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Old 04-08-06, 10:04 AM   #1
Michael05
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trunk rack -- block license plate?

Does anyone have recommendations on how to deal with a trunk rack that blocks your rear license plate?

I'm just getting into cycling, and I bought a cheap Bell trunk rack for my wife's 02 Civic, to transport both of our bikes back and forth to local parks. Just planning to use for 10 mile or less drives. The rack itself doesn't obscure the rear plate, but once I put two bikes on the back, the rear plate is unreadable.

I called our state's bureau of motor vehicles, and the guy I talked to suggested ordering a replacement plate, then displaying it in the rear window or on top of the bikes when I have the rack on the car. But when I talked to other people at the local license bureaus, they said that was the dumbest suggestion they'd ever heard of, since it's illegal to drive with two rear plates even if they have the same numbers (???) and they couldn't order an extra plate with the same numbers. Plus the "extra" plate wouldn't have the registration sticker on it, so it'd be illegal anyway.

So then I called the state highway patrol for their advice. Still waiting for a return phone call.

I'd hate to go through the pain of unscrewing the license plate and frame each time I mount the rack, then putting it in the rear window or on a holder on top of the bikes. Maybe someday I might get a more expensive roof rack if I get more serious about cycling, but that's not an option right now.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Anyone deal with this problem before?
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Old 04-08-06, 11:24 AM   #2
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I don't know how strict the police are around your neck of the woods, but it Oklahoma it doesn't seem like they care. I've used several trunk racks, all blocking the plate, and it has never been a problem.

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Old 04-08-06, 11:38 AM   #3
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We have the same type of rack, had 3 bikes on it before and I'm sure that you can't read the license plate when they're all on. Not something I thought about.

If this really concerns you, and it shouldn't, maybe ask your LBS for advice. They will probably tell you that they have never heard of anyone having problems with the law when they are carrying bikes (other than possibly speeding of course .
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Old 04-08-06, 02:06 PM   #4
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Why not drive it the way it is and see if you get pulled over. Just be nice about it and see what the police officer says before you worry about it. Your other option is a magnetic license plate holder like car dealers use.

I've been driving with a rack that blocks my plate for a long time and haven't had any problems yet.
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Old 04-08-06, 09:01 PM   #5
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If some cop pulls you over for that, tell him to go out and chase a real criminal.
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Old 04-08-06, 10:13 PM   #6
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i got pulled over for speeding while i had my trunk rack w/ two bikes. the highway patrolman had no complaint, he just creaked his neck a little to see the plate. nobody cares. i cant believe you called all of those people, youre a very good citizen. im not even registered for the draft.
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Old 04-08-06, 10:31 PM   #7
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The last time I had a concern like that I stopped next to a cop in my town and asked him. He had good advice and let me pass with a slight modification. Locals may be less picky about vehicle stuff than Highway Patrol. Office people may not want to say anything for liability reasons. AT the worst you may need a roof rack.
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Old 04-09-06, 03:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachoman
If some cop pulls you over for that, tell him to go out and chase a real criminal.
Oh yeah that is really good advice.

If you don't want to move the plate then I think the answer is pretty simple. Get a rack (like the Sarris Bones) that does not block the plate. It might be a lot cheaper than meeting up with a cop that had a bad day (smart comments like Nachoman's or not). Moving the plate might not even be legal in your state anyway.

Plus you invested how much into your bike? I would think a decent rack is a small price to pay to protect such an intvestement.
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Old 04-09-06, 05:30 AM   #9
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It's not the rack that's blocking the plate - it's the bikes. For some of us, a roof rack is not an option as it's (for myself, at least) both out of my price range and more inconvenient than storing the bike *INSIDE* the vehicle - roof-mounting on an SUV is a two-person job.

I'm in a similar situation - I have a rack for the back of my vehicle. Luckily, I only have one bike to put on it, and the plate is still mostly visible. I can certainly see, however, that if I were to add another bike or two to the lot, it'd be much more obscured.
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Old 04-09-06, 07:34 AM   #10
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Still. there have to be other racks that do not do this (besides a roof rack). The Sarris Bones is adjustable. It's ideal if the arms cause the bikes to be level but I imagine it would be OK if they were a bit out of level so the plate can be seen. I've only had one bike on mine. I'll have to take a close look to see what would happen if there were two. My plate is down low so I don't know if it would ever be a problem.
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Old 04-09-06, 07:36 AM   #11
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Perhaps you can buy an extra plate that you can hang on one of the bikes?
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Old 04-09-06, 09:19 AM   #12
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If you get pulled over, tell the officer you're an illegal alien and you'll have no problems.
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Old 04-09-06, 09:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachoman
If some cop pulls you over for that, tell him to go out and chase a real criminal.
Yeah, that'll show him! Bet he'll leave without writing a ticket too...
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