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  1. #1
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    Does Virginia have a law about bike racks blocking rear license plates?

    So Barney Fife pulled me over tonight and told me that I had to go home and take my Thule T2 bike rack off of my car because he couldn't see my license plate. I've be hauling around a rack on my cars for at least 8 years. They all have uprights that come in front of the rear plate.

    Has anyone else encountered this?


    Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJen View Post
    So Barney Fife pulled me over tonight and told me that I had to go home and take my Thule T2 bike rack off of my car because he couldn't see my license plate. I've be hauling around a rack on my cars for at least 8 years. They all have uprights that come in front of the rear plate.

    Has anyone else encountered this?


    Upon further searching, indeed it is illegal to obstruct the view of your license plate. Now as for whether I take this 80lb rack off of my car, that's a big negative. I'll figure out someway to move my plate. What a load of s&^#.

    Why does the world hate cyclists so much?
    Enjoying the trails one pedal stroke at a time...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJen View Post
    Upon further searching, indeed it is illegal to obstruct the view of your license plate. Now as for whether I take this 80lb rack off of my car, that's a big negative. I'll figure out someway to move my plate. What a load of s&^#.

    Why does the world hate cyclists so much?
    Not sure about VA but I know in MD you have to have 2 lights above your tag, regardless of where it is mounted. Might be something to look into if your gonna relocate your tag.

  4. #4
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    Here is the VA state statute. Actually what sate do you live in?
    46.2-716. How license plates fastened to vehicle; altering appearance of license plates.

    A. Every license plate shall be securely fastened to the motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer to which it is assigned:

    1. So as to prevent the plate from swinging,

    2. In a position to be clearly visible, and

    3. In a condition to be clearly legible.

    B. No colored glass, colored plastic, bracket, holder, mounting, frame, or any other type of covering shall be placed, mounted, or installed on, around, or over any license plate if such glass, plastic, bracket, holder, mounting, frame, or other type of covering in any way alters or obscures (i) the alpha-numeric information, (ii) the color of the license plate, (iii) the name or abbreviated name of the state wherein the vehicle is registered, or (iv) any character or characters, decal, stamp, or other device indicating the month or year in which the vehicle's registration expires. No insignia, emblems, or trailer hitches or couplings shall be mounted in such a way as to hide or obscure any portion of the license plate or render any portion of the license plate illegible.

    This of course says "trailer hitches", and the title of the statute has nothing to do with obstruction of license plates "How license plates fastened to vehicle; altering appearance of license plates"

    A bike rack is not a hitch. If this was the case then 1000's of vehicles a day would be in violation.

    What law did he site on the ticket?
    Last edited by nov0798; 10-17-2013 at 10:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Ive gotten a couple of verbal warnings that prompted me to mount my license plate on the bike rack itself. I know many of my friends still have their racks on and have had no issues, so ymmv. I suspect that its a minor offense that wouldn't get you a ticket by itself, but could be tacked on if you were speeding or something. But to answer your question directly: yes I have, twice.

  6. #6
    "They Call Me Bone'z"
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    Like they said it is a ticket-able offense in VA, I don't remember how much it is though. I'd have to check. There are traffic codes for failure to display and improper display as well.
    If anyone really wanted i could get them and what it would cost you.
    RAH!

  7. #7
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    Well she isnt failing to display, or improperly displaying the tag. I would like to know exactly what statute she was written for.

  8. #8
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    It says the plate has to clearly visible in #2 so just move your plate like others suggested. I have a KUAT sherpa and it blocks my plate when folded up so I expect to be stopped one of these days.

    It's pretty obvious why law enforcement wants your plate to be visible. However, I can't see many cops actually caring that much. It would be good reason to stop you though and check for DUI or drugs or maybe if your hot and they wanted to converse about cycling!! (not that I know anything about VA law enforcement )

  9. #9
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    Trailer hitches rarely obscure license plates. Bike racks don't obscure license plates.
    A giant 5th wheel trailer does. A bike rack 's load of bicycles may.
    But neither of those things or anything attached to a trailer hitch are mentioned in the statute.
    The legislative intent is clear. Just the hitch assembly is being regulated.
    If an unloaded bike rack blocks your plate, you would fall under the reg and you should move your plate. Put it in the back window.

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