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  1. #1
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    Bike Rack Ticket!

    My wife got a $230 ticket yesterday in Surrey for driving with a rear bike rack on her car. Chief Wiggum told her it was obstructing the license plate. He told her that it was fine as long as there was a bike on it (police wisdom at its finest...), but she was to take it off when she was not carrying a bike.

    I have been driving with a bike rack on my car in BC since 2004 and have never had an issue. Quotas? Likely, and so why not target working mothers because the real criminals don't have any reliable income.

    Has anyone ever contested this asinine law in court? If it actually is a problem in BC, then why not target the bike rack manufacturers?

  2. #2
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    In my experience in the U.S. if you don't have a lawyer don't bother contesting it. I fought a ticket on a fail to stop one time and the State trooper lied and lied. He actually had the nerve to say I admitted to running it when he pulled me over. I had told him he had the wrong person. In court I made a fool of him. He admitted he had lost sight of the car, he wrote the wrong color car on the ticket. To any reasonable person it was clear he was full of it. But guess what in the end I'm found guilty, I nearly fell out of my chair! So my opinion is if you can afford to have your own lawyer then fight it. Otherwise pay it and complain about it for years later...
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  3. #3
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    Bummer about the ticket, but the cop is likely right in that it's illegal to block the license plate of your car. Decent chance it is still illegal with a bike on the rack but the cops give people a pass because there are limited options for transporting a bike. I really don't think it is an asinine law to say you can't block the plate, so I doubt you would have much luck in court. This is probably just a live and learn kind of situation.

  4. #4
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    Damn the man.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    Bummer about the ticket, but the cop is likely right in that it's illegal to block the license plate of your car. Decent chance it is still illegal with a bike on the rack but the cops give people a pass because there are limited options for transporting a bike. I really don't think it is an asinine law to say you can't block the plate, so I doubt you would have much luck in court. This is probably just a live and learn kind of situation.
    It's frustrating because it's legal to sell them, install them and collect tax on them, but just don't use them. The law is misdirected at the end user and is quite punitive ($230 fine). This affects every user of hitch mounted racks in BC. Surely we can do better than this? In Australia you can purchase a kit to fit the license plate onto the rack, and I believe it is illuminated as well. Anyone know of that setup in BC?

  6. #6
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    It's because your speed ticket vans in BC can't photo your car and mail you a ticket if your license plate is not visible (I got one of those mailed to me once, I assume those vans are still around?). How dare you potentially limit the amount of fines they can send you?!

  7. #7
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    This is why I love hitch racks, because you can take them off when you are not using them (leaving the car "clean" aerodynamically and free of any handling issues). I try not to leave it on if I don't have my bike in the rack, although having some place close to your car in the garage to store it helps immensely.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalexi View Post
    My wife got a $230 ticket yesterday in Surrey for driving with a rear bike rack on her car. Chief Wiggum told her it was obstructing the license plate. He told her that it was fine as long as there was a bike on it (police wisdom at its finest...), but she was to take it off when she was not carrying a bike.

    I have been driving with a bike rack on my car in BC since 2004 and have never had an issue. Quotas? Likely, and so why not target working mothers because the real criminals don't have any reliable income.

    Has anyone ever contested this asinine law in court? If it actually is a problem in BC, then why not target the bike rack manufacturers?
    $230?!? That's deeply F'ed up!! I got popped for it, and it was a $50 fix-it ticket, which was still BS if you ask me.

    I've since switched to a 1Up rack which does not block my plate, but I didn't switch for this reason. It did factor into my decision, tho... I wanted a rack that would fold up small enough to fit in the trunk space of my wagon or sedan. The Kuat and T2 would not.

  9. #9
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    Should be a fix it ticket. I would fight it.
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  10. #10
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    I occasionally worry about this myself. If I get pulled over I'm going to say I just dropped my bike off or that I went riding earlier and forgot to remove it. I have had cops in my town pull up behind me with no issues yet and here in Newport Beach, CA the cops tend to find silly reasons to pull people over.

    "Live and learn situation?" F-that! It's pretty easy for cops to find a car with a bike rack on it if someone calls in to report it for some reason. And with my T2 people can still see my license plate well enough to read most if not all of it.

  11. #11
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCtrailMonkey View Post
    I occasionally worry about this myself. If I get pulled over I'm going to say I just dropped my bike off or that I went riding earlier and forgot to remove it. I have had cops in my town pull up behind me with no issues yet and here in Newport Beach, CA the cops tend to find silly reasons to pull people over.

    "Live and learn situation?" F-that! It's pretty easy for cops to find a car with a bike rack on it if someone calls in to report it for some reason. And with my T2 people can still see my license plate well enough to read most if not all of it.
    It didn't work for me, and it was true.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zalexi View Post
    It's frustrating because it's legal to sell them, install them and collect tax on them, but just don't use them. The law is misdirected at the end user and is quite punitive ($230 fine). This affects every user of hitch mounted racks in BC. Surely we can do better than this? In Australia you can purchase a kit to fit the license plate onto the rack, and I believe it is illuminated as well. Anyone know of that setup in BC?
    A lot of things are legal to sell, but an be illegal to use. Hell, not all vehicle will have their plate covered with the rack either.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    I had a Danbury CT cop pull me over and make me remove the two bikes and rack from the back of the car. My buddy had to drive 90 minutes round trip with my car to go home and get his pickup so he could come get me, our two bikes and the rack.
    Last edited by gravitylover; 10-06-2013 at 09:13 AM.

  15. #15
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    Texas has a specific exemption to their license plate law (covering it up anyway) that allows for a normally mounted bike rack on the back of the car.... and we aren't even that much of a bike friendly state!
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  16. #16
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    Last edited by Gritter; 10-31-2013 at 03:55 PM.

  17. #17
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    Also, most US police departments use bike racks with cheap hanging bike racks that obscure the license plate for their "bike patrol". Make sure to get some pictures and video of them driving around with the bike rack on. That would be excellent in court.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Also, most US police departments use bike racks with cheap hanging bike racks that obscure the license plate for their "bike patrol". Make sure to get some pictures and video of them driving around with the bike rack on. That would be excellent in court.
    "Do as we say, not as we do"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    I had a Danbury CT cop pull me over and make me remove the two bikes and rack from the back of the car. My buddy had to drive 90 minutes round trip with my car to go home and get his pickup so he could come get me, our two bikes and the rack.
    haha gravity, i lived in danbury for 6 years, grew up across the border in carmel, ny. i was pulled over as well on my way to work one day, in ridgefield i think. i only received a warning though, since i wasn't carrying my bike at the time. they sure are tough over there.

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