Motorcycle Forums » Legal Issues

side mount vert. lic. plates

  • March 21, 2011 11:33 PM PDT
    I know there have been some related posts about this but I am throwing it out here again in hopes of getting some more input on peoples experience in diffferent areas.  I have been hearing hubba about new laws or old ones being enforced that maybe previously were not regarding side mount vertical license plate holders. Personally I have always ran one and ridden all over the country without much concern for the local law on it and my experience is in the states they are restricted it did not seem to be enforced. The one exception to this I hear about is if it is percieved that you are causing some trouble and they (LEO's) are looking for a reason to give you a hard time or to question you they will use this for cause to talk to you. I am curious what the different state laws are currently and how actively they are being enforced?

    I would love to hear from some of you as to what your state law is and how actively they are enforcing it. I am also curious what states require a vehicle inspections for registration as I assume this is part of it??

    I am asking because I have to replace mine and I am likely moving out of state but have not figured put where yet.

    Cheers!

  • March 22, 2011 1:20 AM PDT
    NC requires an inspection for registration. Don't know bout the vertical plates, never ran one and have not heard of hassels about them here.
    • 5417 posts
    March 22, 2011 2:12 AM PDT
    California law states: "License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and so that the characters are upright and display from left to right, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible."

    I see a number of bikes still running vert plates and have not really seen the law enforced.  But as you said, it could easily be a reason to pull you over when no other reason may exist. 


    I ride a Road King and use the standard mount, so if my plate is vertical we have a problem
    • Moderator
    • 14769 posts
    March 22, 2011 5:59 AM PDT
    Here in Pennsylvania we seem to have two standards concerning what's legal on motorcycles.
    The companies that build and sell choppers have a lot of "wiggle room" on legalities.
    They get away with more rake and trail on the front ends, exposed moving engine parts, vertical license plates, ect. that is deemed as illegal modifications, and will fail annual state inspection on other bikes.
  • March 22, 2011 2:23 PM PDT
    i have a vertical plate on one of my bikes and here in Ohio I have had no problem but I also made a bracket so I can change it if riding in an area I am not sure of
  • March 22, 2011 7:30 PM PDT
    as previously mentioned they are illegal here in CA. That is supposedly because law enforcement is switching over to the automoate license plate identification system. Apparently the computer cannot recognize, photograph, and run yout number automatically without any input from the officer, if they are mounted vertically. Side mounts are legal only if the full license plate can be seen/read at up to a 45 dergree angle from the rear of the opposite side of the bike
    • 33 posts
    March 23, 2011 1:29 AM PDT
    MOST cops would not bother you. Some will stop you for anything they can find, some might stop you if they see something else that is giving them clues that you might be a "good stop". And some cops wouldn't stop you no matter what you did. If a guy is going to violate these chippy little laws, he would be wise to not be a "good stop." In other words, if you have a verticle plate, or a non-dot helmet, or bars that are a little too tall, or a tail light out (etc...) don't be a dick when you get stopped, don't be smuggling imigrants in your saddle bags, don't have a warrant, don't have a few beers in ya,,, you get the idea.

    Its also just an equipment issue, so maybe carry a wrench so you can turn it horizontal for a few miles if you need to...
  • March 23, 2011 3:12 AM PDT
    Thanks for the input guys. Nothing from anyone that has astually heard of someone getting a ticket for this recently??

    Heretic I have read the revised law on the book for CA and there is no mention of the 45 degree angle rule, where did you get this from? I could see it being some LEO's own guideline for defining "clearly visible" but that does not make it the law of the land. I think if you can make reasonable claim that it is a discussion point only. Not that I make a habit of debating vehicle codes with LEOs or judges but if everything else is in line and it is debatable than I think the burden of proof would be on them as much as you.

    Here is the revised CA vehicle code pertaining to bike plates:
    V Positioning of Plates

    http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d03/vc5201.htm

    5201. License plates shall at all times be securely fastened to the vehicle for which they are issued so as to prevent the plates from swinging, shall be mounted in a position so as to be clearly visible, and so that the characters are upright and display from left to right, and shall be maintained in a condition so as to be clearly legible. The rear license plate shall be mounted not less than 12 inches nor more than 60 inches from the ground, and the front license plate shall be mounted not more than 60 inches from the ground, except as follows:

    (no exceptions listed pertaining to bikes)
    • 1161 posts
    March 23, 2011 4:44 AM PDT
    So dose this include "motifyed car or truck" with the plate being put into a different location and angle? Just wondering if it is included for both cars and trucks as well as motorcycles.
  • March 23, 2011 5:49 AM PDT
    Not finding anything on Vert mounted plate here in NC. Called DMV and that was a lost cause. Did find the stuff on ground effect lighting I have been looking for tho!
    • 5417 posts
    March 23, 2011 6:25 AM PDT
    Seakers wrote...
    So dose this include "motifyed car or truck" with the plate being put into a different location and angle? Just wondering if it is included for both cars and trucks as well as motorcycles.

    Not sure about other areas, but the law here in California (see above) is for all licensed motorvehicles.

  • March 23, 2011 12:28 PM PDT
    the position of the license plate being visible is for all CA vehicles and has apparently been on the books for years. It is just now being enforced because of the automated license recignition systems...it is now even going to be enforced for those of us with license plates attached to the fenders of trailers... One of my goof friend's son is a CHP officer, so he keeps us up on what they are watching for. He made a point of telling me this because my last chopper had a vertical side mount plate, and I was going tp do the same on my current project
  • March 23, 2011 1:10 PM PDT
    As long as the chipes can see the plate and it is lit up i cant see a problem... unless they cant read sidewazzz! duh!
  • March 30, 2011 4:53 AM PDT
    Section 316.2085(3), Florida Statutes states:

    The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up. No device for or method of concealing or obscuring the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle shall be installed or used. The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed horizontally to the ground so that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped for which the numbers and letters read from top to bottom may be affixed perpendicularly to the ground, provided that the registered owner of the motorcycle or moped maintains a prepaid toll account in good standing and a transponder associated with the prepaid toll account is affixed to the motorcycle or moped.

    In Florida, I have not heard of any specific enforcement - perhaps because most follow the law.
    Hope this helps.
    • 2072 posts
    March 30, 2011 12:49 PM PDT
    Talked to a CHP about this just the other day. They have been told to start enforcing the plate laws.......
  • April 11, 2011 2:00 PM PDT

    Im new member and a traffic cop in South Carolina the code section in SC is 56-3-1240 Display of plates- the portions of the law that applies to motorcycles states if a motorcycle is equipped with a vertically mounted license plate bracket its license plate must be mounted vertically with its top fastened along the vertical edge. The bottom of the plate must be at a height of not less than twelve inches from the ground in a place and position  clearly visible.

  • April 19, 2011 4:04 AM PDT
    This Law was stuck in at the same time they passed the Wheelie Law in Florida..(Front wheel off the ground careless driving) I still see a lot of vertical plates, so I figure they don't enforce it too strongly..