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Tow Hook: What are the rules for the bike rack?

The tow hook represents the safest and most stable way to carry your bikes with you. Let's look at the Italian regulations.

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The towbar bike carrier is stable and, an important advantage, has a high load capacity which is therefore suitable for e-bikes. And opening the trunk with the bikes mounted is not heresy.

Peruzzo bike rack

So what are the disadvantages? Certainly the high cost: in addition to purchasing the bike rack, the approval and installation of the tow hook must be considered.

WHICH TOW HOOK TO CHOOSE?

Maybe you don't know that there are 3 types of hooks: fixed, extractable and retractable.
In the first case the hook always remains visible and can no longer be removed. In the extractable model it is possible to remove the protruding part but the fixing bracket and the connector for the electrical circuits remain visible. The third type, retractable, becomes completely invisible when not in use.

Of course there is a price difference with the significantly cheaper fixed tow hooks. Just to give you an idea, the total costs (installation + approval) can approach €1000 for the most well-maintained retractable tow hooks.

THE COMPANY THAT FIGHTS AGAINST THE ABSURD TOW HOOK LAW

WHAT LICENSE DO YOU NEED TO HAVE TO DRIVE WITH A TOW HITCH?

To drive your car with a tow hook you don't need a license other than B but, naturally, it depends on what you attach to the tow hook (therefore the size). As long as it is a classic bike rack (even for 3 bikes), a B license is sufficient.

We were talking about space: the reference articles are n. 61 and no. 164 of the Highway Code. Here are the rules that interest us:

  • The load it can protrude up to 3/10 of the length of the vehicle at the rear. The only thing to be careful is if you put the bike rack on small cars: you could overshoot them;
  • The load it can protrude laterally no more than 30 cm per side;
  • The maximum load height is 4 metres (impossible to go beyond in case of rear tow hook).

ATTENTION: UPDATES TO THE RULES DECEMBER 2023

With the Smart it's a snap to go beyond more than 3/10 of the vehicle's length at the rear.

HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN I LOAD ON THE TOW HOOK?

As regards weight, the load limit permitted on the hook must be respected. So it varies from model to model. When transporting 3 e-bikes, the weights should not be underestimated.

TESTING YES OR TESTING NO

No obstruction: NO Testing
In the cases of absence of obstruction (even partial) installation can take place without the obligation to update the booklet (now DU – Single Document) and without the application of the repeater plate. In these cases the structures must be considered integral parts of the vehicle as long as they fall within the gauge and mass limits referred to in articles 61 and 62 of the CDS.

Obstruction (even partial): YES Testing
In the cases of obstruction (even partial) of the above-mentioned elements, it is necessary to repeat the lighting and visual signaling devices and the plate and, consequently, the installation involves the Motorization testing pursuant to art. 78 of the CdS, with consequent updating of the Registration Card (now DU – Single Document).


TOW HOOK INSTALLATION

The procedure for installing the tow hook is as follows. After 30 days the motorist, alone or through an agency, requests the Civil Motorization to update the registration document by attaching only a declaration from the workshop of perfect execution of the works. The Civil Motorization Office will send the adhesive coupon to be placed on the vehicle registration document.



Written by

[email protected] I am a fan of everything that has 2 wheels: at a young age I practiced road and track cycling (Italian Allievi champion). At the age of 18 I passed into the cross country competing at national/international level as an Under23. Past Elite, I made the choice to take things more lightly from a training point of view, and my love for gravity disciplines was born, training me as an FCI MTB instructor and guide. Now I have made passion my profession by managing 2 MTB centers on the island of Elba (Bike Center Elba and Elba MTB), creating the FANTAmtb and telling in an ironic but professional way everything that revolves around MTB thanks to 365mountainbike and 365TV (YouTube'PULITI dentro BIKER fuori').

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