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Number plate for Bike Rack??

By 3vi13d - Posted on 26 August 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I've a tow-bar mounted bike rack - that when loaded obscures my number plate.

I rang Transport WA today to try to order an auxiliary plate that I could mount on the rack to be told, very abruptly, they don't do them? Seesh and here's me trying to stay legal *heaven forbid*

WTF?! Is that right? Anyone got any other experiences of that are WA-specific. If I was in NSW I could go to and order a bike-rack plate by name - seems perverse that I can't here.

27.5.15 PMBC President Update.
Well as you can see below I have my new auxiliary plate and I just wanted all of you who have followed the thread to get a preview for when you get one. (yes I have edited the plate numbers Smiling )

I will get this out on the next mail out and apologies to the original posters message, I have put the picture here as I could not attach it to a replied comment.


Chris Park
PMBC President

Move your regular plate to the bike rack?

My brother photocopied his dirtbike numberplate and laminated it. Then ziptied it to the rear mudguard. It got expensive after he lost 2 out in the bush. Maybe do that as an alternative? Saves removing the real one regularly and its not like its the only plate - its just a copy of the 2 that are still on the car. Not sure what a cop would say though.

Did a bit of googling and found this
Seems ridiculous, but there you go

I am in WA and as of this month (July 2014) the RTA in WA has advised that obstruction of the license plate is illegal and you can be fined for it. The relevant RTA website for each state or territory should cover the requirements regarding bike racks and license plates. There are currently no auxillary plates issued in WA for bike racks, so the only options are:-

1) Have a roof mounter bike rack option (which is more expensive than towbar options)

2) Transport your bike in back your vehicle if it is big enough to do so.

2) Re-mount the rear vehicle license plate to the end of the bike rack, with lights attached (license plate, brake, turn lights). Especially so if your vehicle brake and turn signals are obstructed...increasing the risk of a rear end collision.

Any license plate not issued by the relevant RTA (eg. a made up plate) is not permitted for use on your vehicle as a substitute.....basically it is as good as not having an official auxillary plate and there are associated fines.

Apparently the RTA in WA is reviewing requirements for auxiliary plates being issued, but nothing has been confirmed.

In NSW the highway patrol have number plate recognition that checks the front and back number plate and if the system cannot see your plates you will get fined. I know first hand as my misses got booked for it. You could clearly see the plate from behind but a highway patrol driving the other way turned around and booked her as the number plate recognition couldn't read a number on the plate on the angle. He was a ass about it too. Best to check and with your state RTA rules before so you know the laws. Fine wasn't cheap either,it was about $470.00

If you do a bit of searching around you will find that hand made license plates are not legal .. regardless of what anyone tells you and what you see others do.

There are reports on this site of people getting some pretty hefty fines for not using correct plates. Some poor bugger who took his wife's car but used his own bike plate out of habit and got busted for not only displaying an incorrect plate but also obstructing the main plate - despite pleading his own stupidity. $800-odd if I remember correctly. (That's not exactly the community spirit is it)

There seems to be a common theme that our ACT friends are the toughest, which I find ironic considering the Territories considerable dedication toward cycling infrastructure be that road or off road.

There's a lot of hearsay about what you can and cant do with bike racks so I took the opportunity to read my Son's driving manual (L plater). I couldn't find anything in there on bike racks. However, I recently purchased an Axillary Plate for my new car (no longer called bike plates) and along with the plate came a detailed explanation of the laws around bike racks.

First and a very important point. It is ILLEGAL to have a bike rack on the back of a car without a bike in it. Even fold down ones .. WTF!! WHY??

The other notable point, it was deliberately vague around the whole tail lights issue. What they describe is more open to interpretation than the NRL Obstruction Rule. They could have quite easily drawn a line in the sand but didn't. So what constitutes obstructing the tail lights? From what I can ascertain you need to buy a tail light assembly or hope that you don't get the Lawkeeper who's had a bad day.

Frustrates the hell out of me!

Ill try and find the document, scan it and put it up.

I'm now trialling roof racks. I don't own a garage so hears hoping I don't take my bike out at the Maccas Drive Thru!

Can't you just say you lost one and get a full size one made up?

You could tell them you are Tony Abbott's cycling coach but it's still illegal.

I'm desperately trying to find the post on this forum where the driver was forced to put all the bikes on the laps of the family in the back seat because they didn't have a license plate.

There's a "Current Affair" episode and subsequent court case waiting to happen.

I'm also in WA and looked into this a year ago. I called the relevant authorities and checked their websites. Bottom line is that its a mess! Here's what I found out...

You can't obstruct the vehicle licence plate.

You can't get a 'third' official plate made up.

You can't use a homemade plate.

Lastly and most bizarrely, you can't take the rear plate off your car and mount it to the bike rack even if it has a proper spot there with lights etc, as the two plates must be permanently mounted to the vehicle itself.

As someone said above, basically the only way to follow the letter of the law is to have the bikes inside the vehicle or on a roof mounted rack. In the end I did put a light bar on my rack because the bikes obstruct the lights and that's just plain dangerous, but I gave up on the rego plate. I do think the police are a little more forgiving over here on this issue than over east, and I haven't heard of anyone being fined amongst my cycling buddies - all of who use racks that obscure their rego plates.

I spent a considerable time trying to obtain rulings a few years ago. I contacted the Police and Minister for Transport about the rear number plate situation and received a letter from the Minister. I'll try and share the contents with you tomorrow for your information.

I wrote to the previous Minister and then subsequently to Troy Buswell MLA, Minister for Transport 8th January 2013. I received a response 29th January 2013. I essentially indicated that the previous Minister for Transport had advised that the rear number plates were being investigated and that nothing had eventuated. This is the content of the letter I received. I keep it in my car to show to the police should I be stopped in the hope it demonstrates that I have attempted to comply.


Thank you for your letter dated 8 January 2013 to the Hon Troy Buswell MLA, Minister for Transport, regarding bicycle carriers. The Minister has asked me to respond on his behalf.

The carrying of bicycles at the rear of vehicles can in some cases unintentionally obscure a vehicles number plate.

There is an intention to amend regulation and systems to provide for the issue of a third or accessory number plate to address this problem.

The Western Australian Police is aware of this and in the interim, is encouraging its officers to adopt a more educational approach, such as the issue of cautions rather than infringements while the changes are being drafted. Once an implementation date has been set it will be communicated to affected parties.

Thank you for raising this matter.

Given the requirement to not obscure the lights and number plate as well as the limitations of the WA system I decided it better to have a copied number plate on the back than no number plate. As mentioned I carry the letter in my car to demonstrate that I have done my best to comply based on the pending action from some years ago.

Now I have been prompted by reading this forum I will tickle up the Minister for Transport office a third time to see if something can be done.

I have seen examples on the media where ripping the bumper bars off cars also obscures number plates, although the outcome and repercussion seems fairly benign.

Today I contacted the office of Hon. Dean Cambell Nalder MLA - Minister for Transport and they are going to follow up on the issue. They have all of my previous documentation on file and will arrange somebody to contact me.

I have documentation showing this issue has been pending for more than eight years so it is well overdue.

I will post updates as new information becomes available.


I was pulled over by the RBT on the way home from work, the bike was on the back with a printed A4 number plate. The policeman gave me a warning for that and told me it had to be a proper auxiliary plate as stated on the RTA site. I ordered an auxiliary from My Plates which is on their site.

Narralakes you're in Naraweena NSW - this is about the situtation in WA, as noted in earlier post, we are prevented from buying an third number plate in WA.

Sorry, that's what I get for skimming content.

I have also gone through the same rigmarole of having to move the rear plate to the bike rack but got jacked off with doing it every time I went riding.

So I made one up and then one week later went through a multinova and received a speeding ticket!! It was good enough for them to issue a fine.

Typical - if I hadn't bothered it would not have been able to read the obscured plate - ha ha.

In NSW they issue 'bike plates' - I still have my old one.

WA needs to sort this out as there is no sense in it at all; when I rang them for a third plate the lady politely told me I would have to take it off the car and transfer it to the bike rack and if I needed some help I should visit one of their centers - WTF!!

WA - wait a while

FWIW I have just raised the matter with Bicycles WA.

No idea what will come of it but its the best I can think of.

The chaps at BWA got back to me with the following:

"Thank you for your email. We have raised the issue with the Department of Transport on a number of occasions and it is not a priority issue for them at this stage. We will continue to liaise with DoT and are encouraging them to look into this further."

So, I guess we keep on doing whatever it is that does not result in a ticket currently.

I think you're last statement is absolutely right Loud.
Seems to me that we have a rare case of under-bureaucratization, where the fact that the most commonly used system of carrying bikes may obscure the vehicle's number plate, is treated with common sense and understanding by the authorities.
Wow! Shouldn't we be preserving it under a glass dome for future generations rather than go begging for bureaucratic involvement?
Isn't the current status quo preferable to the over-bureaucratization that is sure to follow when they do make it a priority and decide that two spokes in front of one of your tail lights, constitutes "obscuration" of the said tail light?
Methink let benevolent dogs lie...

The Department of Transport contacted me yesterday and reconfirmed that the subject of Bike Rack Number Plates was still a low priority and would not be addressed any time soon.

That wasn't the really bad news...

The representative informed me that they have however addressed fine updates for unreadable number plates and other related items which may be put into force as early as this week. Some of the fines were reported to be increased up to $1,000.

She indicated that she understood that the situation is frustrating but at this stage nothing was planned in relation to the bike rack issue.

I will contact my local Member of Parliament to see if they can suggest any way of raising the priority on this issue.

Has there been any reply or furthering.

I got a fine over the festive season for not having my plate fixed to the car. Even though it was on the bike rack attached to the car. Which apparently is illegal to not have matching registered plate fixed to the vehicle at all time
I was also given a warning for not having a number plate light on the racks lighting bar.

So polity I asked how this was to be achieved as I would incur a fine as it would be obscured but the bikes on the rack... After a bit of a paused reaction. The outcome was that I would need to find another method of transporting the bikes such as a registered trailer.

Wow... I was speechless! So I got a fine for not adhering to the written law on something I have no alternative too (removing the plate off the rego'd vehicle to make it more viable) and no real resolution to a product sold and approved in WA.

I guess that is why Tony does not reside in WA. He cant drive his car with his bike on the back... LOL

Typical that they have no real solution for someone transporting bikes safely to entertain themselves in a healthy way outdoors. I am sure there were many real criminals they could have been chasing.

If you don’t mind me asking what was the cost of the fine and is there any points involved? I do the same thing every weekend.

I think. Might be wrong though.

$250 fine. 2 demerits as standard but because it was holiday season. They kindly bumped it up to double demerits. Sad

Chris. I have a Thule 943 Euroride carrier. It comes with lights but no number plate light. I cant believe Thule can be so insensitive not to include one. Eye-wink

I'd roll the dice on that and contest it.

It's clearly an untenable position that WA is not issuing bike rack plates, so when you move the main plate to the rack you then get fined for that as well.

If the plate is attached to the rack which is attached to the car, then it is to my mind attached to the car. But I'd get a solicitor contact via bicycle WA an check with them first.

Oh well. One thing to always keep in mind.
Never argue with the poe-poe. Just yes sir no sir gets you off better.

He was fairly young so I guess he was still fresh off of learning the law.
The rule book is open to grey areas and interpretations.

I normally just bail the bike on the ute but used the family car on holiday. Thats what you get for driving the misuses car. LOL

So you were fined for not having the plate fixed to the car. So what's the fine for an obscured number plate? I see that on almost every car that carries bikes every day and I don't see many of them being pulled up.

My sister once knocked the front spoiler off the car on a kerb put the spoiler in the boot and number plate on the dash to get home, got pulled over and fined for not having the plate fixed to the car.

It seems to me obscuring your plate is an offence they don't care about vs not having it attached.

But via a public official first.

Claim the fine is unfair. Unfairness counts for a lot when contesting things like this. I'm currently working on new commonwealth legislation and demonstrating that the fine is fair is a key area I need to demonstrate so that the courts are happy to enforce it.

Given that the WA poses no solution for bike racks but has not banned bike racks this should be easy enough.

Also via local MP etc ask for the number of people fined each year for this unfair situation. This will create a lot of work for a public servant somewhere and make you a pain in the arse they want to be rid of. If they won't give you this up front ask again via a GiPA or whatever freedom of information laws WA has.

Best case you will help resolve this. Likely situation is they will let you off.


So was he busting you as the plate was not illuminated, ill stand corrected but I am pretty sure the euroway has a inward facing white number plate light. However as on mine you have to move the lights much closer to where the number plate is to actually light it. I ended up putting a stronger LED bulb in it as I had noticed in my driveway you could hardly see it.

Either way we seem to be at an impasse, maybe we could register the bike rack as a trailer as it attaches to the tow ball then you can have an independent plate for the rack.


No. Busted for not having the plate fixed to the car. Warning for not having a plate light on the incorrect used plate location. LOL I know it makes no logic.

Its not so much a worry about getting off of the fine. Rather... What happens next time or to others in that situation?

After reading of your situations I have contacted the office of my local Member. His office requested that I send all my correspondence with the Ministers of Transport to date and any other information I could provide which I have just completed.

Basically my understanding is that the majority if not all rear mounted bike racks result in an illegal situation.

You can address the issue of rear lights being impeded by fitting lights to the rear of your bike rack but you would need to ensure that the distances between the lights met the legal requirements. I have LED flasher, tail and stop lights fitted to my home built bike rack spaced to match the vehicle and plug into my tow socket. I think I would satisfy the lighting component of the equation.

The majority of vehicles with rear mounted bike racks that I observe do not have lighting installed so would be open to a fine.

The issue of impeded number plates is the item that none of us can satisfy as per my findings and the reports in this forum, you can not relocate your vehicle number plate to the rear of the bike rack and you can not manufacture a number plate.

The responses from the Minister of Transport office on each occasion I made contact was that this was a low priority for them. I have documentation indicating it has been prompted back in 2006.

The NSW system appears to be quite effective and something similar could be easily adopted in WA but it just needs some focus.

I am hoping that my local Member can find a way to raise the focus and priority on this subject as it is totally unfair when members such as above are being fined and losing demerit points through the inaction of the Department of Transport.

I will keep you informed on progress.



The following are links to some documents of interest.

NSW Transport Bike Rack Standard

NT (note it refers to relocating the number plate)

Unfortunatly none are helpful in WA.

Thank goodness we dont have to road rego our road bikes and B-Class the MTB's as off road recreational vehicles. LOL.
Have enough of that BS going around with enduro road legal/rego'd dirt bikes with DoT and DEC. Sheesh.

The links were as a reference to what other states have in place for your interest.

At this point in time anybody with a rear mounted bike rack is more than likely impeding their number plate and or lights and so is open to being fined and losing demerit points.

I'll see what my local Member can do to raise the profile of the issue. As mentioned I have now contacted the last three Ministers for Transport and effectively been informed it is a low priority.

There are a lot of cyclist out there with rear mounted bike racks. Most are probably unaware that they are facing a fine and demerit points. It may be necessary to get some public awareness happening via the various cycling communities.

I'll continue working with my local Member and update you once I get new information.


If you decide to challenge your fine and loss of demerit points I am happy to provide any of my documentation if it could add any support to your case.

We need to also appreciate that there is a bigger picture than us cyclists as any rear mounted carrier such as wheelchair or mobility aid would potentially impede the lights and or number plate. I have seen some where the number plate has been relocated, which as noted by a member above is also illegal.

The last letter I received from the then Minister for Transport contained the following extract.


Thank you for your letter dated 8 January 2013 to the Hon Troy Buswell MLA,
Minister for Transport, regarding bicycle carriers. The Minister has asked me to
respond on his behalf.

The carrying of bicycles at the rear of vehicles can in some cases unintentionally
obscure a vehicle's number plate.

There is an intention to amend regulations and systems to provide for the issue of a
third or accessory number plate to address this problem.

The Western Australia Police is aware of this and in the interim, is encouraging its
officers to adopt a more educational approach, such as the issue of cautions rather
than infringements while the changes are being drafted. Once an implementation
date has been set it will be communicated to affected parties.

The information has now been provided to the Shadow Minister for Transport who I have been informed is going to raise the subject during question time.

I will continue to pursue the subject in the interest of everybody with a rear mounted bike rack.

I found this interesting comment relating to the Road Traffic Regulations and so checked out the Regulations and the comment appears to be correct. Is there something being missed?

Post Link

Road Regulation link

Extract from other persons post...

Reg 25AA "Preventing effective identification of number plate"

Relevant subsections are as follows - skip to the bolded section for the exciting part...

(2) A responsible person for a vehicle must not allow the vehicle to
be used or driven unless the whole of each character on a plate
on the vehicle can be read whenever the vehicle is used or

(3) A responsible person for a vehicle must not allow the vehicle to
be used or driven if a plate on the vehicle is in an ID prevention

(6) A person in charge of a vehicle must not use or drive the vehicle
unless the whole of each character on a plate on the vehicle can
be read whenever the vehicle is used or driven.

(7) A person in charge of a vehicle must not use or drive the vehicle
if a plate on the vehicle is in an ID prevention state.

(10) A person does not commit an offence under subregulation (2),
(3), (6) or (7) if the thing that is preventing the whole or part of
a character on the plate from being read is —
(a) a tow ball fitted to the rear of the vehicle; or
(b) a bicycle rack fitted to the rear of the vehicle; or
(c) a bicycle carried on a bicycle rack fitted to the rear of
the vehicle.

If I'm interpreting this correctly, carrying a bike on a rack that obscures your plate is not considered an offence under 25AA(3)(6)(7).

End of Extract

This may cover the number plate what do others think?

I contacted the Police Traffic and am going to visit the local Police Station tomorrow to discuss the regulation with the Sergeant and hopefully obtain his interpretation.

As per my previous posts I have lights fitted to my bike carrier but was being frustrated by the fact I couldn't obtain an auxiliary number plate as I believed I was committing an offence by obscuring my number plate with the bike carrier and bikes.

If this regulation is as it reads then it removes the requirement for the number plate.

We have established that relocating the rear number plate from the vehicle to the bike rack can lead to an infringement as does manufacturing a home made number plate so it could be that "No Number Plate" is the solution as long as the intent of this regulation is as it appears to read.


Really appreciate the effort you are putting in on behalf of others! I'm in NSW so not affected by this issue but have been watching this thread with interest.

Fighting the fight with government can be infuriating and also satisfying. I've personally gotten a lot out of advocacy, much more than just trails.

But I'm pretty sure the regulations youbl have identified john relate to purposely altering or blocking your number plate to avoid detection of offences ie a motorcycle covering their plate with a rego tag or someone placing a reflective coating over their plates. The bike carrier offence may be covered by another bit of legislation

I suspect that you are correct but I'll gather whatever information I can from the Police Traffic Office to add to my knowledge-base.

I'm also pursuing the issue via my local member who has forwarded the issue to the Shadow Minister for Transport.

It looks like Regulation 25AA may have only been added 9th September 2014. Regulation 27B prohibits the manufacturing of an imitation plate.

It's a slow process but I will keep chipping away.

I attended the Mandurah Police Station this afternoon and had a meeting with the Sergeant and a Senior Constable from the Traffic Division.

They advised that the new regulation 25AA does remove the requirement for an auxiliary number plate on the bike rack.

My carrier has lights fitted but I asked about the light situation in the interests of other readers. They said that the lights need to be visible and it was in an individuals interest to ensure the lights were visible so as to minimise the risk of an accident due to a following vehicle not being able to clearly see the lights. The officers also suggested that if the rear lights were impeded that it could also become an insurance issue.

They also mentioned that the bike carrier must not extend greater than 1200 mm from the rear of the vehicle without a red flag. 1200 mm is quite a distance so don't think too many would exceed that limit.

Regulation 25AA 10(b) covers the bicycle rack being on the vehicle without the bike(s) and 25AA 10(c) covers the bicycle rack with the bike(s) being carried.

In Summary:
Regulation 25AA 10 removes the requirement for any kind of auxiliary number plate.

It is illegal to reproduce a number plate as per Regulation 27B so if you have one it would be wise to remove it.

Vehicle light must be visible. If you have a tow bar mounted bicycle carrier consider getting a set of lights to mount on the back of the bicycle carrier that plug into your vehicle trailer socket.

Make sure your bicycle carrier does not exceed 1200 mm from the rear of the vehicle. If it does attach a red flag.

The officers were very helpful and have provided their details to me.

Hope this helps.

That's pretty clear and explains why I've never had a problem in WA. It good to know though. Thanks John.

Excellent, 2 copies printed and popped in the glove box in case of a close encounter of the uninformed bobby.

Cheers All.

PMBC President

Link to the official road traffic act page, print pages 41>43 on reader to get the print of Section 25aa$FILE/Road%20Traffic%20%28Licensing%29%20Regulations%201975%20-%20%5B09-b0-00%5D.pdf?OpenElement

That is some good home work there John.

Im off tomorrow to lodge a protest and see if I can get some dollars and demerits back. Smiling

This is just been implemented

"You will need to purchase and affix an auxiliary plate if a bike rack or mobility device is attached to your vehicle and obstructs the view of your rear number plate."

Good news is is it’s a simple application and $24 for the plate.

Up until now most bike racks in WA were classed as illegal so good news I guess…

This is a very interesting development. I called the Department of Transport and indicated that the new Auxiliary Number Plate requirement appeared to contradict Road Traffic Regulation 25AA.

I will send an email to the DOT and already have a meeting with my local member to discuss the topic next Monday. Originally it was to discuss how Rule 25AA had overcome the requirement for any number plate but now it will be to discuss how the new Auxiliary Number Plate requirement contradicts Rule 25AA.

The number plate is about the size of a motorcycle pate and will match the vehicle number plate so if you have multiple vehicles you use for the bike rack you will need multiple auxiliary plates at $24 each. The person I spoke to indicated it was a one off payment so hope that it is the case and not going to be a source of fund raising with an annual fee.

Most bike racks were illegally blocking number plates up until September 2014 when Road Traffic Regulation 25AA was added. Unfortunately they have now created a situation where we need to obtain clarification.

As mentioned I will be following up with various departments and will provide feedback once I get some answers.

This is better than Game of Thrones.

I think that now the Department of Transport has introduced the Auxiliary Number Plates that they will change the Road Traffic Regulation 25AA section (10) to make it an offence to obscure the vehicle number plate with a tow ball, bike carrier or bike on a bike carrier.

As mentioned I will be following this matter up but to save some time and ensure that I am compliant I will be ordering an Auxiliary Number Plate for each of the vehicles my bike carrier is used at the $24 each.

The writing is on the wall that if they modify the Road Regulation 25AA that anybody obscuring their vehicle number plate and not having the new Auxiliary Number Plate may find themselves the recipient of a traffic infringement.

I think the $24 Auxiliary Number Plate is the cheaper option.

The regs have changed names it is now (as of the 27th of April) the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014. The number plate sections start at 111, but 119 and 120 what you're looking for. My two cents: 120 is designed to target those looking to avoid detection, that's why it doesn't apply to bike racks etc. However you "may" be committing an offence under 119 as all the characters are not visible because of the rack or if the plate is faded. That's where the auxiliary plate comes in (or special plate in the regs). In a nutshell, you won't be getting a $1000 fine for a bike rack (S120), but you "may" get a $100 fine without the special plate (S119).

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