside of it. I can go places and not worry about theft, and I don't have to worry about bug splatters or rain. I only carry my bike in my car maybe twice a year anyway. Almost all of my training rides are from my house and don't involve my car.

I would think that damage on a rear rack would be rare as long as the bike doesn't actually come off of the rack or the rack doesn't come off of the car. No way my car is able to drive into my garage so that mode of damage is not a risk with me either.

But I have a story too...
I crashed my bike 2 years ago and totalled it. My father owns a garage and towing service in a small town and by coincidence someone on a vacation trip had a crash on the local freeway shortly after that and totalled their car. They had a pair of Trek hybrids on a rack on the back. One of them had a bent wheel, the other one had a broken spoke. The people had to get other transportation home and couldn't carry their bikes so they sold them to my father. The bike with a broken spoke fit me so I inherited it and I've been riding it in the absence of my good road bike.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:04 AM   #12
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Having worked in a vacation destination that is popular to bring bikes, I have seen a few busted bikes from getting rear ended with a trunk or hitch rack. Some got cited for obscuring tail lights or violating a little known law about accessories hanging off a vehicle. While I have never heard the outcome of an insurance settlement or lawsuit, a good lawyer would get the repair or replacment of the bike(s) for you.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:03 AM   #13
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You take the risk of damage to your bike every time it's mounted on any rack system on your vehilce.

Depending on its value, it might be worth taking out a seperate policy on your bike. That way, if your bike ever got stolen, damaged, or vandalized, its own insurance would cover it. In the event of an auto accident, your bike would be covered under the policy and your insurance company would go after the driver at fault for your vehicle damage and the replacement of your bike.

Usually, a plicy like this is only a couple $ a month. I know my camera equipment is on a seperate policy for about $1500 coverage and its' only about $4 a month.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:40 AM   #14
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I noted a slight bend in my L pedal shaft , after laying the bike down
in the back of a friend's PU truck bed, to ride with them a few miles.
so even that has some shortcomings..

Roof rack on my old hatch-back worked out OK,
front rail on back of the roof, Fork mounts there.
With a couple dummy forks for the removed front wheel on it ..

shorter rear rail grasping the edge of the hatch.
Tray for rear wheel straps connecting the 2 rails ,

With round rail Yakima stuff I could even open the hatch
with 2 bikes on it.

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-03-12 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:35 PM   #15
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Thanks folks. I'll just continue on and become less paranoid as time progresses. Also, these stories about roof rack fails suck. I'll be sure to avoid them as long as I can.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:53 PM   #16
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A friend of mine, avid cyclist, was driving home from a ride with his and his wife's bikes on back. Both of them really nice carbon fiber. He was rear-ended by an uninsured driver, both bikes totaled, and as far as I know he's never replaced them. Sorry to be a downer, but it does happen.
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Old 09-03-12, 05:10 PM   #17
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Probably does happen... I've thought about the same scenario myself. Check with your insurance provider. I know my home insurance covers our bikes, and most likely, the auto insurance would cover the bike in transit.
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Old 09-03-12, 07:46 PM   #18
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You take the risk of damage to your bike every time it's mounted on any rack system on your vehilce.
That is why I generally try to put my bike INSIDE of the vehicle when possible. I just remembered this- At one point in time I had an old roof rack mounted on some boards so I could set it in the bed of my pickup. This is pretty convenient and also relatively secure against accidents, but not secure against theft or weather.
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Old 09-04-12, 05:54 AM   #19
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I have a rear rack but seldom use it. My babies ride inside or on top


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Old 09-04-12, 11:30 AM   #20
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I have a Sarris Bones. The downside is that it is a trunk mounted rack. It tends to scratch the paint. The upside is that the bikes ride nice and high, above the bumpers of most cars. I suppose a truck might be able to get to it but more than likely, I'd back into a pole or wall.

I think the bikes on a hitch rack ride a bit low and a bit more vulnerable to rear collision.


But the OP brings up a good topic. If someone does hit you from behind and damages your bike, are they legally responsible for the damage?
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Old 09-04-12, 11:41 AM   #21
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I'm very sure the driver who rear ends someone is going to be held liable, and their insurance will pay. If that driver departs for places unknown, you're probably covered only if you carry uninsured motorist insurance.
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Old 09-04-12, 11:47 AM   #22
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It's certainly the case between motor-vehicles the rear endee has the insurance claim
against the one who ignored the closing rate of speed.
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Old 09-04-12, 12:39 PM   #23
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Something tells me it may be your home owners insurance.
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Old 09-04-12, 12:54 PM   #24
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Something tells me it may be your home owners insurance.
Not always. I remember reading of some type of lose to a bicycle in or on a car posted on this forum. Can't remember the details but neither home owners nor car insurance covered it.

I know with my boat I had to get a rider on my home owners to cover it. The boat was not covered by either insurance even when towing. The insurance was so expensive, a few years of risk paid for the boat in the premiums I would have occurred.

I think I will make a phone call this week and ask about my bike.
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Old 09-04-12, 01:46 PM   #25
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100% agreed! I would never own another roof rack. When a bike is in back, you constantly see it are are reminded that it's there. With a roof rack...it's outta sight, outta mind. That can easily result in a nasty encounter with a low ATM overhang, fast food or any other drive-thru, garage door, parking deck, etc,etc,etc...

If a person is really concerned about being bumped when using a hitch rack, it is a rather easy project to add a metal extension that could bolt to the rack(creating a safety area behind the added metalwork). A metal clamp and $10 in rebar would do the trick. Paint it to match the rack.
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