If you’re going to carry bikes on the back of your car, either with a hitch mount, ball mount or clip on style bike carrier, you’re going to need to find a way to ensure you comply with your local road laws regarding your number plate.
If your bike rack obscures your rear number plate in any way, local traffic authorities (such as the RMS in NSW) require you to purchase and display an auxiliary number plate. No you can’t make a copy on an old piece of cardboard and tape it on the back. These won’t show up on speed cameras and hence are not legal. In some states such as Victoria you can use your existing number plate, simply transfer it to your bike carrier plate holder when in use, then return it to its normal poistion on the back of your car when not using your bike carrier.
Don’t take our word for it, see the actual law below:
"Clause 61(2)(b) of Schedule 2 of the Regulation requires
that a number-plate is not obscured, defaced
or otherwise not legible.
Clause 61(2)(c) of Schedule 2 of the Regulation requires
that a number-plate must be visible at a
distance of 20 metres from it and within all the
areas described by an arc extending at an angle 45°
above the top of the number-plate and 45° forward of
NSW Police have also made some Facebook posts regarding this to inform the public further on the law and how to comply. Here's an example below, note the penalty for lack of compliance is $405!
"We stop people who have made a number plate out of plastic, cardboard or paper with their registration written on it, but that doesn't comply with the NSW Road Transport legislation. The number plate must be issued by the relevant authority in that State or Territory.
The fixed penalty for driving a motor vehicle with an obscured number plate is $405 and a loss of three demerit points.
For NSW registered vehicles an 'auxiliary number-plate' must be purchased. You can order auxiliary plates from a registry, by calling 13 22 13 or online at NSW Roads & Maritime Services - my plates. The fee is $39.00
For ACT registered vehicles a bike-rack number plate must be purchased. To purchase a bike-rack number plate you can attend Canberra Connect Shopfront or place your order via telephone by calling 13 22 81. Licence plate fees start from $36.20.
The last thing is that you will need to know is that you will need to illuminate your rear plate if driving at night and you are also not allowed to obscure brake lights, indicators etc.
Some rear mounted bike carriers take care of all your legal problems with built in plate mounting points and integrated auxiliary lights. Many don't have these inclusions but we have options to take care of it, ranging from a simple number plate holder to a full lightboard with lights and plate holder built in, which plugs into your car's 7 pin round or flat electrical outlet. You can check out our range of auxiliary plate holders in our Bike Carrier Accessories category.
Please see below for links to relevant government information for your state. Number