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Old 05-02-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
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Airstream Bike Rack - License Plate???

Needing a means to travel with bicycles, we have decided that the Airstream Bike Rack is the best compromise. It is light weight and well fastened to the rear of the trailer. (See Airstream web site).

The problem: bikes may obscure the license plate - especially if we use canvas bags to protect bikes from road grime and water. So, what to do with the license plate? I guess we can put it on the bumper, but don't most states require plates to be lighted at night? Airstream does not seem to have addressed this, with the otherwise-very-well-done bike rack.

What have others done?


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Old 05-02-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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I'm taking delivery on one of these racks tomorrow. Thanks for the heads-up as I hadn't focused on what this might do to the display of the license plate.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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We have the rack and it seems to have pre-drilled holes (though they weren't quite perfect in our case, so we drilled another one) to mount the license plate to the rack itself. I hadn't considered the lighting issue, however…
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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I'd be surprised if any LEO really took exception to the license plate issue, but if you are concerned, it should be easy enough to remove the plate from the trailer and secure it to the rack and add a light.

I doubt I would bother until/unless I was stopped for it - but then, that's just me!


I carry our bikes on the front of our truck. I need to remove the front plate to install the bike rack.

When we have the bike rack installed, I just remove the front plate and carry it with me in the truck - been doing it that way for at least ten years!

Having said that I'll probably get a ticket this year!

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Old 05-02-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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I wouldn't worry about it either. It's probable cause to pull you over, but who cares, unless you have open liquor or the bong is fired up, the LEO will probably just remind you that there is an ordinance to display you license plate.

I really doubt a ticket would be issued.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:59 PM   #6
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OK, well I guess we will just see what happens. Maybe it is a non issue...

It would not be too hard to move the plate, but running wires for a light seems a bit much.

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:53 AM   #7
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OK, well I guess we will just see what happens. Maybe it is a non issue...

It would not be too hard to move the plate, but running wires for a light seems a bit much.

Thanks for the comments.
If you really wanted full visibility of the plate plus a light but no wiring issues, I'm sure you could easily rig up a little battery operated LED license plate light for night time driving

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Old 05-03-2012, 07:29 AM   #8
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Is there any issue with obscuring, partially or otherwise, the lights with the bikes?
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #9
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Is there any issue with obscuring, partially or otherwise, the lights with the bikes?
That, I Suspect would be a bigger issue, as it affects safety. I could see tickets for that one.
I always used a bike cover on my old SOB, but the lights were far enough apart that they weren't covered. With the AS, I think it would've been a problem. That's why I went with the Arvika Tongue rack.

I just hate cleaning up the bikes when carried without a cover.

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Old 05-03-2012, 12:01 PM   #10
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That, I Suspect would be a bigger issue, as it affects safety. I could see tickets for that one.
I always used a bike cover on my old SOB, but the lights were far enough apart that they weren't covered. With the AS, I think it would've been a problem. That's why I went with the Arvika Tongue rack.

I just hate cleaning up the bikes when carried without a cover.

Attachment 157367
I can see that having the license plate obscured makes it more difficult to read.

I fail to see why that is unsafe. Something like not being able to record the number of someone fleeing the scene of an accident towing an Airstream with bicycles on the back is about the only issue that comes to mind. Strikes me as more of an administrational kind of thing.

I'm sure that you could get a ticket for it, depending on the mood of the officer.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:17 PM   #11
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I can see that having the license plate obscured makes it more difficult to read.

I fail to see why that is unsafe. Something like not being able to record the number of someone fleeing the scene of an accident towing an Airstream with bicycles on the back is about the only issue that comes to mind. Strikes me as more of an administrational kind of thing.

I'm sure that you could get a ticket for it, depending on the mood of the officer.
You misunderstand...I was talking about the question from UKToad about covering the tail lights in this post. Previously I posted that the plate ISN'T an issue IMO. I agree with you completely.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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Going off track a little, in the UK the licence plate you have on the back of the trailer is a copy of the one on the car; trailers don't have a separate licence plate. But over there, the licence plate cannot be obscured in any way, as well as having to be lit, and neither must the lights be obscured. Using the bike rack in the UK you would be required use a 'trailerboard' like this The licence plate is usually a stick on model that goes between the lights:



I take vswingfield's point though, you're hardly going to make a run for it towing your Airstream.

I could claim that UK trailerboards are there so that Gatso speed camera can catch you, but trailerboards have been around much longer than Gatsos.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
That, I Suspect would be a bigger issue, as it affects safety. I could see tickets for that one.
I always used a bike cover on my old SOB, but the lights were far enough apart that they weren't covered. With the AS, I think it would've been a problem. That's why I went with the Arvika Tongue rack.

I just hate cleaning up the bikes when carried without a cover.

Attachment 157367
That's gotta mess with the airflow over the front, eh? Still, it looks most impressive.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:00 PM   #14
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Anyone living in Fl knows they can be pulled over for a burned out tag light . Be careful. Jim
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #15
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You misunderstand...I was talking about the question from UKToad about covering the tail lights in this post. Previously I posted that the plate ISN'T an issue IMO. I agree with you completely.
Oh. Never mind.

(With thanks to Emily Litella)
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:16 PM   #16
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The issue of 'tickets' can depend on the situation... and the requirement to have a license plate displayed properly can be critical when a police officer stops a vehicle... With no plate, there is nothing to identify the vehicle that is stopped and if something happens during the stop it leaves a big ??? in trying to sort it out.

An easy early warning is when the officer stops the car, queries the plate, and gets the information. It could be stolen, belong to a different vehicle... and whatever owner information on file also gets reported... any warrants... danger flags.

So, if a police officer stops you because he can't see your plate, he's already on edge. He's already told a dispatcher what he can see, vehicle description, number of occupants... and if you turn out to be an ass, it's a handy and valid way for the officer to give you a ticket.

The majority of officer injuries and fatalities are during traffic stops... police just want people to follow the rules and make it safe for everyone.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:56 PM   #17
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The only problem with an obscured license plate (or a cracked tail light, etc.) is that it gives LEO an opportunity to pull you over and check for other things that may not show probable cause like, drinking, open container, drugs, seat belts, etc. So if you are driving normal, they usually will not bother you. When carrying bikes on the back of a car, the plate and lights are partially blocked, and in Colorado every other car seems to be carrying bikes.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:30 PM   #18
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Of course laws vary by state, but don't think that just because it's "just" an obscured license plate that they'll just pull you over and give you a warning. I got pulled over over for having a smoked license plate cover over my Pruis' license plate (clean, with no scratches or fogging) and the guy kept me there for over 20 minutes doing who-knows-what with his trainee (and of course I played it friendly as can be, so it's not like there were punishing me for attitude). After 20 minutes, and making me late for a zen meditation class of all things, they hit me with a fix-it ticket — because apparently smoked license plate frames are illegal in that county (even though I bought it at that county's Target —*why are they allowed to sell them???).

In order to complete the fix-it, I had to remove the cover, find another police officer to sign the ticket, then spend 3/4 of a day in line at the court house to turn in my signed ticket and pay a $50 fee for the pleasure of them processing it.

This was in the state I lived in my entire life (apparently these kind of things can vary by county), and I had no idea something as begign as a cover (that wasn't one of those camera-dodging reflective kinds) was an issue.

Lesson learned: Unless you are very very sure that it's okay to have an obstructed license in your state and county (and who doesn't leave their state an county in an Airstream?), don't risk obscuring the plate. It really isn't worth the hassle and cost if you get an officer in a bad mood or trying to show of to his rookie.

ETA: There was nothing abnormal about my driving, my car (was a charcoal prius in perfect condition in every way) or my driving record that would have made that an "excuse" to pull me over. You never know what a slow day it is, or what quotas they're trying to fill that day.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #19
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KerriO,
In California, those are illegal statewide. The reason is that at night many of those covers (in some cases by design) obscure the license so it's unreadable.
Many officers love a minor infraction such as a headlight, brake light or license plate light inoperative. The reason for this is not that they can write a fix-it ticket, but that many, many if not most felony arrests come through contacts made because of the infraction. This is probable cause to stop the subject, the in the process the license is run through the database for wants and warrants.
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #20
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Fyrzowt, exactly my point actually (though I still will never understand how Target can sell them if they're not legal in that state!) —*though I wasn't actually sure if it was a state or county thing. The point being that an obstructed license plate can get you more than pulled over — it can take a day and $50 (or probably more depending on where you're located), so it's really not worth the risk. Moving our license plate from the Airstream bumper to the bike rack took all of ten minutes and cost nothing.
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