Imagine this: You’ve got your bike rack on the rear of your car with your bikes loaded. You’re driving along ready for an awesome day cycling when, all of a sudden, the police pull you over because a bike is blocking your number plate. It may not land you in jail, but nothing ruins your day more than an on-the-spot fine! Here’s how you can prevent this happening to you.
Firstly, make sure your car is fitted with official, standard-sized number plates. Secondly, if the official number plate on the rear of your vehicle is covered by a bike or bike rack, you’ll also need to get a mini accessory number plate that displays the registration details and allows your registration details to be seen clearly.
As well as being visible from 20 metres away, you must make sure the mini number plate is clean, free from dirt and illuminated so it can be seen at night or in poor light conditions. Even if you leave a bike rack on your car without any bikes, if the number plate is obscured, you may still be fined.
Get the right mini number plates for your state
Getting a mini number plate might seem like a hassle and leave you out of pocket. Isn’t it easier just to make a copy of your number plate, laminate it and slap it on the bike rack? You could, and many cycling forums suggest just that. However, we suggest that you don’t.
Fake and DIY number plates are considered illegal and could land you a fine and possible loss of demerit points. Best to just purchase the plate.
Each Australian state has different ways for you to order your mini number plates and different rules to follow. Prices and details on mini plates vary state to state. Fortunately, we’ve made it easy and listed them all here for you.
Where to order
|NSW||Online at myPlates.com.au or phone 131 758||$44.00|
|QLD||Online via ppq.com.au||up to $81.10 *|
|VIC||Phone 13 11 71 or visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre † /td>||$34.20|
|SA||Online via ezyplates.sa.gov.au †||$22.00|
|WA||Online via DoTDirect||$26.85|
|TAS||Complete the MR171 form available at transport.tas.gov.au||$18.17|
|ACT||Phone 13 22 81 or visit an Access Canberra location||$41.70 (metal)
|NT||Complete an application form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org †||$67|
* In Queensland, if you own a personalised plate combination and are purchasing an accessory plate the cost is $30.20 and if you own standard QLD registration plates the cost of an accessory plate is $81.10
† In Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory, you have the option to relocate your existing number plate rather than purchasing a separate bike plate.
New South Wales (NSW)
In NSW, mini number plates are referred to as auxiliary plates.
Auxiliary plates in NSW will cost you $44.00
NSW offers all the options for ordering your number plate. It’s really easy:
- Option 1: head to myPlates.com.au and follow the steps online
- Option 2: download, print and complete the Number Plates and/or Cancellation of Registration Form and lodge by mail or in person at a Service NSW Centre.
- Option 3: you can also call myPlates on 131 758.
myPlates says your plates will be delivered in 21 working days, although some eligibility criteria apply.
QLD refers to mini number plates as accessory plates.
If you own standard QLD registration plates the cost of an accessory plate is $81.10 – the most expensive in Australia. However, if you already own a personalised plate combination and are purchasing an accessory plate the cost is only $30.20.
- Option 1: order online from Personalised Plates Queensland at ppq.com.au
- Option 2: head to a Department of Transport and Main Roads customer service centre. If you’re in rural Queensland, you can go to a QGAP office, a Magistrates Court or certain local police stations.
PPQ says your new accessory plates should be delivered within 12 to 14 working days.
Driving with an obscured number plate in Victoria or improperly displayed number plate will see you lose three demerit points, as well as an on the spot fine. However, if you’re not keen on buying a mini plate then you’re able to attach your rear number plate to the bike rack. Just make sure to put it back on your vehicle when you’re done. If that sounds like too much effort, you can get another set of plates from VicRoads.
Bike rack number plates in Victoria start at $34.20.
- Option 1: call VicRoads on 13 11 71
- Option 2: drop into a VicRoads Customer Service Centre
VicRoads says to expect delivery of your new plates within 14 working days.
South Australia (SA)
In 2015, the South Australian Government doubled the fine for driving with an obscured number plate, with a maximum fine of $2,500. Like Victoria, in South Australia you have the option to remove the rear number plate and attach it to the bike rack or purchase a special bike rack number plate. However, make sure you if you order an additional plate it is a bicycle rack number plates and not a standard number plate. While you can move the standard rear number plate, you cannot display the rear number plate and a standard number plate on the bike rack at the same time.
Bike rack number plates in SA cost $22.00
Where to order
In SA, you can order your bike rack number plates online from ezyplates.sa.gov.au
EzyPlates advises on their FAQs that number plates can usually be collected from a customer service centre 10 working days after placing your order or posted to you for an additional fee.
Western Australia (WA)
In Western Australia, mini number plates are called auxiliary plates.
Auxiliary plates in WA will cost you $26.85
Where to order
Auxiliary plates can only be ordered online via a DoTDirect account.
You’ll be asked to nominate a DVS centre, Department of Transport office or by the authorised agent to collect the number plate. You will receive an email when the number plate is ready to be collected, but this may take up to four weeks.
In Tasmania, the plates are simply called Bike Rack Number Plates.
Tasmanians are in luck as the fees for mini number plates are the cheapest in the country at only $18.17.
Where to order
Complete the Application for a Duplicate or Bicycle Rack Number Plate form available on the Department of State Growth’s website and head to a Service Tasmania Shop to order and pay the fee
The Tasmanian Government advises that Bike Rack Number Plates may take 4 to 6 weeks to make, so be sure to plan ahead!
LEARN MORE ABOUT BIKE RACK NUMBER PLATES IN TAS
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
In the ACT, you’ll need a new bike rack number plate that’s the same number and material as your existing number plate.
ACT bike number plate prices start at $41.70 for metal and $74.50 for plastic.
- In the ACT, you’ll have to head to one of the Access Canberra locations
- You can also phone the Access Canberra Contact Centre on 13 22 81
Northern Territory (NT)
As with Victoria and South Australia, in the Northern Territory, you are able to relocate your existing number plate. Alternatively, you can purchase an additional number plate from the Motor Vehicle Registry (MVR). Number plates issued elsewhere or homemade are considered illegal.
According to nt.gov.au, a remake of your existing plate will cost you $67
Download an Application for Remake or Transfer of Right to Display Number Plates form and email the completed form to email@example.com, mail your application or apply in person at an MVR office. MVR will then call you to take a payment on a Visa or MasterCard.
The plates generally take six weeks and will be available for collection from an MVR office.
Bonus tips for keeping your bike rack and number plates legal
- To avoid any run-ins with the authorities, make sure your bikes don’t obscure the brake lights or indicators as this can also be classed as an offense and a safety issue.
- If your vehicle isn’t registered for any reason, it is an offense to keep the number plates (both official and mini sized). You’ll have to return them to a transport office in your state.
- If you are for looking the easiest way to attach your mini number plate to your bike rack, Yakima’s PlateMateTMaccessory number plate holder complies with all the relevant Australian state regulations and is super easy to install with the Velcro straps included.
These tips will ensure you can have a fun day cycling with piece of mind as you travel with your bikes.