Here is my bicycle mounted on my car, license plate is obscured enter image description here

I am driving like these occasionally here in Orlando, no problems with the cops at all.

Now I am planning to do a road trip through multiple states and I am worried that I will attract the attention from police. Another complication is that there is no license plate in the front because in Florida they only give you one license that goes on the back.

My question is: what should I do to minimize chances of being stopped by police? Should I put the license plate in the front? Maybe hang it somehow on the bicycle? here is the list of states on the road trip:

  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee

(see my cross post)

edit: if i go with the roof rack, how do i install it? given the car in the photo

  • 1
    A roof rack may solve many of your potential issues, and allow easier access to the trunk/boot space too. However costs. I have no experience of these so can't suggest.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 22:18
  • 1
    Worth a read: bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/16525/… But inside car is probably best for road trips - more secure.
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 22:55
  • 2
    yes probably roof rack is the way to go. I have no idea how to install it though. Car is full with stuff... I can't fit even a tricycle.
    – yigal
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 23:39
  • 1
    Don't expect great fuel mileage with the bike on a roof rack, but on the rear rack is not much better.,
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 0:17
  • 2
    I've seen bikes on trunk-mount racks like that all over the US, and I've never seen one pulled over (that I recall). I would consider it very unlikely that you'd get pulled simply for having the plate obscured. There are all sorts of technically illegal things attached to cars that I see zipping past cops well in excess of the speed limit and the cop simply ignores. I wouldn't worry about it. That said, I much prefer a roof rack to protect the bike, not for plate visibility.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 17:04

3 Answers 3


In my country (New Zealand), you can either get a "supplementary" license plate, which can temporarily be secured to the load.

Our road rules also specifically allow moving the existing rear plate to a more-visible location on the load.

You'll want more location-specific information relevant to the states in your route.

A second option is to put the bike inside the car's boot/trunk or cabin. It may be a struggle but can be made easier if you remove both wheels, seatpost, pedals, and wrap the chain/transmission in plastic wrap.

Having the bike inside the car means there are no possible issues with plate visibility. It also protects your bike from the conditions, and increases the car's aerodynamics so will save you fuel. The bike can't be stolen/damaged if you're stopped, and the strap-on rack can't damage your paint.

Finally, as pictured your rear tyre is outside the width of the vehicle and may be a hazard to other road users. That could grab the attention of an enforcement person too.

  • 1
    Here in NZ, to be strictly legal you must illuminate the supplementary plate at night (but most don't bother and I have never heard of problem with Police).
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 22:49
  • @mattnz yes - your normal rear plate is supposed to be illuminated at night. And if the supp plate is the rear, I can see how that might be required. But for driving around in the daytime a plate light is not needed.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 5:06
  • 1
    If possible, it could be an option to take only the wheels into the car. This would solve the problem of the width and some of the concerns of aerodynamics. Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 6:40

Try to keep it inside the car. With the wheels off and possibly with the seatpost and handlebar dropped, it should fit.

The bike will be safer (from thieves, debris, vibrations on the rack, etc). The car will be more aerodynamic, meaning quieter and more efficient. As Criggie points out, the way it is hanging on that rack is not great (none of the "fork" style racks deal well with sloping top tubes).

  • 1
    I've seen "frame adapters" for exactly this purpose - they clamp between stem and seatpost and provide a horizontal top tube like bikes should have. Though this bike looks quite long and may still poke out the sides.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 5:07
  • Keeping inside the car is indeed also my preferred option for road trips. I store the bike in a bike travel bag (I need to unmount the wheels, pedals, seatpost and handlebars - with the brakes and the derailleur cables left untouched), which is a bit cumbersome, but a trade off worth it to me, to limit fuel use and protect the bikes). The bike in such configuration should fit on the rear bench of the car.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 10:14
  • The issue of the sloping top tube could perhaps be solved with a dedicated crossbar. For example: amazon.com/Retrospec-Cross-Bar-Adjustable-Adapter-Black/dp/… I have no personal experience with these, so not sure how well these work. Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 6:42
  • i dont think that work. the car is completely full with luggage
    – yigal
    Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 0:07

Don't forget that for safety and in many places for legality you also have to ensure your rear lights aren't obscured. With some rear racks that can mean not just an extra numberplate but a lighting board as you'd have on a trailer. My high mount rack avoids the need for this on many cars, but not those with high rear lights.

Racks that hold the bikes vertically may make everything visible enough to be legal, but it depends on your car.

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