by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com
Being a huge advocate of cycling visibility, the minute I saw the Auto Rack tail light extension system, I was impressed. I was at the RAGBRAI Expo last summer where the light system was being introduced, what a great idea! If you are like me when biking you wear bright clothing and ride with bike lights so you are noticed. Seeing this extension system, got me thinking about the investment many of us have strapped to the back of our vehicles. How often are the tail lights or license plate obstructed from view?
A tail light extension system makes sense
Never having seen or thought much about lights for a bike rack, the Auto Rack system makes a lot of sense. It not only is an added safety feature for your car. This light system also helps protect your bike(s) you have strapped on the back. In the picture below, can you see the auto’s tail lights or license plate clearly?
The Auto Rack is a patented auxiliary system that easily mounts to the last bike placed on the rack. Selecting either the aluminum or hard plastic frame model extends the visibility of your rear lights. Both models uses a standard 4-pole flat trailer light connection to transmit the stop, turn and tail light functions. They both have a mounting platform for your vehicle’s license plate also. So, by using a Auto Rack system, accidents can be prevented and there is less of a chance of being pulled over by police.
It is easy to use
Attaching the Auto Rack light system is relatively easy, especially if you already have a trailer light receptacle to plug the unit into. Once your bikes are secure on your bike rack, just attach the light system to the last bike mounted. The Rack comes with straps affixed on each side to easily secure the system. Plus, there are bungee cords and four (4) tubular pads that can be adjusted for added protection of your bike. See installation instructions here for more details.
How the law reads on tail light and license plate obstruction
Searching the state statutes across the country it looks like it might be illegal throughout the U.S. when a license plate and/or tail light is obstructed from view. What we are hearing from many multi-modal touring cyclists, thankfully the law is usually over looked. However, as I mention above, it does open up the chance that you may be pulled over, which is never fun.