Bikes can obscure car plates and lights.
A police highway patrol education initiative is targeting
motorists who travel with bicycles and cycling equipment
strapped to the back of vehicles, obscuring registration number
plates and tail-lights.
Highway patrol officers in central and coastal Otago had
noticed the trend was increasing, particularly in areas close
to the Otago Central Rail Trail and other popular cycling
It was also more of a problem during the summer holiday
period and when cycling competitions were held.
Constable Howard Jackson, of Oamaru, said the covering up of
registration plates and lights was punishable by a $100 fine
and 25 demerit points.
Officers hoped the education programme would save motorists
from being fined, and reduce the risk of traffic incidents,
He had seen the entire back of vehicles covered by sheets in
an effort to protect surface paint from being scratched by
bicycles and carriers, which was a concern, Const Jackson
It was a safety issue, particularly at night, he said.
''It means other motorists cannot see tail-lights and number
plates are also hidden. If it is dark then vehicles cannot be
seen from behind,'' he said.
Those unable to position bicycles away from lights and
registration plates could buy ''supplementary number plates''
for about $20, he said.
The plates were approved by the New Zealand Transport Agency
under the Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and
Licensing) Regulations 2011.
Drivers could attach supplementary plates to bicycle racks,
dog boxes and other objects which obscured permanent plates.
Various businesses throughout Otago had ''come on board''
with the highway patrol education campaign and stocked
supplementary plates as well as information leaflets, Const
Pamphlets could also be obtained from police stations, he