Bike Hitch racks and the Police- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Bike Hitch racks and the Police

    I had a guy tell me that it is illegal to have rear hitch bike racks as they cover the licence plate (I live in BC).

    Anyone EVER have a problem with getting a ticket or whatever ?

    I am in the process of getting a hitch mount bike rack (sportrack 2EZ, similar to thule T2, but cheaper)

  2. #2
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    I've been driving with the SportRack 2EZ (i think that's the one) for a couple years now on a car, truck, eurovan in Alberta and BC. Not sure what the rules are, but I've never had a problem with police. I've crossed the US border a few times with it as well and they don't even seem to mind that their cameras can't get a good look at the licence plate.

    FWIW, the sportrack is strong and nice for the price (wait for sales at cdn tire) but if you are putting it on something with a tailgate or hatch of somesort, it's a pain in the butt as it gets in the way. You have to take off the bikes in order to fold down the vertical bar.

  3. #3
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    I've had one for years, never had a ticket, but a cop warned my wife that we shouldn't have it on the vehicle when we're not hauling bikes.

  4. #4
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    A cop told me they aren't illegal, they just don't like them.

  5. #5
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    cops suck

  6. #6
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    It would seem odd that they would be able to sell them if they're illegal but I guess it wouldn't be the first thing available for sale that's illegal...

  7. #7
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    This would be the only BC Motor Vehicle Act item that would apply

    BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulation

    3.03 A number plate must be kept entirely unobstructed and free from dirt or foreign material, so that the numbers and letters on it may be plainly seen and read at all times and so that the numbers and letters may be accurately photographed using a speed monitoring device prescribed under section 83.1 of the Act.
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  8. #8
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    My friend was stopped twice by Vancouver police for her bike rack...stating the problem was they could not see the plate. She mounted her license plate on a piece of piano hinge on the frame work of the rack; whether the rack is in use or up the plate flips about and is visible.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by htpride
    My friend was stopped twice by Vancouver police for her bike rack...stating the problem was they could not see the plate. She mounted her license plate on a piece of piano hinge on the frame work of the rack; whether the rack is in use or up the plate flips about and is visible.

    Ya, I am betting that my licence plate wont be visible once I put 3 bikes on the back on the platform rack (Swagman 4 place).

    Wonder why none of the bike rack companies are not thinking about this.....?

  10. #10
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    $$$$

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadwrong666
    Wonder why none of the bike rack companies are not thinking about this.....?
    Most of the racks are designed and manufactured for use in the largest consumer market, which is the U.S.A., and most of the vehicle codes for each state only require the rear plate must be illuminated and must not have any covering (like those plastic covers meant for "cleanliness").

    In states that have started using the automated systems to issue tickets, the state vehicle codes have been changed to require a front license plate, and the cameras are positioned to take a photo of either just the front or both front and rear of the offending vehicle.

    The logic is that you will more likely have obstructions at the rear of a vehicle (bike rack, trailer) than at the front. Also, with the higher resolutions cameras now have, many of these systems can get a good photo of the license plate and the driver, making it harder for a person to try to say they were not driving the vehicle when questioned in court.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by htpride
    My friend was stopped twice by Vancouver police for her bike rack...stating the problem was they could not see the plate. She mounted her license plate on a piece of piano hinge on the frame work of the rack; whether the rack is in use or up the plate flips about and is visible.
    Was she fined? How much if so?

  13. #13
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    just used a rack for a two week trip to BC, it said in the manuel to not let the bike obscure the plate. I know that you can buy plate holders that move your plate onto the back of some racks I think mec had them for about $5

  14. #14
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    I was just on a two week trip in BC with a receiver rack holding two bikes that obscured the plate from the direct rear. It holds the bikes away from the vehicle enough that you can see the plate from the side, such as from the next lane of traffic.

    I had a lot of police behind me during my travels (probably due to driving like a Californian) but I received no hassle. Perhaps it was due to the usual difficulty getting a ticket adjudicated on an out-of-towner that the cops left me alone. I don't know what would have happened with a locally registered vehicle...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bokchoicowboy
    I was just on a two week trip in BC with a receiver rack holding two bikes that obscured the plate from the direct rear. It holds the bikes away from the vehicle enough that you can see the plate from the side, such as from the next lane of traffic.

    I had a lot of police behind me during my travels (probably due to driving like a Californian) but I received no hassle. Perhaps it was due to the usual difficulty getting a ticket adjudicated on an out-of-towner that the cops left me alone. I don't know what would have happened with a locally registered vehicle...

    We so many people with bike racks, I havent heard any problems either....especially in BC.

  16. #16
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    I drove almost 3,000 miles in BC EVERY summer for the last 7 years and Ive never had a problem.

  17. #17
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    My hunch is that it depends on who peed in their cornflakes that day or if they need to bump up the ticket quota as to whether they need to ticket a relatively minor infraction. They are likely told to back off of tourists, since bikes on a rack and out-of-province plates mean money in the economy.
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  18. #18
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    Just did about 1000 Km with 3 bikes on the back with going to mainland and to the island with no problems. Although I dont recall any cops behind me....hopefully they have better things to do.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadwrong666
    We so many people with bike racks, I havent heard any problems either....especially in BC.
    i have a hitch mounted swagman three bike and had the rack off, but the lower part which is installed via trailer hitch balls, which is directly in front of the sticker for my plate, and a cop in Richmond BC where I live pulled me over and gave me a warning to remove it, because he could not see the sticker nor the date of insured on the plate... this was lastyear and I haven't been pulled over since, but i can certainly see his point...

  20. #20
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    Since they ditched photo radar cameras they're likely less pissy about it, it's just the red light cameras now that need to see your plate.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    Since they ditched photo radar cameras they're likely less pissy about it, it's just the red light cameras now that need to see your plate.
    wow I see photo radar cams on RCMP cars all the time... i didn't know they ditched them... are they doing this illegally then?

  22. #22
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    Unmanned photo radar was booted when the Liberals came in, obviously they were getting too many tickets. Radar (or more specifically Lidar) have to be manned now, they have to catch you in the act, they can't just send a ticket to the owner's address.
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  23. #23
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    If this were true, then trailers and boats are out too (the license plates on trailers are different from the one on the vehicle).

    You have a hitch and you are allowed to use it.

  24. #24
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    The trailer plate is enough to track you down to send you a red light camera ticket.
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