With a couple of miles of quiet lanes, and around 10 miles of fairly straight bike path that takes me right to a river I'd like to go kayaking in. I've got a trailer that my daughter is too tall for and which I could modify. So I wondered about towing my kayak by bike. The boat in question is already 2.3m long; when behind my hybrid it would mean a vehicle of over 4m. This is only as long as a normal car. I have to admit, this is more for curiosity than something I'm likely to do, as there are awkward bits of bike path even for a normal-sized trailer

We've already discussed the practicality of towing boats behind bikes, this question is specifically about whether it's permissible (i.e. not forbidden either by law or by "...should..." clauses in the Highway Code). I'm interested in the UK situation; answers for other jurisdictions won't get accepted but should get upvotes from me

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    Not an answer as I can't reference any legal text: Bike trailers for kayaks exist and they to ship to the UK: carryfreedom.de In there FAQ they write that their trailers comply with European safety and transportation standards but also that you'll have to check the legal situation in your respective country ... and to apply common sense.
    – linac
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 10:11
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    I've seen trailers that long on the path before, usually holding gardening supplies or harvest. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 14:29
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    As far as I know there is no UK law as such, most likely as it's not the norm to tow using a bicycle, however there is regulations for Motorcycle which are different to car towing laws, the trailer must be no more than 1m wide and be clearly marked with unladen weight, when hitched it must be no longer than 2.5m from the rear axles. This applies to motorbikes 125cc or more. Not going as an answer as it's not for bicycles as such, just info
    – Dan K
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 7:22
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    I never tried it, but have found out that someone I know tows a sea kayak, i.e. a much longer boat than mine, behind his bike with no trouble (also in the UK)
    – Chris H
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 16:34
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    What's the width for UK bike trailers? I was wanting just under 5ft so I take it not allowed??
    – fpv cowboy
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


I can't find a legal requirement specific to bicycles anywhere. There are width restrictions but not height or length restrictions for bicycles.

It would be "reasonable" to have a trailer no-longer than a trailer towed behind a motor vehicle so there's an existing precedent already set.

Basically length is governed by the corners you want to go around. So a silly-long trailer combination becomes impractical on a bike path with chicanes or a small road.

Taking reasonable precautions with flags and additional lighting (even in daytime) will mitigate risk.

From https://can.org.nz/node/12541
From https://can.org.nz/node/12541

enter image description here
From https://www.cycletrailers.co.nz/

(I know the maker of these trailers personally but have no other connection)

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    There are a couple of spots where I'd have to get off and push through a chicane, but apart from that the path is really suitable. It's an ex railway, so quite straight except for joining/leaving it and where the path crosses a heritage railway.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 19:56
  • please would you link references to the bicycle width restrictions
    – jhnc
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:10
  • @jhnc line 1 says "I can't find a legal requirement specific to bicycles anywhere" however I'm making enquiries. More-to-come.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 20:41
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    Sorry, I misinterpreted the first sentence to be about trailers but the second to be about bicycles themselves. My bad.
    – jhnc
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 23:28

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