Do Bike Racks Need Lights?

Transporting a bike on a rack comes with several concerns, and one of them is whether to fit lights or not. So, do bike racks need lights?

A bike rack only needs lights if it obscures your vehicle’s plate number or rear light. However, you can fit bike rack lights if you want to avoid possible accidents in the dark.

I’ll share more about the three instances that prompt you to invest in a bike rack light. I’ll also briefly review the various types of bike rack lights.

What you should know beforehand, however, is that you don’t have to bother with the lights if it’s a roof rack. That’s unless you want to access it at night.

Ordinarily, you need a light when dealing with a rear-mounted rack, a hitch, trunk, or spare tire mounted, to be precise.

Let’s explore the instances when a bike rack light is necessary and when it’s not.

do bike racks need lights

In a rush? Find your ideal bike rack light on the hotlist below:

3 Hottest Bike Racks Lights

1. Let’s Go Aero LED Kit: Best Auxiliary Lighting Kit

2. SUNLITE Tl-L505 Tail Light: Best Rear Rack Light

3. Discount Ramps Hitch Light: Best Hitch Rack Lights

Do Bike Racks Need Lights? (When Do you Need Lights?)

Before you can invest in a bike rack light, you should be sure that you need it.

In that case, you need a bike rack light if:

1. The Bike Rack Blocks the Vehicle’s Registration Number

Most states expect you to replicate your vehicle’s number plate using an auxiliary light kit if the rack is obstructing the number plate.

Failure to do so usually is equivalent to a criminal offense.

Understandably, the law requires your number plate to be visible. If it’s not due to the rack blocking it, you should fit an auxiliary bike light kit.

These kits feature not only eye-safe LED lights but also a number plate holder. The Let’s Go Aero Universal LED Lighting Kit exemplifies that.

2. The Bike Rack Blocks the Vehicle’s Rear Light

The law also expects you to install lights onto your bike rack or vehicle if the rack obscures the rear light. In such a case, the rack lights replicate the vehicle’s backlight.

But unlike the first case, you don’t have to fit an auxiliary light here if the rack is not blocking the number plate.

You can use any rear-mounted rack light, provided it can offer you adequate illumination.

3. You Want to Avoid Possible Accidents

Note that your rack doesn’t have to block the plate number or the vehicle’s rear light for you to fit a bike rack light.

If the rack makes it hard to reverse your car at night, you should fit some lights. In such a case, it doesn’t matter if the law obliges you to do so or not.

You’ll not only save yourself from breaking any law and also from hitting something at night

But When Don’t Your Bike Rack Need Lights?

Generally, you don’t need a bike rack light if:

  • The rack is not blocking the car’s registration number
  • The rack is not blocking the car’s rear light

That means that you don’t need bike rack lights if you only have a roof rack. But if it’s a hitch or trunk rack or if the bike covers a rear light, then you should fit some powerful lights.

Types of Bike Rack Lights

Here are three types of lights to consider for your bike rack:

a) Auxiliary Bike Rack Light Kit

An auxiliary bike lighting kit comes with eye-safe LED lights and a number plate holder.

The plate holder temporarily holds your vehicle’s registration number while the LED lights replicate your vehicle’s rear light.

One such kit is the Let’s Go Aero Universal LED Lighting Kit.

How do you put lights on a bike rack

This axillary light kit comes in a universal design to fit the bike rack directly and the vehicle’s body. So, you have the freedom to fit it anywhere you want.

It comes with 72-inch wiring, which is enough for the rack, and features 4-flat connector plugs.

Its LED lights are just bright enough and road compliant. Plus, the kit comes with two brackets for the license plate and essential mounting hardware.

Remarkably, its LED lights have stop, turn, and running modes that keep you safe on the road.

b) Rear Rack Bike Rack Light

Rear rack bike rack lights, popularly known as rack tail lights, are designed to be placed anywhere on the vehicle’s rear end.

They are essential when the rack obscures the vehicle’s rear rack and not the plate number. So, they don’t come with an auxiliary plate holder, as it’s the case with auxiliary light kits.

Rear rack bike rack lights are easy to install and come with multiple modes to help other motorists notice you.

One best rack mounted rear bike light is the SUNLITE Tl-L505 Tail Light.

This tail light comes in a universal fit to allow you to bolt it anywhere on the rear rack. It features 5 LED lights with an inbuilt reflector that boosts your road visibility.

So, it becomes easier for other road users to see you.

The LED lights enjoy one steady mode and three twinkling/flashing modes to offer you custom options.

It’s battery-powered and comes with two powerful AAA batteries to allow you to use it immediately after fitting it.

c) Hitch-Mount Bike Rack Lights

Instead of getting a rear rack light, you can get a hitch-mount light if you have a hitch rack. This light illuminates over your hitch rack to replicate your vehicle’s backlight.

You may require to drill some of these lights. However, others are attached using magnets.

One fantastic recommendation is the Discount Ramps Hitch Cargo-Carrier Light Kit.

You can drill this light on the rack for a permanent solution. Alternatively, you can mount it using its mounting magnets for a portable solution.

It features ten bright but eye-safe LED lights that improve your visibility in the dark. Remarkably, the light is full function – indicating when you turn either side, speed up, or stop.

So, there couldn’t be a perfect replica of your blocked rear light than this.

It comes with a 130-inch wiring harness and flat-4 connector that allows you to set it up quickly.

do you need a light board for a bike rack


1. Does A Bike Rack Need Lights

Not all bike racks require lights. Roof racks, for example, don’t need lights unless you want to access them at night.

Rear racks, however, require lights if they are either blocking the plate number or the vehicle’s rear light.

2. How Do You Put Lights On A Bike Rack?

Most rack lights come with mounting brackets that you use to fit them onto the rack. Others require you to drill them onto the bike rack permanently.

Nonetheless, a few others have stronger magnets to allow you to attach them to the bicycle rack.

3. Do You Need A Light Board For A Bike Rack?

If your rack covers either the plate number or the vehicle’s rear light, you should get a light board. It comes in handy in replicating your vehicle’s rear light and plate number (in the case of auxiliary lights).

4. Is It Okay For Bike Rack To Cover License Plate?

It’s not okay for bike racks to cover license plates in a lot of places. Such an offense is punishable unless you have an auxiliary license plate that acts as your temporary registration number.

But considering that traffic laws differ between states, you should confirm first before hitting the road.

5. Are Lights Required On A Bike?

Lights are only essential on a bike when cycling when there’s low visibility, especially in the dark. They not only make you visible, but they also prevent you from crashing.

So, if you plan to cycle at night, investing in a bike light is recommendable.

6. Can You Drive With An Empty Rack?

It’s unlawful to drive with an empty bicycle rack in some places. Law enforcers see them as safety hazards, especially when they are not folded or secured.

So, confirm from your local authority if it’s okay to drive with an empty bike rack or not.

7. Can You Put A Bike Rack On The Front Of A Car?

It’s not advisable to put a bike rack on the front of a car as it could obstruct the license plate and your view. Instead, it’s recommendable to fit it on the vehicle’s rear side or the rooftop.

8. Can Trunk Bike Racks Be Stolen?

It’s easier for someone to steal a trunk bike rack if it’s not well secured onto the vehicle. Typically, it can happen when you leave the bike carrier unattended for long. It could be overnight or at a place with fewer people.

You can, however, boost its security by locking it onto the vehicle.

In conclusion, do bike racks need lights?

Unless the bike rack blocks the license plate or the vehicle’s rear lights, auxiliary rack lights are unnecessary. But it’s a good idea to do it regardless of whether the law obliges you or not, just for the sake of your security.