Do Bike Racks Need Lights? Find Out if you Need Lights for your Rack

If you have ever asked yourself, “do bike racks need lights?” You are not alone, and you are definitely in the right place. A bike rack is an essential item for cyclists who carry their bicycles with them when on the road.

There are many issues that you must consider when mounting your bike rack, one of them being the issue of visibility. It doesn’t make sense when other road users cannot spot you on the road.

You also need to consider other issues, such as whether it is safe to drive with an empty rack and how you can install a lights board on the rack.

The following article will help you understand everything you need to know about the importance of having lights on your bike rack.

Do Bike Racks Need Lights?

Essentially, bike racks do not need lights if your vehicle’s registration number and rare lights are visible to other road users. 

In most states, the law requires that your vehicle’s number plate and the rear lights be visible every time. While other states allow for partial obscurity, you can be heavily penalized and ticketed in others.

Sometimes this can be difficult when you mount a rear bike rack on your vehicle. For this reason, you need to replicate the racks with an auxiliary lighting kit if the bike obscures your rear lights or registration number.

The auxiliary lighting kit includes an auxiliary number plate holder, light bar, and rack light illuminated with LED lights.

Bike racks tail lights are a safety feature that is essential every time you are on the road with obscured rear lights. Not having the lights on the bike racks will put the lives of other road users in danger.

You can be easily rear-ended because other motorists won’t see the vehicle’s blinker or brake lights when the rack is installed.

Do I Need Lights On My Bike Rack?

If you want to avoid accidents or unwanted expenses, you need to have lights on your bike rack. Whether the law requires it or not, it makes sense to have lights on your bike rack.

If you are always on the road, going on long-distance strips, improving the visibility of your vehicle is essential. You can be pulled over by state troopers for not breaking the law but as a warning for obstructing your number plates and brake lights.

Can You Drive with an Empty Rack?

Yes, it is possible to drive with an empty bike rack as it eliminates the hassle of attaching the rack back to your vehicle every time you want to carry your bicycle.

Think of all the times you have wanted to attach the rack to your vehicle and how easy it could have been only if you had left it.

You also won’t have to worry about anyone stealing your rack as it is not valuable compared to the bicycle. But if this is your worry, you can purchase a security strap then loop it around the rack and into the trunk.

You could also use a steel cable if your car has a tow hook attachment point on it.

With all things said, keeping the rack on your vehicle boils down to your preferences. But it makes sense to leave it on to save time and energy.

Is it Safe to Drive with an Empty Rack?

Driving with an empty rack is not that big of a deal when you think about it, but it is not safe and we would not recommend it.

As you know, installing and removing the rack can be a bit cumbersome, hence leaving them on the vehicle.

But, in a rear-end accident, the damage can worsen both on the vehicle and the motorist. It is also easy for people to run into an empty bike rack and injure themselves.

Different countries have laws against driving with anything protruding from your vehicle, including an empty bike rack.

In addition, there are other things you need to keep in mind. An empty bicycle rack increases noise levels when you are driving. This is because the rack tends to move a lot when it is not weighed down by the bicycle.

If your rack is made of shell materials with large creases, the noise levels can worsen. Even with the absence of the creases, the wind levels can get in the way and increases the noise.

Do You Need a Light Board for a Bike Rack?

Yes, you need a light board for your rear mount bike rack, particularly if the rear lights are obscured.

The essence of the lighting board is to display the vehicle’s plates, rear lights, and reflectors, especially when driving at night.

In case of a rear-end accident, the other motorist could claim that the rear-end lights were not visible, making it essential to have the light board installed.

Besides common sense, the law also warns against not having a light board on. So you can be heavily penalized when pulled over.

How to Attach a Lighting Board to a Bike Rack?

You can attach a lighting board to a bike rack by strapping down the light board on to the bicycle. You will then connect the lighting board connector to the car. 

You can find different methods of attaching a lighting board on your bike; it all boils down to your preference. One cheap means of installing them is, strapping them on the bike rack and hoping the light straps hold them in place.

You could also try using the toe straps to loop them on the rack’s prongs. The loops are fixed on the board such that they are hanging off the prongs on the bike rack. Then use the straps to prevent them from swinging.

Final Word

As you know, it is essential to have a bike rack installed on your vehicle. But, do bike racks need lights is a more important question to ask yourself before embarking on your journey.

Different countries have different laws governing how the racks should be fitted. But the most important thing is that the rack should not obscure the number plate and tail lights.

With all the above information in mind, nothing should prevent you from enjoying your bike rides.

Watch the video below on how to add lights to your bike rack