How Far Can a Bike Rack Stick Out? (solved)

Having a Bike rack is a great way to get to great places and enjoy outside a bit further away than willing to cycle to.

But starting the day or ending a day with a ticket or scraping your bike rack against something valuable (hello other cars!) is not something I looked forward to.

So I was wondering are there special requirements, for instance, how far can a bike rack on the back of a car stick out?

Simply put, a bike rack can stick out no more than 6 inches on either side of the vehicle.

If the bike rack or the bike sticks out more than those 6 inches get another bike rack or another bike( I’m joking!). if they are easy to take off, remove the wheels and put them back on when you arrive at your destination.

Quick-release levers make removing wheels on most bikes an extremely easy task, and it’s the first thing you should look for when already having a rack—or when buying your bike when you plan to use it with your bike rack.

Do I need a red flag on my bike rack?

If the bike rack or the bike is still sticking out, you might consider using a red flag or other warning sign so other drivers know to be careful when they get close to you.

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Make sure it is easily visible for the other people taking part in traffic. A red flag, because of its movement, will be easily spotted by everyone else. If you are driving behind someone with a bike rack, it is also advisable to avoid following too close.

So there’s the answer to that question! You don’t need a red flag on your bike rack but some kind of warning sign will be appreciated by all other drivers out on the road. Just make sure whatever sign or object you choose is big enough to be easily seen.

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Can you be pulled over for a bike rack on your car?

Well, you can, but probably unlikely. It would depend on the situation. If you are using your bike rack to transport a load that is not secured, then it could be considered unsafe for other drivers which means you can get pulled over by police.

However, if your bike rack itself has safety features built into it, such as lights or reflective material, there should be no problem with getting pulled over.

In some cases, yes you can be pulled over for a bike rack on your car. If the load is too heavy and not secured properly then it could cause an unsafe situation which means police officers would pull you over to give you a warning or even issue a ticket if needed.

If the bike rack is equipped with safety features such as lights or reflective material then you should not be pulled over.

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Try not to block the license plate and if there is no other possibility then attach another license plate on the bike rack itself. But to be really honest the chance to get pulled over for blocking your license plate is very slim.

Also do not block the braking lights! if it’s not just for following the law and regulations it’s quite awkward if you are braking and the person driving behind you cant see your braking lights.

Do bike racks need lights?

No, you don’t need a bike rack with lights if they are not obscuring your rear lights. If the bike rack does obscure the lights at the back of your car it’s highly advisable to get one with lights.

You don’t want to drive at night while your lights are blocked, it would create a very scary situation!

Is it OK for the bike rack to cover the license plate?

No, bike racks have to be installed in a way that the license plate is not covered.

If your state’s laws require you to attach a warning flag or reflective object when using a bike rack always make sure it does not cover any part of the state identification on the back of your car either.

How do I make my license plate visible with a bike rack?

Many states allow you to obtain a second license plate in order to be seen when a bike rack is being used just Attach it to the back of the bike rack ( you can secure it by using tie-wraps.

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The paperwork to obtain a temporary registration plate ( to attach it to the back of your vehicle) is generally straightforward. The fee varies by state from nothing up to $50 or more.

When your bike rack is attached and loaded with bikes, the police will be able to view your license plate.


A bike rack can be helpful for transporting a bicycle and also safe if it is equipped with features such as lights or reflective materials. If you plan to use both the car and bike, state laws should be considered when choosing a bike rack.

The license plate should not cover any part of state identification on the back of your vehicle when using a bike rack either!

Police officers will generally not pull someone over just because they have a bike rack attached but may give them warnings depending on their state’s law.

While there are no specific laws requiring bikers to attach red flags, other drivers would appreciate one being used during traffic situations

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