"Ryan's Bill"--Bike Rack/License Plate solution, appears set to pass MO General Assembly today

UPDATE 17 MAY 2012: Your messages and advocacy have paid off again!  The language solving the bike rack/license plate problem has survived the conference committee and has now been passed by the Missouri Senate.  The House is very likely to take it up and pass it, too, before the legislative session ends Friday at 6pm.

Thanks to all who called, faxed, or emailed--and especially to Ryan Metcalf, who got a ticket, saw a problem, and set out to fix it.  The result--this bill now ready to pass the Missouri General Assembly.


Five minutes today sending an email or making a phone call the three key legislators could help solve a small but very annoying problem for bicyclists.

The problem?  The car in the photo to the right is ILLEGAL in Missouri today, because the bike rack and bicycle is obscuring the rear license plate.  Under current Missouri law, there is no way to solve this problem--except removing the rack.


HB1402, a transportation omnibus bill, has the solution to this problem and it is going to conference committee right now in the Missouri General Assembly.

The Senate included the language to fix the bike rack/license plate issue in HB 1402, but the House didn't.

This car is ILLEGAL in Missouri today--the rear license is covered up!
This car is ILLEGAL in Missouri today--the rear license is covered up!

Now the conference committee will decide whether the bike rack language will be included or not--and whether we can solve this problem once and for all, or whether we'll have to spend another year on it.


We need to contact conference committee members with this message:

Please retain the bike rack 3rd license plate language in HB 1402.  The language solves a problem in current Missouri law and has the support of all affected agencies and groups.  The language has had a hearing and been approved by both the House & Senate Transportation Committees and has been passed by both the House (amended to SB 470) and the Senate (amended to HB 1402).

Contact info for the conference committee members:

If you have time to send 3 short, quick emails today, or make some quick calls, it will help a lot.

This is the final week of the legislature, things are moving fast!


If your bike rack, or the bikes on it, cover up your rear license plate or even part of it, you are technically in violation of current Missouri law.

Some city police have been quite aggressive about ticketing some people with bike racks on their cars.

When we approached the police and our legislators about it, the couldn't see any solutions under current law.  If by chance your bike rack has a bar or slat that obscures part of your license plate, you are always in technical violation of the law and there is no way to fix the problem except removing the rack.  Most police officers won't enforce this strictly, but if your local police force or officer takes an interest in the issue, they are technically and practically in the right.

An interested state legislator, Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur, took the time to sit down with all the affect agencies and hammer out a solution:

  • You can, but are not required to, purchase a 3rd plate for your vehicle
  • The 3rd plate will cost less than $10 extra
  • The 3rd plate will be similar to the temporary plates that are issued for new cars
  • It will have the same license number as your regular plates
  • You will place the extra plate in your rear window whenever the bike/bike rack is obscuring your rear plate
  • If you do this, you will have 0% chance of getting a bike rack ticket

Again, the third plate solution is entirely optional.  If you're not worried about the problem, just proceed as you have.  But if you get a ticket or have a rack that really causes problems, you will have an option to solve the problem easily at a low price--IF HB 1504 passes with the bike rack language included.

We believe it is the best solution possible given our current Missouri laws.

Please take 5 minutes to call or email the three legislators and let's get this problem solved once and for all!

Thank you!  With your help, and bit by bit, we are making Missouri a better, safer place to walk and bicycle--and implementing MoBikeFed's Legislative Platform and Vision for Bicycling and walking in Missouri. When you contact your elected officials, it does make a difference!

Share this: