Guest Post: The Law on Motorcycle Number Plates

It’s no secret that motorcycles contribute heavily to the coolest vehicles on the planet lists. Maybe you’re riding a matt black Harley Davidson Fat Boy, preferably during a hot summer on open roads. Or maybe a Kawasaki Ninja in search of that adrenaline rush that only motorbikes can give to you. There’s a reason that we love these machines. Only people that have the pleasure of riding can truly understand why we get such a kick.

Something that can often ruin the aesthetics of a motorbike though is the number plate. Sitting awkwardly on the end of some bikes it just doesn’t fit in with cutting contours of a sports bike or the masculine presence of a big cruiser. That being said, it is vitally important that you don’t alter or hide these all-important plates. You could fall victim to an unwanted fine.

The DVLA state that motorcycles that were registered after 1 September 2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the bike. Before this date, you can show your registration both at the front and the rear if you really wanted to.  If you are not familiar with the requirements of legal motorcycle number plates. There are a few things you may feel are a little extensive, but they are essential.

Here are a few of them:

  • Characters must be 64mm tall
  • Characters (except the number 1 or letter I) must be 44mm wide
  • The character stroke (the thickness of the black print) must be 10mm
  • The space between characters must be 10mm
  • The space between the age identifier and the random letters must be 30mm
  • The margins at the top, bottom and side of the plate must be at least 11mm
  • ertical space between the age identifier and the random numbers must be 13mm.

All of these details ensure the number plate conforms to British Standards. Which is the legislation that makes sure people are not buying or supplying number plates illegally. That being said, you are not totally restricted in what you are able to with your plates. Pressed aluminium plates are becoming more popular by the day due to their long lasting durability. They are much more likely to withstand the pressure and speed we put them under.

Companies like Number 1 Plates offer bespoke solutions for your number plates. Giving you some freedom when designing your registration plates. You don’t have to have the same old 9” x 7” square sat at the rear of your vehicle. As long as the dimensions are to a minimum legal requirement. Then you could have a plate designed that perfectly matches your bike, adding that special finishing touch.

How do I legally buy number plates? 


In order to stop other people purchasing number plates that they do not rightfully own (to avoid the likelihood of vehicle cloning). Registered number plates suppliers are required to see an ID for the person placing the order. Along with an entitlement document, like your vehicle logbook or private registration certificate of entitlement. Though not an ideal way to do things. It does have a serious purpose and is in place to keep your plates safe!

Previous Guest Post: 5 Safety Tips For New Riders

Author: Emma Henry

Emma Henry is the Digital Marketing Manager and Contributor to WeBuyAnyBike.com. For any blog enquiries, please email [email protected]

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