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Is it illegal to use bicycle trailers? Answered

Right, so I want to build a bicycle trailer that will carry a kayak and also is used for something else, but that's for an iBle, and not the point. As we all know, bicycles are considered vehicles in all 50 states. But, trailers that are pulled by motor vehicles have to have registration and tags. Is it so with bicycles? I don't want to break any laws, so if anyone has an answer, I'd appreciate it!



6 months ago

I could look it up (if a bike trailer requires registration or something), but my jurisdiction is different from yours. Nowadays, most legal questions can be answered by searching the internet. Granted, you often won't discover the actual practices in a given jurisdiction, but you usually can find the written law.

Here in Kansas City, Kansas, the police won't bother you for a bike trailer. I've never used one, but I'm sufficiently familiar with the cops to estimate their response.

However, in Johnson County, Kansas (basically, the metros in southwest Kansas City metro), if you tried to pull a canoe on Medcalf Avenue, the police probably will stop you, run you name, see if they can cite you for something, and usually let you go. But in Jo Co, they harass any bike on a main drag.

Please NO mandatory bicycle-helmet laws in this country(US)!!! I don't see how those awful, dorky, shallow bowls can even begin to save one in a crash!
BTW, I did build a bike trailer several years ago out of re-purposed parts. Its a pretty cool design with springed suspension! Hooks up to left rear fork(like most commercially-made ones do). I want to someday  improve it with better springs, working taillights, and side racks to keep stuff on board. Unfortunately,  it is sitting neglected with no time to work on it!

If you're so confident, I have a challenge for you - cycle towards a tree as fast as you like. As you pass the tree, lean over so that your head clips the trunk...

I have helped cyclists measure their speed by pacing them in my car - they easily did 30-35mph.

My father came off his bike off-road. He needed surgery to fix his arm and back, but his head was fine - his helmet was destroyed.

And how fast do you think the other road users are going?

I know a guy, who, as a pedestrian, was clipped by the wing mirror of a truck doing about twenty; it shattered his shoulder. Imagine if it had been his head?

Simple fact - properly-worn bike helmets save lives.

Maybe so, I live in Australia. Blanket helmet laws on any road. Lives are saved, but the reduction of costly injuries seems to be the motive. No helmet, contributory negligence. No helmet, no insurance. Scope exists for areas free of motor vehicles to be exempt, but it does not happen ? Trailers for surfboards are common in coastal areas.

"Scope exists for areas free of motor vehicles to be exempt, but it does not happen ?"

I refer you to the mention of my father, and, more recently, my son was saved from serious injury in a crash on a forest track by his helmet.

I see your point. I just never wear one because I only ride on a track.(strangely, well padded ones) I see how your friend was hit by a truck. That's why I stay off the roads on my bike.

I meant laws won't fix that. There will still be some idiot who doesn't wear a helmet, and laws don't fix idiocy.(about the hardly top 20 thing, i really can't. i'm just a 6th grader.)

Just get a skaeboarder's helmet. Much better looking, and equal protection.
Try this:

Documentary on the BBC last week - the coroner's office investigating the aftermath of a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian.

Both were knocked out by the collision, but the cyclist recovered after minor treatment, whereas the pedestrian died of his injuries 4 days later.

(The crash was caught on CCTV, and the cyclist was deemed not to have been at fault.)

(Duh, forgot to point out that the cyclist was wearing a helmet.)

I know someone who has brain damage (low-level, thankfully, but still noticeable) from a very low speed bike-rollerblade collision on a sidewalk. He pulled out of the driveway and didn't see the other person because of a hedge and fell over sideways when they hit. His injuries were COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE had he been wearing a helmet.

Now, you also have to wear the helmet properly - buckled on tight enough that it can't slide around, and get one that fits your head. But I'd rather be dorky than brain damaged. (Also, don't get a dorky looking helmet then. Get a cool streamlined one like a bike racer!)

[quote]Please NO mandatory bicycle-helmet laws in this country(US)!!! I don't see how those awful, dorky, shallow bowls can even begin to save one in a crash![/quote]

WRONG. Thousands of people are saved from serious head injury every year due to the correct use of a bicycle helmet. They are so cheap and easy to use, there is no excuse not to.

That's not to say that everyone who is wearing a helmet will be saved in any situation

I wear a bike helmet because i have to, but wear one that is a bright color. I figure that the chance of it saving me because of contact with the ground, object etc is very slim, but the chances of needing to be seen better by motorists is very high. All of these dark colored bike helmets seems really reaally silly to me.

I don't know for sure, but I've never seen a bike with a license plate. That would kinda suck: "sir, can I see your bike license" from a cop.

It's not the governments decision whether we wear helmets or not and that's the way it should be. I always wear a helmet because of the extreame danger and risks assosiated with not wearing one, but still I don't care about other peoples bad decisions, and neather should the gov.

From my facebook:
"Got stopped by police last night. All they wanted was a chat about the trailer. It turns out it is road legal but they just wanted a closer look at it. They took a picture of me with it for the lols. Hopefully I will end up on Cops With Cameras ;)"

Tom Clarke, UK


8 years ago

  Here in Arizona, the City of Phoenix is making a pedal taxi trailer be registered, as well as the one and only bike that pulls it.  Of course this is a business that is not favored by the City of Phoenix and they have also restricted use on particular sidewalks and streets.  It is rumored that Tempe and Scottsdale are soon to do the same.
  Maricopa County Air Quality Control just passed a $25 fee with a sticker for any motorized  "conveyance".   I've seen adults and kids getting $200 tickets regularly since January.
  Hey, I'm as cheap as they come.  I also know myself and if I get a ticket like that............ I'm not going to pay it, and then I got a warrant out for my arrest.           Been there done that, got the pink underwear!   I will pay FAST to avoid green bologna and tent living.

No, bicycle trailers do not have to be registered. I use them all the time. And, there is no restriction on their use. You can use them anywhere you can use your bicycle.

i just posted something about bicycles like that here

If a police officer stops you for using the second-greenest form of transportation there is (arguably the first if you have a loaded trailer), then they are unquestionably an absolute moron. That said, I don't think that there would be any laws governing it. For starters, attaching a hinge and a pair of wheels to a bicycle does not make it a motor vehicle, so it would be out of legal jurisdiction. Also, that would then imply that pulling a wagon or pushing a stroller while walking is using a trailer, and that would just be ridiculous.

Any vehicle, motorized or not, traveling on a road is under police jurisdiction. Some localities require bicycles to be registered (most don't). Several U.S. states require bicyclists (especially those under 18/16/whatever) to wear helmets. Bicyclists which violate traffic rules (running stop signs/lights, failing to yield right of way, riding on the wrong side of the road) may (should) be stopped and cited. As someone else noted, the police may always stop you for safety. If you're riding a bike with a trailer, and your stuff is falling off (or looks like it will), it is more than reasonable for the police to stop you from causing an accident.

Right, I always prepare for the worst. :-) Thanks.

I'm sure it's a non-issue as long as there's no motor involved. Obviously, stay off the interstate and sidewalks. It's also possible that there might be issues if you carried passengers.

I'm not sure if its legal or not, but i'd feel awfully apprehensive about using a homemade trailer...

Mine is made of a stroller I found in a ditch! How 'bout that!


9 years ago

If you were to be riding as a motorist in a vehicle lane in a crowded city, then it may be illegal. but if you were to be riding in a smaller town or so, then I wouldn't think it to be. Just maintain an appropriate speed, or ride on secondary roads...

Well, 2nd biggest city in Georgia, so I dunno about small town, but I would definitely stay on secondary roads or out of traffic as much as possible. Thanks!

If your going to be riding around in a city that sized then you might want to stay on secondary, tridary, and even sidewalks! :D No Problem.

Tertiary, you mean, and sidewalks are illegal as well.

In the UK, if it doesn't have an engine, it doesn't need to be registered. However, if it is unusual, you are expected to be able to demonstrate that it is safe, should the police pull you over. There used to be a family here who all went out on one vehicle - parents rode a tandem, eldest boy went on one of those bolt-an-extra-seat-and-wheel things, followed by the youngest children in a trailer. The whole thing was longer than most cars, but was entirely legal. The kids are older now, and ride their own bikes.