Every driver’s worst nightmare is to be stopped for a traffic infraction. When it involves a bike rack, it’s much more aggravating. So, is it prohibited to drive while using a bike rack?
Also, most states forbid using a bike rack to hide your license plate. If you operate a vehicle with an empty or improperly secured bike rack, you may also be in violation of the law.
You don’t want to incur financial penalties for such crimes that could total hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
How about I explain some of these rack-related traffic laws to you now?
I’ll also explain to you how a bike rack can be used while driving legally.
So, is it prohibited to drive while using a bike rack?
State and even international regulations on using bike racks while driving vary. Yet, the majority of them agree that the license plate must be displayed.
In that situation, blocking the license plate is generally a criminal violation. Also, since we’re talking about the license plate, rear-mounted bike racks are impacted.
- State laws in the US and rear bike racks
There are two different kinds of rear-mounted racks that can cover your license plate.
First, we have racks that attach to the trunk and can completely or partially obscure your car’s license plate.
You might be able to drive with a trunk rack that partially covers the license plate (in some locations), but not one that entirely blocks it.
The hitch-mounted rear rack is the alternative style of rack.
In contrast to the trunk rack, a hinged bike rack is positioned in the center of the car’s front license plate, totally obscuring it from view. So, this is where the traffic marshals are most likely to stop you.
Let’s examine the varied regulations governing using a rear rack while driving in each state in the United States.
Virginia – The VA Code 462-716 states that it is against the law to cover the vehicle’s license plate number while driving. This prohibition includes rear racks.
Colorado – Colorado has recently changed its traffic laws, making it illegal for drivers to completely or partially modify anything on the back side of their vehicles that blocks the license plate.
Florida – When using the rear rack, riders in Florida are permitted to place a color duplicate of the vehicle’s license plate to the back window.
Michigan – Following changes to the traffic laws, blocking the license plate with a back rack is no longer prohibited in Michigan.
Utah – It is acceptable to impede your license in Utah as long as the bike rack is fitted correctly. The regulation covers wheelchairs, trailers, hitches, and other attachments as well as bike racks.
What About Other Nations? Is It Illegal to Drive With a Bike Rack?
Some nations’ legal systems are just as rigorous as those in the majority of American states. For instance, it’s forbidden to drive with a rear rack in Australia if it covers the license plate.
The use of an accessory license plate, a small license plate that you attach to the bike, is permitted, though.
Furthermore, it is against the law to cover the license plate in the UK, according to the legislation. Moreover, mounting a rear rack to a caravan is not permitted.
The rack must be secured and its weight restriction must not be exceeded, which is more crucial.
Automobile bike racks: legal or not
- The Law and Loosely Fitting Bike Racks or Unsecured Bikes
Using an insecure bike rack while driving is likewise illegal. It makes sense that the law perceives this as a safety risk.
The bike could harm your car or someone else’s, or it could injure someone, if the rack unintentionally comes off.
If you don’t lock the bike to the rack, you might also be charged with a crime. In most states in the United States, such a violation carries a fine of up to $5,000 or a jail sentence.
- Law and Empty Bike Racks
While not in use, you must take the bike rack off. Failing to do so is a violation for which you may be penalized.
So, you must go pick up your new bike from the shop before installing the bike rack at home.
In order to fit the bike rack at the bike shop before loading the bike, you might need to carry it.
Driving with an empty bike rack is punishable by a fine of up to $112 in places like New South Wales.
Three Legal Ways to Drive With a Bike Rack
Here are several creative strategies for safely driving with a bike rack.
- Get a bike rack that makes the license plate visible.
It’s important to note that roof-mounted racks won’t cover your license plate, unlike rear racks which often do. They are the ideal solution to prevent plate obstruction.
The limitation of rooftop racks to carrying one or two bikes is a drawback. They are therefore inappropriate if you intend to move more than two bikes.
Why don’t you choose a trunk rack that lets you see the license plate in that situation?
- Adjust the License Plate’s Position
You can also move your license if the rear of the automobile does not clearly display it. If your state’s laws permit it, that is.
Changing the placement of the plate might be a challenging operation. So if you can’t do it, ask a mechanic for assistance.
Also keep in mind that most states need your license plate to be viewable at night. As a result, you must install a light there so that it can be illuminated at night.
- Get an interim license plate
When the original license plate is concealed, you can sometimes get a temporary license plate that you can affix to the bike or any other visible component of the car.
For this temporary license plate, you must pay a nominal cost. It will help the traffic cops comprehend that your license plate is being blocked by the rack.
Nevertheless, as the paper plate is only a temporary solution, you should take it off when not using the bike rack to carry your bike.
- Is Having a Bike Rack Illegal?
A bike rack on a car is not against the law unless it covers the license plate. Nonetheless, blocking a vehicle’s license plate is not always illegal.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that driving with an unlocked bike rack is generally prohibited.
- Are Bike Racks for Cars Legal?
Automobile bike racks are only allowed if they don’t cover the license plate and are securely fastened to the vehicle. In some places, you could receive a fine or spend some time in jail if your bike rack interferes with or obscures the license plate number.
- Can a bike rack cover a license plate legally?
Generally speaking, it’s not acceptable for bike racks to obscure license plates. Actually, doing so is forbidden.
If you do, you risk paying significant fines. That is, unless you obtain a temporary license plate number and attach it to a prominent location on the vehicle.
- Do You Still Keep Your Bike Rack on Your Vehicle, though?
In some locations, leaving your bike rack on your vehicle is against the law. In New South Wales and several other U.S. states, this is the situation.
Your bike rack should only be left on your car in these situations when you’re using it. If not, you need to go off of it.
- Do Bike Rack Lights Need to Be There?
In most states, your license plate must be readable at night. If not, you should install a light there to provide illumination.
- Can You Drive While Mounting A Bike?
You may operate a vehicle with a rack as long as it is placed properly and does not cover the license plate.
Therefore make sure the rack is sturdy and doesn’t block the plate before you get in the car to go on the road trip.
- Can You Drive With A Bike Rack On A Highway?
Although you can drive practically everywhere with a bike rack, some are not a good idea when driving on a highway. For instance, rooftop racks are inappropriate for the highway since they are more likely to get wobbly if you ride faster and farther.
- How quickly can a car with a bike rack travel?
How quickly you can ride with a bike rack is typically determined by things like the rod condition, the style of rack, your driving skills, and the type of automobile. Most seasoned drivers can travel at least 70 mph with a bike rack in ideal circumstances.
Last Thought: Is Using a Bike Rack While Driving Illegal?
Be aware that rules governing using a bike rack while driving vary from state to state. You should become knowledgeable about your state’s laws in order to prevent breaking them and suffering punishment.
Better yet, keep the license plate clear and make sure your bike rack is securely fastened.