Reading this question about the best way to lift a bike on to a pictured rack, it struck me that I'd be less worried about how to lift the bike than the potential for damage by hanging the bike from its front wheel's rim.

Many racks involve putting the rim into a trough or groove, or something like this attached to a wall: butterfly wall mount

Surely the danger from being struck from the side and bending the rim is quite large? For this reason I try to avoid any rack that I have to put my bike in rather than against or on.

While the concensus seems to be that public rack owners might not be liable for theft, might they be liable for contributory negligence if a bike is damaged directly as a design flaw in the rack?

3 Answers 3


I am not a lawyer, but it looks to me that it would be a big no. It is your decision to put it in the rack.

And in any case, they are actually pretty good - they are the most common type and I have never had one cause any damage in 35 years.

  • Good point - in practice they do not damage wheels even if they look like they should. I park side on to this type of rack when I can because you can lock to them. This locking problem (only the front wheel) is the biggest problem IMHO. Aug 9, 2011 at 10:05
  • The locking opportunities are certainly poor in the type pictured, but I object to the way you need to ram your bike in there to gain suitable friction to hold it still. BTW, that's the question I'd already referenced in mine ...
    – Unsliced
    Aug 9, 2011 at 13:05
  • Hmm - I never ram my wheels into them. You always put the back wheel in, then you don't need much force at all. (I hadn't spotted that about the link - sorry:-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Aug 9, 2011 at 13:31

I have seen lot of damage wheels from racks like this, the probem is they are are often fitted too close, so when someone take there bike out, they have to fight with yours.

There is also no good way to lock the bike to the rack with most locks.

  • Yes, it does look like a low budget rack to me, but they are provided free of charge in most cases.
    – Moab
    Aug 9, 2011 at 16:22
  • 1
    @Moab,but car divers expect to have space to walk beside there car even in "free of charge" parking spaces.
    – Ian
    Aug 9, 2011 at 16:27

In almost all cases the owner/provider of a rack is not liable for damage or theft occurring while your bike is parked at the rack.

In this type of rack, which I don't like but sometimes have to use, I will almost always back my bike in and attach the rear wheel. I think this has the following advantages:

  • You have the rear triangle structure surrounding the wheel which is more secure to lock to and may protect the wheel from some types of damage.
  • Your handlebars are now 'out front' making it easier for someone else to park their bike front-wheel in.
  • Conversely, when I have to use this type of rack I go in front first because when the handlebars are 'out' this makes them more likely to move about, endangering the rear wheel in the rack. If the rear wheel is out, then the bike is less mobile.
    – Unsliced
    Aug 10, 2011 at 14:32
  • @Unsliced - valid point.
    – Gary.Ray
    Aug 10, 2011 at 17:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.