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State-by-State Regulations on Bike Carriers

State-by-State Regulations on Bike Carriers

Wanting to stay out of trouble when travelling with the bikes on a bike rack?

Every Australian state and territory have their own governing rules regarding travelling with bikes attached to your vehicle and as the driver. It’s up to you to become familiar with these different rules depending on where you are travelling.

Bikes have become a popular sport for adults and children in recent years and they are a great way to get out and exercise.

New bike laws need to have the best bike carriers for cars on the market and can be a challenge especially when every state can change them at different times making it difficult to keep up with what is law. Wouldn’t it be simple to just toss the bike on your roof and tie it down with some strapping and drive off. Every state and territory have these rules in place to make sure all the road users remain safe and protected on the roads.

New South Wales

Roof Racks

Roof Mounted Bike Carriers

You need to ensure that the bike is connected securely.

• The bike is secure firmly to the bike rack
• The bike rack is secure to the roof rack
• The roof rack is secured correctly to the vehicle.

Rear Mounted Bike Carriers

• Only secure the number of bikes the rack is designed for

• Must not exceed the weight the carrier is designed to carry
• Make sure the load and the carrier do not protrude more than 150mm beyond the width of both sides of the vehicle
• Make sure the number plate is clearly visible. You can purchase bike carrier number plates online from
• The auxiliary number plate is securely attached to the bike carrier and the top edge of it is not to be 1300mm above the ground
• You need to ensure that the bike rack and bikes do not obscure the indicators, tail, brake or reverse lights of the back of the vehicle
• If carrying the bike carrier at night you need to have a light fitted to allow the auxiliary number plate to be seen.

You risk penalties if:

• The bike rack or any bike fitted to it obscures and light or number plate and if it is not fitted with an additional set of lights and the auxiliary number plate.
• The bike rack with or without the bike creates a dangerous protrusion to either side of the vehicle.

• The bike is not correctly secured.


Victoria has extremely specific rules for bike carriers compared to other states. These are around safety when the vehicle is stopped and in motion.

If the bike rack is permanently fixed to the vehicle, then this becomes considered as part of the vehicle. Any load then including the bike and the carrier regardless of if it has bikes attached or not must never protrude more than 150mm from either side of the vehicle.

General rules for all bike carriers:

• Any bike carrier, fitting or even attachment must never have any sharp edges, corners or protrusions and it should never protrude beyond wither side of the vehicle.
• Every exposed section of the bike carrier must ne radiused and deburred
• The side and rear protruding parts need to be designed to ensure minimal risk of injury to any person that comes in contact with the carrier.

Including these guidelines, any vehicle that carries bikes or has a fitted bike carrier must comply with the general dimension limits set out by VicRoads the governing authority including:

• Unable to exceed 2.5m wide and 4.3m high including the bike and bike carrier.
• Rear mounted carriers are unable to exceed 60% of the wheelbase or 3.7m, whichever is less in order to comply.

Rear Mounted Bike Carriers

Bike carriers are unable to protrude more than 1.2m beyond the back of the vehicle. If it is unable to stay within this measure, then a warning signal needs to be carried on the outermost part of the bike.

A warning needs to be:

• If a day, a bright coloured flag or piece of material, each being a minimal of 300mm long
• Night driving needs to have a red light that projects a minimum of 200metres.

Number Plates

The rear number plate must be clearly visible from 20m from the number plate and within a 90-degree horizontal distance stance with a vertical arc of 45 degrees

• For a rear mounted bike carrier you will need to remove the rear number plate from the vehicle and attach it to the bike carrier, alternatively you can contact VicRoads for more information or order a separate bike carrier number plate to add to the back of the bike carrier.


Your bike carrier and any bikes you are carrying need to have sufficient of a night, and you are responsible for ensuring that all lights indicators are not obscured. Regardless of if you purchased your bike carrier for cars in Sydney, when travelling it is up to you to ensure you are compliant with these rules.


It is not easy to find clear and factual information on Queensland in regard to bike carriers, however, there are rules when transporting any kind of load to your vehicle.

Making sure:

• The load is correctly restrained
• Does not overhang 2.5m wide or be higher than 4.3m
• Does not exceed mass limits
• Does not obscure or cover lights, indicators, number plate or reflectors.
• You might need to think about buying an accessory indicator board for the back of the vehicle

If you have a light vehicle you need to remember to keep the load safe.

• Choose the right vehicle
• Ensure the load is positioned correctly
• Use the right method of load restraint.

Western Australia

All the number plate must be clearly visible when the vehicle is on the road. When attaching bikes, you need to ensure nothing is blocked. You can order an auxiliary plate.


The ACT has very limited information for the bike rack requirements, but as with all states you must never obscure the number plate and you can, if need be, purchase an auxiliary plate for the back of the bike rack.

• Bike racks can only ever be attached to the vehicle when you are transporting bikes.
• All number plates must display the vehicle number plate that is being used to transport the bikes
• If you need a bike rack number plate you can contact Access Canberra Contact Centre on 13 22 81

**IMPORTANT** If you enter NSW From the ACT then you must follow the laws and rules from NSW.

South Australia

You may need a number plate of you attach bikes to the back of your vehicle.

• The bike plate can be displayed to the bike rack on the actual rack
• You can remove the rear number plate front the rear of the vehicle and attach this to the bike carrier ensuring you reattach it to the vehicle when you remove the carrier.
• The back numberplate must be the same as the vehicle that has the bikes attached to it.
• You cannot obscure any lights at the back of the vehicle.

Bike plates can be ordered from EzyPlates

Northern Territory

The NT has very simple rules to follow but they are strict on their requirements

You must do ALL the following:

• Make sure the bike rack is free of sharp edges and protrusions
• Secure the tow bar or roof rack and its load
• Make sure welding on the bike rack fits within the Australian Standards
• Attach the bike rack according to the manufacturer’s warranty
• Secure the bike to the actual bike rack

When in the NT you need to make sure the bike rack and its load does not do any of the following.

• Project behind the back of the vehicle
• Protrude more than 150mm beyond the extreme width of the sides of the vehicle
• Exceed rear overhang limits if 60% of the wheelbase
• Block the vision of the driver at the rear of the vehicle
• Block the number plate
• You must remove the bike rack when not in use


Tasmania has very similar rules to Victoria

• Bike racks must be securely attached to the vehicle and may require routine checking
• Bikes need to be securely attached to the bike carrier
• The load is not to have accessory items fitted that may become detached when you travel
• The bike carrier can only have the number of bikes that it is manufactured to have attached to
• You must never exceed the tow weight of the roof rack or tow ball

In addition to this

• Any load must not protrude further than 150mm from either side of the vehicle or have a total width of 2.5m
• Never project more than 1.2m beyond the rear of the vehicle, if you are not able to do this then you need a warning sign on the outermost part of the load. The warning sign must be a bright red & yellow or red or yellow flag and each side needs to be 300mm long and if driving of a night in the dark must have a red light that can be seen for at least 200m.

If the vehicle is fitted with a rear mounted bike carrier and the number plate is not clearly visible you may do the following:

• Remove the bike rack
• Reposition the bike so the number plate is not obscured
• Fit a bike rack number plate that replicates the vehicle’s registration plate details.

If you are preparing to travel interstate with your bikes it is your responsibility as the driver to ensure that to check with each states governing road and traffic bodies to ensure you are compliant with each state road rules when transporting your bikes on bike carriers.

When looking for custom roof racks installation in Sydney, you can rely on Bars N Racks for honesty and reliability. Our team will confidently provide you with roof racks in Sydney for the specific needs that you intend on adding on top of your vehicle.

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