Carrying bikes by car in France - what's the real position on stap-ons?

by dafyddp   July 2, 2013  

Might be taking bikes to France this year, but someone told me that the french Police have been cracking down recently on UK cars arriving in Calais carrying bikes with strap-on racks.
As I understand it, tow-bar racks are fine because they mechanically attach to the car, but the strap-on ones aren't considered suitable.

The rack I've got is a Thule 3 bike one, and so long as it's been attached properly is pretty bomb proof - I've done hundreds of miles with three bikes on the back this way in the UK. Our family car (a Chrysler Grand Voyager) has a tow bar and electrics, so I could go out and get a tow-bar version, but I'd just like to clarify the rules first.
Appreciate I'll need a lighting board/number plate either way.



9 user comments

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Well my brother and I traveled from s Wales down to Alpe d'huez last year then to Paris with no numberplate showing or an electrics board and not a single gendarme batted an eyelid ....or a UK copper ...go figure Surprise

posted by chiv30 [876 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 16:17


With such a large car, and the threat of theft off the back of the car in France, why not put the inside using something like this?

posted by Hector Ch [52 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 19:57


not sure, but I do know you have to have safety stuff in the boot, hi vis clothing, etc, make sure you check that out

posted by billyman [124 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 19:58


And a breathalyser test, warning triangle .........

posted by Alan Tullett [1457 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 20:29


No space unfortunately! Four kids and all our stuff fills the boot.

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [166 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 23:12


yeah got all that - we've done the trip a few times, but this will be the first with bikes

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [166 posts]
2nd July 2013 - 23:13

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The best position for using 'strap-ons'?!

Think you may be on the wrong site, but I can't help you out on that one I'm afraid! Wink

posted by 700c [567 posts]
3rd July 2013 - 14:52

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Could you get ones for the roof bars, if you have them, as they might possibly be cheaper than a tow hitch one? It would also negate the lights, vision and overhang issues of driving in Europe. Just a height thing for ferry or train so tell them.
Definitely check up with what you need to carry the AA or RAC sites should tell you.

Warning triangle, it was two in Spain before?

Breathalyser, in France

Hi-Viz tabards for every occupant, there are minimums on reflective areas so check if they meet them.

Spare bulbs are not a bad idea, requirements in certain countries as are a First Aid kit and Fire extinguisher.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [467 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:27


For the cycling part you will need to carry a hi viz vest in case of poor visability. The standard vest workmen use here with two verticle and two horizontal stripes has the right BS# Also bike has to have both rear and front reflectors. The gendarmes tend to be a bit stricter on this than the Brit Police.

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posted by giff77 [1059 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:45

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