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  1. #1
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    Got Minor Misdemeanor over bike rack

    We had our Thelma 2 rack on, and got pulled over because the cop said that it was obstructing our rear plate, which is a Minor Misdemeanor. We didn't have any bikes on, it was just the rack in the upright position. Anyone have recommendations on a hitch mount that wouldn't block it? We've had that rack for two years, never had an issue.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Are you in Australia? That's definitely an offense here.

    We put our bicycles inside our vehicle.

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    A tiny member bikeguyinvenice's Avatar
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    Check you local laws, I have seen people mount their plates on the hitch or rack so it can be seen unobstructed.

  4. #4
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    Following on from what Machka said, Australian car registration authorities make available for purchase a second, smaller number plate that can be attached to the rack or bike. It's up to your creativity in how it is attached.

    Maybe remove your current plate and either

    (a) re-attach it with a demountable system or

    (b) do a colour laser copy of it, have it laminated and mounted on blockboard so the original is re-attached permanently to the car and the can be temporarily attached.

    Otherwise, remove the rack, get another with a quick release, or carry the bikes in the car.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Sounds like somebody was bored or wanted to hassle you. In NC USA it is illegal to "obstruct" your plate with anything, I have had mine partially obscured with bike racks, trailer hitches and mud over the years and have never been stopped. Yet I know people that have been ticketed for having a trailer plug cable coiled up and partially obstructing a couple of the letters. It is also illegal to use any kind of cover over a plate in NC, but I still see plenty of vehicles with the ones that are supposed to fool the red light cameras.

    I like the idea of a high quality color copy, but wonder how legal that would be, the other possibility would be to make a temporary mount that could be zip tied and easily moved.

    Aaron
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Golly. In Missouri pick up trucks don't even need to have a rear license plate.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    It may hardly be worth the effort, but I'd take some pictures, go to court and show the judge, remaining very polite, respectful and objective. Say you knew of the law but didn't think this constituted obstructing the plate, but you will certainly be more careful in the future. There's an excellent chance you'll get let off just for showing the initiative, or get the fine waived, or a charged with a lesser infraction. It's always worked for me with various traffic infractions. (in the USA, anyway)

    In a few jurisdictions, the judge asked the officer is he was OK with that, and the officer always agreed. No good comes from being angry, unpleasant or disrespectful of the officer during the traffic stop.
    Last edited by Looigi; 05-29-13 at 07:40 AM.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    We will have to wait to hear where the OP is from ... things are different in different countries regarding licence plates.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
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    if you use the bike rack regularly in an area where you might get stopped
    just move the license plate

  10. #10
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Mainly just a slow day for the cop I think!!!

  11. #11
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    I'm in Ohio. If we had drilled the holes and mounted the front plate, we likely would have not been pulled over. I'm in Cincinnati, and it is very common for even Ohioans to not have a front plate, though required by law. No state bordering Ohio has them, and in my neighborhood this morning in the span of one block I saw around 10 cars without front plates that had non-temporary Ohio rear. But, it is the law (though there is a bill to do away with them as a cost cutting measure.)

    Not sure it's worth the 2 hours round trip to go to the court. I've casually asked an attorney and he says it's not worth our aggravation, and that since the front plate wasn't installed, we really don't have a case, and even winning would cost about $65 (fine is $120). We can get the record expunged after a year, but he told us that it really won't matter long term, not wearing your seatbelt in this state is also a minor misdemeanor, though they can't pull someone over just for that.

    I really should have thought about the fact that the cops would be out in force this past weekend, as it was a holiday weekend. It seemed they all were in this one county, including the state highway patrol, after we got out of that county we didn't see anyone for a few hundred miles.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpeters11 View Post
    , not wearing your seatbelt in this state is also a minor misdemeanor, though they can't pull someone over just for that.
    Let me guess: You got pulled over for the license plate infraction and subsequently cited for not wearing your seatbelt. Suddenly it makes sense - sort of.

    The license plate is the kind of thing my sons used to get pulled over for when they were riding around with their friends. The cops would then check everybody's ID. In those days, at least one of the guys in the car would almost always have an active arrest warrant.

  13. #13
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    No, we had our seat belts on. I'm just saying it's in the same classification of crime, both are minor misdemeanors as is small amounts of pot. The misdemeanor was obstructing the rear plate and not having the front on, but we only got cited for one.

  14. #14
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    In many states even the dealer plate frames would be illegal. I believe the "rule" is that no part of the plate can be obstructed, many dealer frames block the state name.

    That said, I often had the "foot" for a hitch-mount bike rack attached to a bumper hitch on a previous vehicle causing a slight obstruction and never had an issue.

  15. #15
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    Just got a call from the wife, she's looking at a Saris Freedom. It may help at least with the issue, and would solve another issue with the Thelma and the fenders we have on our hybrids.

    I'm glad at least that it isn't a moving violation, no reporting to the insurance company or points on the license.

  16. #16
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    Add a second plate frame to the outside of the hitch rack. Then mount the plate to it with wing nuts (or Ditz fasteners for car guys) so you can pop the plates back and forth between the two mounting locations easily.

    /K

  17. #17
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    Round here you can just get an extra rear plate made up for any vehicle you own, to put on the back of trailers or indeed to fit to a bike rack. Is that not the case where you are or are you seriously expected to move the vehicle's own plate around?
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

  18. #18
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    Looking at their site, it looks like the only thing is non commercial trailer, US$16 a year.

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    I'm in Ohio, I'm in Cincinnati. Also an Attorney. (Don't hold that against me) Would like to know what jurisdiction pulled you over.
    Can't believe how petty this is.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailDogger View Post
    I'm in Ohio, I'm in Cincinnati. Also an Attorney. (Don't hold that against me) Would like to know what jurisdiction pulled you over.
    Can't believe how petty this is.
    I was told by a judge, years ago that it is up to the discretion of the officer to issue or not issue a ticket. This was after I got a $75 fine for having a burned out tail light on my pickup. I offered to change it on the spot when I was pulled over but the rookie officer was hell bent on issuing a ticket. I took it to court and still had to pay the fine.

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  21. #21
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpeters11 View Post
    No, we had our seat belts on. I'm just saying it's in the same classification of crime, both are minor misdemeanors as is small amounts of pot. The misdemeanor was obstructing the rear plate and not having the front on, but we only got cited for one.
    I've got to tell you that, since I'm not involved in any way, I'm really laughing about it. That ticket has to be the ultimate end-of-the-month special. If it's any consolation, misdemeanor means they can't put you in jail for more than a year.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I got a $75 fine for having a burned out tail light on my pickup. I offered to change it on the spot when I was pulled over but the rookie officer was hell bent on issuing a ticket. I took it to court and still had to pay the fine.
    Ohhh. What day of the month did that happen?

  23. #23
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Ohhh. What day of the month did that happen?
    Don't remember it was close to 20 years ago, all I remember other than the ticket was that I was helping someone move some stuff and we had a big potted tree in the bed of the truck covered in a garbage bag and when the rookie asked what it was I told her it was a potted plant... had to uncover it to prove it wasn't a pot plant.

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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I've got to tell you that, since I'm not involved in any way, I'm really laughing about it. That ticket has to be the ultimate end-of-the-month special. If it's any consolation, misdemeanor means they can't put you in jail for more than a year.
    This was a minor misdemeanor, which means they can't put you in jail. It gets more serious if you don't pay. And I was wrong, it's $155, not $120.

    We had a little burg in Ohio that would give you a ticket for dirt on a tail light. One year, they collected $350,000 worth of traffic tickets. Keep in mind, this place had 60 residents, and about 1000 feet worth of a main road running through. The police department was completely part time with 14 officers, and the village administration/police department was run out of a doublewide.

    Ohio ended up having to pass a law specifically to dissolve the village, due to rampant corruption, missing funds etc etc.
    Last edited by dpeters11; 05-31-13 at 02:05 PM.

  25. #25
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpeters11 View Post
    This was a minor misdemeanor, which means they can't put you in jail. It gets more serious if you don't pay. And I was wrong, it's $155, not $120.

    We had a little burg in Ohio that would give you a ticket for dirt on a tail light. One year, they collected $350,000 worth of traffic tickets. Keep in mind, this place had 60 residents, and about 1000 feet worth of a main road running through. The police department was completely part time with 14 officers, and the village administration/police department was run out of a doublewide.

    Ohio ended up having to pass a law specifically to dissolve the village, due to rampant corruption, missing funds etc etc.
    Now if they could only do that with the IRS......

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