This is the type of event you worry about but hope it's not you . Driving back from a great run on the Granite Way on the edge of Dartmoor, I heard an ominiously very loud clunk and saw my bike landing on the side of the A30 Expressway, this during last evenings rush-hour. I couldn't stop as everything was passing by at 60/70mph including quite a few large trucks. After about a mile ot two I stopped at a layby and started to walk back up the carriageway hugging the narrow grass kerb. When I had perhaps gone a kilometre a guy ran up from behind and said he had the bike in his van. How he managed to stop with a van I can't begin to think.
Back at the layby two police cars appeared obviously alerted by passing motorists as to what was happening. Unbelievably there was was little damage to my Hybrid except for a tear in the saddle and the handlebars were a little twisted. I realise that this could have quickly become a lot more serious especially if the bike had landed in the middle of the road. The car had hit a pothole and the bike had somehow jumped out of the roof bike-rack. If on a long journey I usually back up the plastic straps with secure velcro tapes but didn't on this occasion. Lesson learned.
I don't imagine that the lad from the van ever uses this website, but he he does I again extend my thanks to him. I replaced the saddle today and otherwise everything else appears OK. I'm now looking to investing in a new cycle carrier that is mounted on the tow-bar.
Close shave mate....could have been a lot worse as you say! There are good people around still...have a beer!
I've got into the habit of chaining my bike to the carrier (it's a rear mounted one on a van). One day I looked in the mirror and couldn't see it. In a panic I pulled over and went round the back and it was hanging horizontal, suspended by the chain.
I don't drive, but whenever I get a lift when we're cycling together, it's rear seat down, front wheels out, and bikes in the back.
Driving on holiday in France we pulled over to stay the night in a roadside hotel, I went to check the bikes and found one barely hanging on, with just the wheel straps holding it in place. Spend a few hours next day, a Sunday, looking for a place to buy a new bike rack.
Why I prefer fork-mount carriers.
I once had a kayak fall off the roof of the car on the M4 - to make matters worse, it was black!
Hit the hazard lights, made it to the hard shoulder and got out, expecting the boat to be lying in the middle of a carriageway, and happily watched it gently slide to a halt behind the car - fortunately nothing else around at the time to hit it.
Stinking hot summers day and I'd been stuck in a traffic jam for a long time earlier - seems that had been enough to soften the plastic enough to loosen the straps and vibration down the road for another 80 miles did the rest. I'd been strapping the boat the same way for many trips before that, but added another strap afterwards.
Car had a slight scratch down the rear window, no noticable damage to the boat.
We were driving down the M6 last year, VW van in front with a surfboard tied on top. This suddenly flew off, landed on one end in front of us and bounced straight over our car. Going at 70 in heavy traffic so didn't see what happened next.
Around 15 years ago a good friend was driving through Cumbria and the roof bike rack snapped. Three bikes and rack ended in the middle lane of the M6. Police attended and stopped traffic to allow the rack to be retrieved. The rack couldn't be refitted so one of us collected him and bikes.
A week later a summons arrived. This was defended on the basis the rack was brand new, fitted correctly and this was just an unfortunate accident he could have done nothing to prevent. The Magistrate took a different view and he ended up with 6 points and £250 fine. Apparently the driver is responsible for the load and the method of securing. He then took it up with the manufacturer (major retail chain) with lots of photographic evidence and got nowhere (not even a replacement rack).
> Why I prefer fork-mount carriers.
I use fork mounted carriers and also remove the seatpost (+ mudguards if fitted) to reduce drag on longer journeys. Part of the think is that a bike missing a wheel and seat is also less desirable to steal!
Haven’t trusted a back rack for years following a similar incident at a major junction near where I used to live. Tow bar or roof bars all the way nowadays.
You won't be the first to have this happen.
I passed a car doing 70 on the M4 with a very expensive road bike hanging precariously off the roof having wobbled itself free of most of the ties. That would almost certainly have caused a crash and a very expensive bill.
Glad you and everyone else are OK mate. I'm interested in why you seem to be thinking of ditching the roof rack for a tow bar rack? Less drag = less stresses on the system?
Granite Way has very fond memories for me.
SeaSucker rack and a glass roof - reassuring - you could even see if one of the suckers detaches - not that they do.
Lifting a bike onto the roof can be rather taxing for one that is 70+ and not getting any younger. I've also have 2 electric bikes that really are no joke to lift!
Lucky outcome on more than one level.
I have a Saris boot lid-mounted rack about which I’m a bit paranoid, always check all the straps a couple of miles after I start out. It’s always secure, but I’m aware of the possibility of human error fitting it or the bike.
But it has the huge advantage that I can see the bike in the rear view mirror, and generally also one wheel in a door mirror, so I can see if anything isn’t as it should be.
I remember by brother going to a sailing event once with a double stacked trailer behind him. Being late he was going a bit quick down the bumpy track to the sailing club, and when he got there the trailer had gone. He found it parked in the ditch a few hundred metres back up the track. Idiot, haha.
> Lucky outcome on more than one level.
> I have a Saris boot lid-mounted rack about which I’m a bit paranoid, always check all the straps a couple of miles after I start out. It’s always secure, but I’m aware of the possibility of human error fitting it or the bike.
> But it has the huge advantage that I can see the bike in the rear view mirror, and generally also one wheel in a door mirror, so I can see if anything isn’t as it should be.
I suffer from such paranoia, but the worst was the first time I glued a solar panel onto a van. I had to drive up the motorway to London 24 hrs later, and the whole way I had visions of the panel blowing off, going through an HGV windscreen, killing the driver and causing a massive pile up.
Of course, the glue was more than strong enough, nobody died, and years later when I wanted to move it to a different van I found myself wishing it wasn't so we'll stuck 🤣
Glad I'm not the only one who this has happened to....... M6 in my case. Many years ago, but fortunately for me one of the then very new plastic boats. Wouldn't have made much difference if there was a car right behind though.
Years ago on one motorway, I passed a car with 3 boats on the roof, shortly before pulling into a services for a call of nature. Caught the same car up again a bit later, boats had definitely shifted and think he was about to lose a set of paddles. Managed to get the message across with lots of pointing at the roof - he pulled over and I carried on. Hopefully prevented an accident that day.
I nearly had someone's Christmas tree through my windscreen on the Kendal bypass. I suspect that household wasn't full of Christmas cheer that day !
I was with my mate in his car driving south along the M20 after a day at the Reach a couple of years ago when we suddenly saw cars in front violently swerving. As we got closer the two cars in front swerved in opposite directions to reveal a double bed lying in the central lane! We missed hitting it, and I rang 999 to alert the police and they said yes, they were being inundated with calls reporting it. I never heard the outcome but hope no accident, serious of otherwise resulted. We've often wondered how it got there?
> I was with my mate in his car driving south along the M20 after a day at the Reach a couple of years ago when we suddenly saw cars in front violently swerving. As we got closer the two cars in front swerved in opposite directions to reveal a double bed lying in the central lane! We missed hitting it, and I rang 999 to alert the police and they said yes, they were being inundated with calls reporting it. I never heard the outcome but hope no accident, serious of otherwise resulted. We've often wondered how it got there?
Life in the fast lane, eh!
(I'm here all weekend...)
We were on a M62 trip to Manchester Airport for a family holiday. On the opposite carriageway was a VW camper which lost its roof as its flexible roof ripped off. The whole lot blew over our car. Luck was with us that day.
Pal of mine drove around with a dent in the top of her tailgate for many years after once forgetting that she had the bike on top of the car and driving in to a supermarket car park with a height restriction barrier.
Somewhat surprisingly, the bike survived clouting the barrier and being ripped off the rack just fine (which latter did make one wonder exactly how secure its attachment had been in the first place).
Once I was driving up the motorway between Wales and the Lakes, car full of camping and climbing gear. I was in the middle lane, with a big lorry on my left. Slowly I saw to my horror the boot door slowly rise up. Visions of all my stuff flying out the back of the car onto a busy motorway at full speed packed my head. I couldn't immediately pull over being in the middle lane and boxed in, but ASAP I got on to the hard shoulder and luckily everything was pretty wedged in the way it does when you have to close a full boot so nothing fell out. Ex-gf hadn't shut the boot properly.
I've lost 3 bikes in one go off the back of my car, middle lane of a motorway. I still don't know to this day how it happened. We did stop for lunch somewhere and I should have rechecked the fixings afterwards.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt or even hit the bikes as they bounced on the road behind us. And, unbelievably, there was a plain clothes policeman/unmarked car behind us...he stopped in the middle lane and dragged the mangled metal over to the hard shoulder. We managed to call a friend with a van to take the bikes away (they were all written off IIRC). The policeman didn't give us a lecture, just sympathetically let us get on our way after making sure we were ok.
I now steer clear (perhaps irrationally) of those types of rack. I have a towbar mounted one which feels so much more solid!
Some years ago I picked up a new 15kg cylinder of calor gas and placed it in the back of our hatchback. Driving home on the A470 at some speed I glanced on the rear view mirror and saw the open hatch and the full cylinder bouncing down the main road. Luckily there was no traffic passing in either direction. Once recovered the cylinder was ground to be undamaged and served us well for a few months. These days I carry full cylinders in the passenger footwell!
In the early days of the M6 (late 60s early 70s?) we were coming back from a holiday when we passed a light plane that had somehow made a landing on the central reservation. It made the national news that night!
A bit off subject but still..... Many years ago I was driving around Derby ring road and found myself behind a huge truck about 4 m high loaded with scrap metal. Lying sloping backwards, on the very top, near the back was a huge slab of metal about the size of a door and a couple of inches thick. I don't like the look of that, I thought, and dropped back leaving several car lengths gap. About 20 secs later it slid off on to the road and I drove over the top of it. I think that's the closest I've come (so far) to instant death.