Motorcycle number plates seem to be a much more casual business than automobile number plates. After all, you see them mounted every which way: on swing arms, saddlebags and haphazardly on the frame. Even so, each state's Department of Transportation has rules regarding the approved mounting of a number plate on a motorcycle. So before you take off your stock plate frame and get too deep into the modification process, it's best to check your state's rules.
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The main issue regarding number plate location on a motorcycle is visibility. Almost every state's legal verbiage involves the plate's being visible from behind at a distance (50 feet is a good rule of thumb), unobstructed and clearly lit at night.
Motorcycle number plates, like automobile number plates, must be the metal, state-issued, reflective type.
The light over a motorcycle number plate is called a tag light and must light the plate so it's clearly visible at night; for this reason, trendy coloured lights are frowned upon by law enforcement and may net you a costly fix-it ticket.
Side-mounting a number plate is legal in some states and not legal in others. Check before riding your bike across state lines.
As with automobile number plates, a variety of speciality plates that generate income for worthy state agencies (for example, ocean cleanup or the firemen's fund) are available for bikes.