License Plate Visibility
Scott asked: I had a police officer pull me over the other day and tell me that I could not have my bike rack on my car unless I was actively carrying a bicycle. I am curious about the Florida law regarding bike racks that obscure your license plate.
I don’t understand the officer’s objection. There is no prohibition to having a bike rack on a car without the bicycle. A roof rack, for example. I assume the problem was the visibility of the license plate, which would likely be more obscured with the bike on the rack than without.
There is a statute that addresses the visibility of the license plate. It must be clearly visible at all times.
s. 316.605 – Licensing of Vehicles
(1) Every vehicle, at all times while driven, stopped, or parked upon any highways, roads, or streets of this state, shall be licensed in the name of the owner thereof in accordance with the laws of this state unless such vehicle is not required by the laws of this state to be licensed in this state and shall …. display the license plate …. on the rear and …. to be securely fastened to the vehicle outside the main body of the vehicle not higher than 60 inches and not lower than 12 inches from the ground and no more than 24 inches to the left or right of the centerline of the vehicle …. and all letters, numerals, printing, writing, and other identification marks upon the plates regarding the word “Florida,” the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be clear and distinct …. so that they will be plainly visible and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear ….
Frequently, I see temporary plates affixed to a motor vehicle (in cases of a lost plate?) I recommend that you ask the police department to clarify the officer’s statement and if a temporary license plate fully visible above or to the side of the bike rack would suffice.