While travelling on UK roads, you may have seen some variations when it comes to motorcycle number plates. From black and silver plates positioned across the front wheel, to some that use no plate at all at the bike’s front, not all motorcycles carry the same style of reg. Another element that varies is motorcycle number plate size.
You might have come across a motorbike with a very small plate at the rear – so small that both the authorities and other motorists would struggle to read it. On seeing such a plate, you might wonder if the rider is breaking UK law and question exactly what is the standard size of a motorcycle number plate? Read on for a wealth of information that will help you make certain you stay on the right side of the law.
In the UK, we have very specific rules that govern the size of these plates, so if you see a motorcycle with a tiny plate, the chances are the owner is in breach of the law.
What is the legal size of a motorcycle number plate?
The standard size of a plate is most commonly nine inches by seven inches in total. While there is no exact ruling on plate size, the letters it contains must always follow this sizing correctly. Since 2001, all the characters on motorcycle registrations have been required to be 64mm in height with a width of 44mm. The exceptions to this rule are the number 1 and the letter I.
There are also rules regarding how thick the letters are, along with the distance between letters. Both the stroke and the spacing must measure 10mm. The gap that separates the age identifier numerals and the randomly selected letters must measure 30mm and the distance between the two text lines at bottom and top are required to be 13mm. Lastly, 11mm of space must be left between the edge of a number plate and the characters it displays.
UK motorcycle number plate law
Motorbikes registered prior to September 1st 2001 are entitled to spread text on three lines if preferred, but displaying a registration on a single line is illegal. Motorcycles registered after or on September 1st 2001 can only display their number plates at the rear of the bike. Older models may display their registration at the front, but this is optional.
Characters and colours of legal motorcycle plates
As with car registrations in the UK, the two alphabetic characters on a plate refer to the region where a bike was originally registered. These are followed by an age indicator created by taking the last two digits of the year the bike was registered in, or by adding 50 to this number if it was issued in the second half of the period. The last three letters on a bike plate are random. Those buying a brand new bike can select these characters themselves and use them to reflect their brand of bike or even their own initials. To be within the law, the registration should be spread over two separate lines and be presented on a square number plate.
As with car registrations, these rear plates on bikes must be presented in black characters on a yellow plate crafted from reflective material.
To ensure your motorcycle number plate meets the conditions set out in law, it’s worth purchasing through an experienced dealer like New Reg. We’ll ensure your motorcycle number plate matches all relevant criteria, helping you to avoid paying fines or failing your annual MOT test. Fines can be as high as £1,000, so it’s well worth making sure your plate is legal.