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Bike rack ripped off roof - advice

bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
edited August 2017 in Road general
Hi All,

Just had a roof rack + 3 carriers (and 3 bikes) rip off my roof while driving. Nobody hurt thankfully, hover damage to all 3 bikes and the car.

Looking for advice on where I stand regarding who is liable.

I bought the rack and carriers approx 2 months ago (whispbars & Atera carriers), used them last week for my bike + kids on holiday, haven't touched the rack since And then driving to GNBR this morning, doing 70 along the A1 and they ripped off.

Has this happened to you? Are the roof bar company liable? Me? I don't really know how to proceed...any help appreciated...

Cheers

(PS - one of the people in the car is a serving police officer and can attest to me not speeding!)
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  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,153
    These things are tested thoroughly, so unless you can prove the equipment somehow failed, you're the only person liable. The serving officer carries no weight as regards your speed and if they want to do anything should also have warned you for insecure load which carries 3 penalty points. :D
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,840
    As above - you need to prove equipment failure, or just accept that the rack was not properly secured.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    Thanks for response - no idea how I can prove it one way or the other. I'd used the roof bars and bike racks the week before and not taken them off or fettled with them in any way...I appreciate that's maybe not here nor there, bit they're the facts.

    Should I be dealing with the company that sold me the products, or the manufacturers - or my car insurance?
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    I don't know how I can prove equipment failure other than the fact I used the racks the week before and they worked fine. How would one go about proving failure?
  • chippykchippyk Posts: 529
    bigmul wrote:
    I don't know how I can prove equipment failure other than the fact I used the racks the week before and they worked fine. How would one go about proving failure?

    I'd start by looking at how and why it came off, are the fixings intact, is there any evidence that the fixings broke, did the rack shear leaving a part on the car? Establish why or how it came off then work from there. One reason why, if I can, I prefer my bike in the car when travelling.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    Nothing still attached to car, but it's damaged the car as well as the bikes. The reason for not having it in the car is that there were 3 of them....p1ssed off beyond belief
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 5,900
    bigmul wrote:
    Looking for advice on where I stand regarding who is liable.
    Your vehicle, you fitted them, you were driving... Might it be you? Might not be an answer you were looking for.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    orraloon wrote:
    bigmul wrote:
    Looking for advice on where I stand regarding who is liable.
    Your vehicle, you fitted them, you were driving... Might it be you? Might not be an answer you were looking for.

    I totally get that - and I would admit the same, however I have my bike and 2 kids bikes fitted to the same rack and carriers last week without incident, on motorways going further. Since then I haven't remove and refitted - hence the questions.
  • dannbodgedannbodge Posts: 816
    Silly question but did you check all the fixings before loading the bikes?
    If they weren't removed between uses and not checked they could have come loose?
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    bigmul wrote:
    orraloon wrote:
    bigmul wrote:
    Looking for advice on where I stand regarding who is liable.
    Your vehicle, you fitted them, you were driving... Might it be you? Might not be an answer you were looking for.

    I totally get that - and I would admit the same, however I have my bike and 2 kids bikes fitted to the same rack and carriers last week without incident, on motorways going further. Since then I haven't remove and refitted - hence the questions.

    Maybe last week you were lucky? Also, if the racks are the type that use straps, they loosen over time. If you didn't re-tighten them, there's your answer I'm afraid.

    I think this is one to chalk up to experience, at least nobody was hurt and no other cars damaged. The police tend to take unsecured loads quite seriously.

    Probably your insurance will cover this? I can understand you being annoyed, I would be too. Sorry chap :(
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 5,900
    I do sympathise. Tough luck for you.

    I always remove racks after use. Get paranoid about secureness of fit each time I use them; triple check, stop after first few miles and recheck tightness, always recheck any time I stop on a journey. Fixings do have a nasty habit of loosening, a small vibration can work things loose surprisingly quickly.

    As above, look to your insurances, chalk up to bad experience.
  • Bad luck but glad everyone is ok, As above unless you can see any failure of the equipment then they would say it was down to the driver not carrying out checks prior to setting off.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    Thanks for replies - sounds like nothing I can do really. Appreciate that ultimately it's my responsibility as driver, however as mentioned, I'd only just used it with 3 (heavier) bikes 2 days before....and we also didn't get to do the ride!

    Cheers all
  • On the insurance side, do you have a roof carrier on your policy? I would check as some require it extra. If you haven't stated it, it can technically be called a modification and some arsey companies may not pay out in full, i.e. Maybe damage to car but not bikes
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,513
    I travelled for 250 miles with 3 bikes on our roof. Thule roof bars, 2 Elite road bike carriers and 1 Thule channel style for the MTB.

    Each time I stopped I gave the bikes shake. At one stop I noticed that both bikes on the Elites were more wobbly that I liked. I checked the bolts with the allan key and they were not as tight as they were when we started. Obviously I had not tightened then as tight as I should have. I re-tightened but this time used more force. They were fine after that.

    They will flex and move in the wind and that movement has the potential for loosening bolts/nuts. Make sure they are tight or even better add a locking nut.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    TDV once smashed N1 race bike off the top of the car using Waitrose supermarkets underground car park. I just sorta shrugged and claimed for a new one off the household insurance.

    Re "serving police officer" - hmmmm: given lots of recent matters I wouldn't take his word too highly if he's anything like his mates ..........
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    I often see large estate cars driving up to Llandegla with bikes hanging off the back. Inside the car are 2 adults and plenty of room for bikes, always struck me as weird.

    Though I know this isn't relevant to the OP :)
  • Thread is useless without pictures
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • KINGGARYKINGGARY Posts: 89
    Vehicle damage will be covered by car insurance policy, the onus is always on you when making a claim to validate how it happened so you're onto a non starter with the rack as their will be too many variables (fitted correctly, bike fitted corrected etc etc)
    Bikes may be covered under an extension of your household cover, some policies will cover accidental damage away from the home , there is normally a single item maximum claim (this should all be in your policy booklet or available online)
    There may be cover for the roof bars but only if they are a factory fitted optional extra, which it doesn't sound like they are, they will most probably be classed as an accessory and not covered (again check your policy)
    Hope this helps.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    I am not sure you are meant to drive a 70mph with bikes on a rack. The faster you drive the more load is placed on the fixings. The more bikes on the rack the slower your max safe speed as well.

    I doubt anyone is liable.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Did you check the rack before you set off ?

    Saying it was fine last time I used it isn't good enough. This kind of thing can kill people.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    Yes we checked it. Bars rated to 75kg and well within weight limit.

    Bars were whispbars if anyone has them, there are some reports of xterm detaching fro a few forums on a quick search...
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,196
    bigmul wrote:
    I'd used the roof bars and bike racks the week before and not taken them off or fettled with them in any way...

    Doesn't mean someone else didn't. If you've left the rack on the car, doesn't mean someone else hasn't looked
    into 'acquiring' it. For free.

    As several others have stated, need to check it before you load it.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,153
    I use whispbars and if your's were the same as mine with the rubber foot that you tighten around the cars roof rails, then you do need to check they are tight before every journey. The access to the adjustment bolts may be locked behind the cover, but the onus is still on you to check everything is tight. You also need to ensure that the adjustment "push" bolt is tightened in as a vibration over a bump could allow it to loosen the outer foot of the Whispbar. Whispbar tell you to recheck tightness after you put a load on the bars.

    https://youtu.be/REGM_AZDfl4
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    mouth wrote:
    bigmul wrote:
    I'd used the roof bars and bike racks the week before and not taken them off or fettled with them in any way...

    Doesn't mean someone else didn't. If you've left the rack on the car, doesn't mean someone else hasn't looked
    into 'acquiring' it. For free.

    As several others have stated, need to check it before you load it.

    Both the bars and the bike carriers are protected by locks, however everything was checked before we set off...
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,078
    Most guilty culprit is the checker unless there is a manufacturer fault...
    Which should have been picked up by the checker.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • If this were a HGV, the driver is supposed to check the load before and after every move. Simple reason being road vibration or wind can loosen ratchet straps or displace the load. It's their legal requirement to check their vehicle is road worthy and the load is stable. So yes of course a bike rack is not exactly a 6 ton articulated lorry but the principle is the same. Don't assume that when you checked it yesterday it's still fine today.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Weird that you didn't mention you'd checked it in your first four or five posts. You just said it was fine when you last used it.

    If you had checked it I don't see how it would have come loose.
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,513
    I seem to remember Chris Boardman writing in his biography that the he caused the M74 or M6 to be closed after a mountain bike fell off his car when he was heading north on holiday.

    At least the OP is in good company.
  • bigmulbigmul Posts: 208
    cougie wrote:
    Weird that you didn't mention you'd checked it in your first four or five posts. You just said it was fine when you last used it.

    If you had checked it I don't see how it would have come loose.

    When we loaded the bikes we checked that everything felt secure and didn't move about - however to be fair, I didn't check the Allen bolts - therefore as others have said, it's down to me.
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