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Ask Phoebe: Rego plate must be legible and unobscured

You may be fined if your registration plate is obscured or illegible. Photo / Thinkstock
You may be fined if your registration plate is obscured or illegible. Photo / Thinkstock

I quite often see cars on the motorway with two or three or even four bicycles hanging from the rear end, blotting out the lights, indicators, and the number plates. Is this legal? I drive a 40 ton tanker, and on occasions I have had to swerve or brake to avoid these vehicles doing a lane change.

- Ed Cottam, Browns Bay.

Under current legislation, it is mandatory that a registration plate is legible and unobscured. Section 28 of the Land Transport (Motor Vehicle Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2011 allows drivers to obtain supplementary registration plates that can be attached to objects such as dog boxes or bike racks that obscure permanent registration plates.

This means drivers don't have to remove and reattach registration plates when they carry objects that obscure them.

Supplementary registration plates:

* Must bear the same set of characters as that of the registration plates assigned to that vehicle.
* Can only be attached to a motor vehicle that bears the ordinary or personalised plate of the same registration number.
* Are not mandatory.

Drivers can choose to remove their usual registration plate and attach it to the object that is obscuring it. You may be fined if your registration plate is obscured or illegible.

I recently drove along Park Rd in Newmarket and noticed a large old building called the Northern Health School. This set me thinking - what is the Northern Health School? Is the building still used for that purpose?

- Bill Davidson, Mt Eden.

Yes it is. This school is one of three New Zealand health schools providing community, in-home and hospital-based teaching to school-aged students who are unable, either through serious illness or accident, to attend their regular school. The other two health schools are Central, based in Wellington, and Southern, based in Christchurch.

The Northern Health School has more than 500 students, pretty evenly divided between mental ill health, oncology and other physical illnesses.

The northern region has centres in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane and New Plymouth.

While driving home from Devonport, I noticed a taxi van with no passengers in it in the bus lane on Esmonde Road. It stayed in the bus lane on the Northern Motorway till it reached the harbour bridge and the bus lane ended. The motorway was free flowing at the time. I rang the taxi company and they said they were allowed to use the bus lane. Is this correct? The signs clearly state Buses Only.

- Jason Rowe, Mangere Bridge.

Vehicles such as tour buses, airport shuttles and taxi vans may use the busway provided they have applied for and received authorisation from the Transport Agency and/or Auckland Transport. The policy restricting the right of other high-occupancy vehicles to use the busway may be reviewed when all lanes of the Victoria Park Tunnel are open for use.

Clarification: The column of February 7 incorrectly said motorcycles may not use transit lanes. Auckland Transport has now amended its website, which I quoted from, to make it clear that motorcycles, motor scooters and mopeds may use T2 and T3 transit lanes. They may not, however, use lanes marked Buses Only.

- NZ Herald

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