Bikes on California Buses

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Matt Childs // 09.25.2017

There are two things that California is known for, sunshine and bike racks on buses. Well, maybe not the bike racks on buses as much as the sunshine, but the two go hand-in-hand. Here’s the issue.

The state of California has self-imposed legislation, California AB-2707, that allows transit agencies to equip their buses or trolleys with a folding device “if the device is designed and used exclusively for transporting bicycles. The device, including any bicycles transported thereon, shall be mounted in a manner that does not materially affect efficiency or visibility of vehicle safety equipment, and shall not extend more than 40 inches from the front body of the bus or trolley coach when fully deployed. The handlebars of a bicycle that is transported on a device described in this subparagraph shall not extend more than 46 inches from the front of the bus,” so says the statute.

It’s great that bikes are allowed on buses; they help many individuals make their commutes possible, but these length laws have safety impacts. At Sportworks, we’ve seen a few solutions that have been utilized but must stress that we do not recommend them. For example, one method that has been implemented to meet the 40 inch requirement involves shortening the distance between the front mask of the bus and the first bike position. To achieve this, the standoff bracket component of the bike rack must be shortened; Sportworks does not recommended this strategy. Doing this is extremely dangerous, as the handlebars of a bike placed in the first bike position will either touch or nearly touch the windshield. It’s clear where this is going. Imagine this scenario, the handlebars are within the plane of the windshield wipers, it’s raining and the bicycle gets lifted out of the rack by the force of the windshield wipers coming in contact with the handlebars. No one wants to get hit by a flying bicycle while driving down the highway.

But since bike racks are necessary, what is there to do?

There are three solutions to consider in compliance with the 40-inch law.

Solution #1: Purchase an Apex 2 transit bike rack. This rack meets all length restrictions, has 2 bike positions and has the transit tough frame you are searching for.

Solution #2: Purchase a stainless steel Modified Trilogy bike rack. This bike rack meets all length requirements, has 3 bike positions and has been used in California for many years.

Solution #3: Apply for a waiver to exceed the 40 inch length requirement. Many California transit agencies have approved waivers and are using the Apex 3 bike rack (length of 42.5 inches) as their preferred bike rack of choice. As a reminder, the Apex 3 has modular trays and is compatible with the Sportworks Bike Counter Harness, Fat Tire Trays (Coming Soon) and Ad Panel.

For more information on submitting your waiver or purchasing the Apex 2, Apex 3 or Modified Trilogy, contact us by calling 425-483-7000, emailing, or submitting a request a quote form.

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