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Motorbike numberplates explained

Motorbike Number Plates Explained – Where Should I Put It, And What Should It Look Like?

Sometimes in life, it’s nice to stand out from the crowd.  When it comes to your motorbike number plate, however, everything must be uniform.  Every vehicle has its own unique number plate, also referred to as the registration plate.  This is how we, and others, recognise our motorbikes and how we can identify the age of the bike.

There are strict rules and regulations that cover exactly how your number plate should look and where they should be placed.

Where Should A Motorbike Number Plate Be Displayed?

It is a legal requirement that you always display your number plate on the back of your bike. However, if your bike was registered before 01 September 2001 you can also display a number plate on the front, although there is no legal requirement to do so.

What Should The Number Plate Look Like?

Unlike cars, where the plate runs in one long line, motorbike number plates MUST be displayed across two lines. Motorcycles registered prior to the 1 September 2001, may display a three-line plate, but one-line plates are completely illegal.

Can I Choose My Font?

No!  It used to be the case that some cars had italic fonts on their number plates, but these are now illegal.  All number plates must use a standard font to make them easier to read.  From the 1st September 2001, all motorcycle number plates must display the mandatory font as prescribed in law.

Can I Alter The Appearance Of My Number Plate In Any Way?

In years gone by, some drivers used to place fixing bolts in a way that changed the appearance of the letters or numbers on the registration plate.  This is now illegal and all number plates must be affixed using the pre-drilled holes.

Your number plate must adhere to the following design to be legally acceptable:

  • It must be made from a reflective material
  • It must display black characters on a white background (if you have a front plate)
  • It must display black characters on a yellow background (for the mandatory rear plate)
  • It may not have a background pattern

What Size Should My Number Plate Be?

Depending on the type of registration plate you have i.e. private plates or new format registration marks, there are different plate sizes available.  They must, however, be a no smaller than 120mm x 180mm and no larger than 228mm x 180mm.

Exceptions To The Rules

If you are lucky enough to own a classic motorbike, you will be able to keep your old style black and white number plate. These may be embossed and in some cases, even curved.

If you own a two or three-wheeled motorcycle or tricycle that has a body type of a four-wheeled vehicle, you MUST display a number plate at the front and back of the vehicle.

Private plates are different again, but they must still adhere to the rules above in most cases.

It’s nice to be different, but when it comes to our motorbikes, keep your number plate in line with the legal requirements at all times.