Q&A - Rear Carrier Extensions

danger signI was recently in a parking garage and while leaving hit this low mounted bike rack. It was impossible to see because it was so low and looked like a home made carriage. The damage to my truck bumper is now estimated at $750. Is it illegal for a car to have an unused bike rack like this one? Should I contact this person and are they liable?

hitch mounted cargo carrier

I'm not a good source of information on collision liability as that is an area of civil law that I have no training in. You would need to contact a lawyer for the best advice. I suggest that you use Lawyer Referral for this.

Vehicle dimensions for non-commercial vehicles are found in Division 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

Provisions of Commercial Transport Regulations adopted

19.02 (3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Division, no person shall, without a permit issued pursuant to section 19.06, drive or operate on a highway

(c) a vehicle or combination of vehicles any part of which, or the load upon which, extends more than 4.5 m behind the centre of the last axle of the vehicle or combination of vehicles,

(d) a vehicle or combination of vehicles the load of which extends more than 185 cm beyond the back of the vehicle or combination of vehicles, or

(e) a vehicle so loaded that any part of the load extends beyond the sides of the vehicle.

The last time I inquired, I was told that permits would not be issued to oversize non-commercial vehicles. Current information may be obtained from the Provincial Permit Center by calling toll-free: 1 800 559-9688.

I cannot see anything in this image that I would consider to be improper. The carrier was there to be seen and while unfortunate for you, it does not appear to me that this carrier is illegal and that it's owner should be held responsible for you running into it.

Should I contact this person and are they liable?

Reading Section 68 of the Motor Vehicle Act, it is in fact your obligation (in my estimation) to contact that person - otherwise, it's a hit-and-run!

(2) The driver or operator or any other person in charge of a vehicle that collides with an unattended vehicle must stop and must

(a) locate and notify in writing the person in charge of or the owner of the unattended vehicle

Mind you, it would have been a good idea for the Honda owner to reverse into the parking space - though that could make unloading any cargo from his vehicle kind of awkward.

Believe me, I am no fan of the prolifreation of masive bike and carrier racks. A limited degree of annoyance goes to the owners/drivers who consider them a permanent attachement to the vehicle, instead of an as-needed attachement. But I am more annoyed at the manufacturers who design these items to

  • a) be black in colour,
  • b) lack reflective or hi-vis markers,
  • c) do not have fold-up or quick detach options

That makes them very hard spot, especially in the dark and when backing out of opposing stalls.


The damage to my truck bumper is now estimated at $750. ...

Should I contact this person and are they liable?

You hit an unattended vehicle which appears to have been properly parked in a marked parking stall. As @CompetentDrivingBC indicated and based on your description, the obligation resides with you to notify the owner of the unattended vehicle.

My guess is ICBC would find you "at fault" for colliding with a stationary object. Rather surprised that @DriveSmartBC or @CompetentDrivingBC did not raise the all-encompassing s.144:

Careless driving prohibited

144   (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a highway

(a) without due care and attention,

As upset as you may be over the damage to your bumper, it most likely falls in the "cosmetic damage" category and would still mostly likely adequately perform its safety function in the event of another collision.

Meanwhile, If your bumper suffered $750 damage, it also likely rendered unusable the carrier, perhaps beyond repair and perhaps also damaging the hitch or even the vehicle frame. The carrier in the pictured "fortunately" appears to be purely a cargo variant. But consider what if that had been a carrier platform for a mobility scooter?

Either way, you could now have significantly impacted that disabled person's freedom of mobility and likely also generated a significant financial burden as they now are also on the hook for the lesser of their deductible or $750 for a hit-and run claim. Further, they are now not likely in a position to drive to ICBC, the repair center and would have higher costs to find a replacement vehicle that also supports a hitch, plus the cost of the replacement carrier. ICBC may not consider that "accessory" as covered under the insurance policy.

The right thing to do is to contact ICBC or the police and report the indicent so they can contact the other party and either offer to deal with it privately or via ICBC.