Go Back  Bike Forums > Community Connections > Regional Discussions > Northeast
Reload this Page >

passengers on rear rack? (safety and MA law)

Notices
Northeast Connecticut | Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New York |Rhode Island | Vermont |

passengers on rear rack? (safety and MA law)

Old 11-11-08, 02:52 PM
  #1  
cbr2702
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: medford ma
Posts: 250

Bikes: flying pigeon roadster

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
passengers on rear rack? (safety and MA law)

In many parts of the world rear bike racks are used as seats for passengers:



also (big): https://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bi...cycle_many.jpg

My bike has a very sturdy rear rack, bolted to the frame and supported by the rear axle. The rear wheel is steel and rated for 600 pounds. So I'm not worried too much about the weight. Are there other safety things I should be worried about (at low speeds)?

Also, MA law has a section on carrying passengers:

"a passenger shall ride only upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle or to a trailer towed by the bicycle"
Chapter 85, Section 11B 2(i): https://www.massbike.org/bikelaw/mass.htm#C85S11A

(It also says that under 40lbs or 4 years there are additional things I don't care about and that 12 and younger needs a helmet)

Does anyone know if a bolted-on rear rack is usually considered "a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle"?
cbr2702 is offline  
Old 11-11-08, 03:28 PM
  #2  
Air
Destroyer of Wheels
 
Air's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Creating some FA-Qs
Posts: 3,525

Bikes: Nishiki Sport, Downtube IXNS, 1950's MMB3 Russian Folding Bike, MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I don't *know* but I'd guess that it wouldn't be considered 'regular.'
__________________
The Almighty Clyde FAQ || Northeast Index
eTrex Vista References || Road Reference


It's the year of the enema!
Air is offline  
Old 11-11-08, 03:39 PM
  #3  
neilfein
Senior Member
 
neilfein's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Highland Park, NJ, USA
Posts: 3,798

Bikes: "Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB, now serving as the kid-carrier, grocery-getter.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I'd say no. A rack is designed to carry stuff, not people.
__________________
Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

My bands:
neilfein is offline  
Old 11-11-08, 03:58 PM
  #4  
cbr2702
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: medford ma
Posts: 250

Bikes: flying pigeon roadster

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Racks sold in the US and on most bikes here are probably not designed with passengers in mind, yes. This rack is on a chinese built flying pigeon roadster, built for use there and in much of the third world. It's designers probably were considering passengers as a common use.
cbr2702 is offline  
Old 11-11-08, 06:24 PM
  #5  
Stacy
Car-Free Flatlander
 
Stacy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Below 14th Street
Posts: 1,976

Bikes: Sirrus

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When I was a kid we would regularly ride two to a bike by having the passenger either sit on the cross bar, on the seat while the rider stood up in the pedals, as in Double Drunken Bike Riding - or on a luggage rack. I still occasionally see people sitting on the handlebars though I can't imagine how they do it.

Most rear racks have weigh ratings. My Blackburn which attaches to the frame eyelets is only rated for 50 pounds and I believe Tubus racks are rated to carry up 100 lbs. Those seat post mounted racks have a maximum load of about 25 lbs.

Here in New York City it's illegal to carry more people than the bike was designed to carry but, if you add some fold up BMX pegs, maybe a nice pillow to fit the rack, that might be a moot point. I can't remember ever seeing anyone ticketed for doubling.
Stacy is offline  
Old 11-13-08, 12:49 PM
  #6  
8bit
duh-river foe
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: boston
Posts: 150
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I live in Cambridge and have seen people doubling up lots. I don't think most people know or care what the law is for doubling up on a bike.
8bit is offline  
Old 11-13-08, 04:18 PM
  #7  
HigherGround
Descends Like Avalanche
 
HigherGround's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Somewhere between Funkytown and Margaritaville, PA
Posts: 5,769

Bikes: Lynskey R240, Sportive, and a Helix Sport disc model in the works; Eddy Merckx MX Leader; Specialized Rock Hopper Comp (1988!)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You can try, but that just doesn't look comfortable!



__________________
The rider in my avatar is David Etxebarria, not me.
HigherGround is offline  
Old 12-22-08, 09:25 AM
  #8  
cbr2702
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: medford ma
Posts: 250

Bikes: flying pigeon roadster

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by HigherGround View Post
You can try, but that just doesn't look comfortable!
I don't know about that:



When I lived in Europe everyone rode around on rear racks like that.
cbr2702 is offline  
Old 12-22-08, 09:39 AM
  #9  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,714

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 152 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by cbr2702 View Post
"a passenger shall ride only upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle or to a trailer towed by the bicycle"
Chapter 85, Section 11B 2(i):
I think you'd have a hard time equating a "rack" with a "regular seat" in that there is no actual seat on the rack, just a flat area intended for cargo. Even if it is commonly used as a seat in China, I don't think an American judge is gonna be persuaded, based on Chinese precedent, that the rack is a seat. Also, even if there is a rating on the rack of, say, 150 lb., and you passenger is less than that, there is a difference between static loads and live loads (i.e., people), and I know live load ratings for floors are lower than static load ratings for the same floors (need increased safety factors, etc).
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  
Old 12-22-08, 11:26 AM
  #10  
2manybikes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,944

Bikes: 2 many

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1182 Post(s)
Liked 218 Times in 103 Posts
I doubt the police really care. If they do see it as a problem, I don't see you going to court for it. They will probably just tell you to stop doing it.
2manybikes is offline  
Old 12-22-08, 12:22 PM
  #11  
Bacciagalupe
Professional Fuss-Budget
 
Bacciagalupe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6,469
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
FWIW, I wouldn't do it. Just because other people do something, that doesn't indicate that it is actually safe.

1) Even a pretty tough rack like an Old Man Mountain is only rated for 50-60 pounds. I can't imagine many out there will regularly hold 150+ lbs.
2) The passenger has a pretty tenuous setup; fairly easy to fall off.
3) Believe it or not, low impact falls can be more dangerous than some high-speed falls. At higher speeds you slide (assuming you don't slam straight into something); at slower speeds, you fall straight down and are more likely to break bones.
4) If the passenger starts to fall, and is holding onto you, they could easily drag you down with 'em.
5) I agree the cops won't bust you, but a rack is definitely not a seat. I'm reasonably certain that wording applies to child seats and child trailers.
6) I really can't imagine why it's necessary to begin with. Tell that lazy so-and-so to get their own bike.

I.e., if you want to carry passengers, maybe you ought to get a rickshaw.
Bacciagalupe is offline  
Old 12-22-08, 02:35 PM
  #12  
cbr2702
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: medford ma
Posts: 250

Bikes: flying pigeon roadster

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
FWIW, I wouldn't do it. Just because other people do something, that doesn't indicate that it is actually safe.

1) Even a pretty tough rack like an Old Man Mountain is only rated for 50-60 pounds. I can't imagine many out there will regularly hold 150+ lbs.
2) The passenger has a pretty tenuous setup; fairly easy to fall off.
3) Believe it or not, low impact falls can be more dangerous than some high-speed falls. At higher speeds you slide (assuming you don't slam straight into something); at slower speeds, you fall straight down and are more likely to break bones.
4) If the passenger starts to fall, and is holding onto you, they could easily drag you down with 'em.
5) I agree the cops won't bust you, but a rack is definitely not a seat. I'm reasonably certain that wording applies to child seats and child trailers.
6) I really can't imagine why it's necessary to begin with. Tell that lazy so-and-so to get their own bike.

I.e., if you want to carry passengers, maybe you ought to get a rickshaw.
Just so you know what I'm talking about:




1) I just looked at the Old Man Mountain racks. They're pretty puny. They attach with tiny little screws to fender eyelets and brake bosses. Even the version that attaches to the axle is no better, as it's basically their normal eyelet rack with an additional part to be supported by the axle. And so counter intuitively, the axle supported version is rated 10 pounds weaker than the normal version. I would not put a passenger on one of those.

The Old Man Mountain is not the sort of rack I'm talking about.

2) Do you mean by falling backwards? I don't know how likely this is, but it seems about the same as riding side saddle on anything else, which people have done successfully in many forms for years.

3) I grant you that falling is not pretty. If you do fall over backwards, you're basically falling three feet onto your head. On a hard surface. But I don't think it's likely.

4) As with 3. I wouldn't do this with someone who I didn't think could balance well.

5) I'm not sure on the wording. That's why I asked. But I don't see how it's definitely not a seat. Or, if it is definitely not a seat, how would it have to be different for you to consider it a seat? I could put a piece of plywood on it to flatten it, maybe put a cushion on it?

6) I also have trouble seeing it necessary. More that it's useful. If I have my bike (maybe I came from work) and meet up with someone who came somewhere on public transit, it would be easier to ride two on the bike than walk the bike.

Rickshaws are inferior for solo riding, which is most of the riding I do.
cbr2702 is offline  
Old 12-28-08, 06:54 PM
  #13  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,714

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 152 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 27 Posts
You asked a question:

Does anyone know if a bolted-on rear rack is usually considered "a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle"?

You got a pretty unanimous reply that, no, a rack is NOT a seat. If you want to ride that way, whatever; we're not gonna stop you. But if it ever went to court I would say you'd clearly lose.
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  
Old 01-04-09, 12:41 PM
  #14  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,119 Times in 815 Posts
As far as the OP's rack goes, no, it's not a good idea. Xtracycle sells racks and parts with the intention of the occasional passenger, and I've always wondered about how the police might treat that. There have been reports of police stopping people for having extra passengers on this forum fairly recently.
unterhausen is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.