During the holiday periods couples and families often enjoy travelling with their bicycles for fitness and/or enjoyment.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the strict requirements which have been placed on drivers when carrying a bicycle externally mounted to a motor vehicle. One of the most common methods of transporting bicycles is a bicycle rack mounted at the rear of the vehicle.
The Roads and Maritime Services have released a Vehicle Standards Guideline to assist vehicle owners understand the requirements when utilising such racks. When a bicycle is mounted, it must not:
extend more than 1.2 metres from the rear of the motor vehicle;
be more than 15cm wider then of either side of the motor vehicle.
The most common offence, however, is not having your motor vehicle‘s number plate clearly visible when the bicycle is fitted. If the number plate is obscured then an auxiliary number plate should be ordered from Roads and Maritime Services. The auxiliary number plate must be securely attached and its top edge must not be more than 1.3 metres above the ground.
When using a bicycle rack, the bicycle must not obscure the vehicle’s lights, including the brake lights (and the centre-mounted brake light) and indicators. If any of the vehicles lights are obscured, you must attach an additional set of lights at the rear of the bicycle so that other road users have clear sight of your vehicles brakes and indicators.
If travelling at night and an auxiliary number plate is being used, it must be fitted with a number plate light to illuminate the auxiliary number plate.
Penalties apply when a bicycle rack or any bicycle fitted to the bicycle rack obscures any light, including the centre-mounted stop light and/or the number plate, and where the vehicle is not fitted with any auxiliary lights or number plates. Additionally, penalties apply if the bicycle rack creates any dangerous protrusion to either side or to the rear of the motor vehicle.
Travelling with a number plate which is not correctly fitted or displayed or using a vehicle with obscured number plates, may result in a fine of $405.00 and 3 demerit points.
At Turnbull Hill Lawyers we are always up to date with the latest changes to the Road Rules and Traffic Legislation. If you or someone you know has a legal matter involving traffic law, contact our Criminal Law Team today.