Is it OK for the bike rack to cover the license plate?

One of the many questions that cyclists ask while driving with their bike racks is, is it OK for a bike rack to cover a license plate? You may not be aware of this but, some states are strict concerning driving with bike racks because some block the license plate.

Rear bike racks are different from other racks because of where they are mounted on your vehicle. As a result, they obscure not only your vehicle’s plate but also the rear lights.

If you have a rear-mounted bike rack, this article will help guide you on what to do to avoid penalties. Keep reading to learn more.

Is it OK for Bike Rack to Cover License Plate?

No, it is not OK for your bike rack to cover or block your vehicle’s license plate number. The law prohibits driving with an obscured or covered license plate in a way that hinders the visibility of your residing jurisdiction from any reasonable distance.

The police will pull you over and write you a ticket when caught driving with an obscured private plate.

In other words, you can mount your bike rack anywhere on your vehicle as long as it does not block or cover the vehicle’s plates.

It is a common violation in most states, and the officers won’t hesitate to write you a ticket. For this reason, you need to either get a different bike rack or buy a big truck.

Also check: Do Bike Racks Need Lights? 

But, don’t let this worry or deter you; if you observe all other traffic rules, you may not be issued a ticket.

Can I Make My Own Number Plate for Bike Rack?

No, you cannot make your own number plate for bike rack. However, you can make your own number plate holder and then use it with your issued number plate. 

Ensure you get a standard-sized number plate issued by the state.

The law warns against using your own DIY plate, which is why you should consider getting a supplementary plate.

To get a supplementary plate, you need to own the vehicle and have a driver’s license. In addition, you must part with a small fee to complete the process.

A supplementary plate is different from a normal plate in terms of size. It also has the supplementary word written on it.

Ensure you the plates aren’t obscured by dirt or mud and that they can be visible even from a distance.

Is it illegal to make your own number plate?

Yes. It is illegal to make your own number plate.

Even if it feels like a good idea, you will be fined or, worse, spend some time in jail. This is against the law because the plate will be different from those issued by the state.

Some people make them from cardboard and paint them with colorful paints; though it may seem adorable, it is bad.

However, you can purchase a private number plate, but you will have to part with a large sum of money.

Before you rush to get one, you should know that it is illegal to have got a private plate for the wrong reasons, like hiding the age of your vehicle.

How to Attach a License Plate to a Bike Rack?

Attaching a license plate to your bike rack could be the best option for preventing a possible fine or ticket from the state troopers.

There are two ways you can attach a license plate to your rack. First, get a License Plate Relocation Kit, mount the plate bracket to the rack. Once you do this, you can easily attach your vehicle’s plate to the rack when it is mounted on your vehicle.

The other option involves using a hitch adapter, the dual type. A good example is Curt Dual 2″ Receiver Tube Adapter.

Place the rack on the receiver tube located on the top then the license plate with the relocation bracket on the receiver tube on the bottom.

As a word of caution, avoid driving at night if you use either option, as the license light won’t be shown on the license plate.

License plate Holder with Light for Bike Rack

If you want to avoid tickets or a fine, consider a license plate holder with a light for your bike rack. Unfortunately, most bike racks in the us don’t have them, but those in the UK do. For this reason, you may consider retrofitting yours if it doesn’t have.

Most people buy the rack and the lights, and the license holder separately. However, there are those that make license plate holders for their own racks. A good example is 1Up.

1Up from the US is a rack you should consider. Though expensive, the rack is securely designed, and it comes with a plate holder and a light bar.

Are There Bike Racks That Don’t Cover Licenses Plate?

Yes, there are bike racks that don’t cover the license plate on your vehicle.

As you know, there are several things you should consider when choosing a bike rack. But one that is important is choosing a bike rack that doesn’t cover license plate.

Any type of rear-mounted bike rack will result in some degree obscure the license plate, which is against the law. For this reason, you should consider other bike racks that won’t give you the same problem.

The bike racks are roof-mounted bike racks and some trunk-mounted bike racks.

  • Roof-mounted Bike Rack

A roof-mounted bike rack is mounted on the roof instead of the rear of your car. This then allows your rear to be visible, including the license plate.

You need to consider this type of rack, especially if you live in a strict state against blocking license plates.

  • Trunk-mounted bike racks

Some types of trunk-mounted bike racks do not obscure the license plates; they offer clear visibility for your license plate.  The bike racks include Hollywood Racks F1B, Saris Bones.

Also see: Are Trunk Bike Racks Safe?

  • Hollywood Racks

Hollywood racks can hold up to three bikes without any problems. The racks also fit any type of vehicle.

This rack does not obscure the license plate because it is fitted with three contact points that rest away from the license plate.

  • Saris Bones

Saris bones also have contact points that rest outside the license plate area. One thing that makes this bike rack popular is that it is made of quality materials that make it stud and compact.

It is also compatible with different types of vehicles.

There are two different types of this particular bike rack: a three-bike rack and a two-bike rack.

Can I Get an Extra License Plate for a Bike Rack?

Yes, you can get an extra license plate for your bike rack, depending on the state you are in. However, since some states deem it illegal to have your license blocked, you must think of a way of avoiding it.

Getting an extra license plate is not difficult. You must first pay for the plate. Once you have it, attach it to your rear windshield.

However, if you are not transporting your bike, make sure you remove the plate and the rack. Some states don’t allow you to drive with an empty bike rack.

Final Word

Is it OK for a bike rack to cover license plate is a question many cyclists ask themselves. If you want to be on the right side of the law, you need to follow all the rules concerning driving with racks according to your residing state.

Some states can allow you to drive with your rear plates obscured; some won’t be lenient.

The above article should answer all your concerns and keep you calm while driving with your bike rack.

Good luck.