Motorcycle License Plate Dimensions for States in the U.S.A.
Editor’s Note: (July 9, 2009) This information was recently sent by a webBikeWorld reader who wishes to remain anonymous. We thought it was interesting, so here it is.
Here’s a table of official motorcycle license plate dimensions for all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
One thing’s for sure: nobody said having 50 states, each with their own laws (state, county, city, township, neighborhood association, etc.) and regulations was going to save anybody any money.
But don’t you think they could get together on something as simple as the size of a motorcycle license plate? Or even the diameter of a bolt hole? In the end, it’s the NON-standards like this that cost the consumer, cause confusion and, in the end, do absolutely nothing at all for the states.
And by the way — what gives with the inch measuring system? It’s 2009, not 1889! Let’s take Connecticut as an example. How about that 2-27/32″ distance between holes??
So tell me — someone gets paid to ensure that motorcycle license plates meet that standard? You do know, right, that 27/32″ is 0.8438″? How idiotic is that? Someone is going to measure 0.8438 of an inch with accuracy? Good luck on that…
Some day, maybe all 50 states will standardize on the “Dream” motorcycle license plate dimensions. Maybe something like this: 180 mm x 100 mm license plate with 6 mm bolt holes that are 150 mm x 70 mm apart. Now doesn’t that sound much simpler?
And while they’re at it, how about expiration date stickers that actually fit (see photo at the top of the page)?
From “K.L.” (July 2016): “A product review of Vololight (review) in the July 2016 issue of BMWMOA Owners News led me to research place sizes. This brought me to your site.
My new Royal Enfield plate mount had no holes. I removed the metal plate mount, set it aside and cut and drilled a plastic mount which is smaller and in my case colour matched.
While I was at it, I also used it to mount an LED extra brake light.
Standardization would be nice, but since most of us modify our ride in some way, be creative as long as it doesn’t get you pulled over.”
From “A.V.” (September 2014): “My wife is an American diplomat. We are on assignment in Trinidad & Tobago. I just brought my 2007 Triumph Daytona 675 here.
An interesting thing about this island nation is that after getting your motorcycle registered, you are assigned a plate number, but you have to get it made yourself!
There are some basic requirements that say the plate has to be black and white (but some people will have black background with white lettering, and others will have a white background with black lettering) and the letters have to be at least 2.5” tall. That’s it.
In anticipation of my bikes arrival, the gentleman that makes the plates, needed to know the dimensions for what size he should make it.
I found the dimensions for “the dream plate” on webBikeWorld and gave them to him. I now have a black acrylic plate, with white lettering, in the dream plate dimensions and it fits perfectly.
As an aside, you also have to have a plate on the front here, so most cyclists have a sticker with the plate number applied to the windscreen. It looks horrible but it’s better than have a plate in the front.
Thank you for the information!”
From “D.H.” (April 2012): “North Carolina has now set the holes on its plates less than 5 3/4″. I was told by the DMV auditor that the change took place in 2006, and they have received no complaints until I said something.”
From “B.B.” (7/09): “D.H. (comment below) asked about the dimensions of Maryland license plates. He is absolutely correct. In 2008, a change in license plate dimensions (.pdf) was signed into law that became effective in October 2008.
Of course, the registration offices and MVA offices are probably still using up their old stock. My bike, which was registered in May 2008, has the old plate.
And LJH (comment below) should have drilled the plates for sizing, not the bike.”
From “LJH” (7/09): “I hope the motorcycle makers read this, my Kawasaki and Triumph have two different sizes on the plate holder and I had to drill them out like you said for the plates to fit.
The drill bit went through and just damaged the fender underneath, nice. Why don’t they make the plate holders accurate? Now we know, there’s nothing to go by!”
From “G.J.” (7/09): “Thanks so much for this information, I was looking all over for something like this and just found yours in a search, I started to make custom motorcycle license plate cover borders for my friends, then for others, when I found that they didn’t always fit.
Now I know why, I had no idea the tag sizes were different, I was using mine as a template, how stupid for them to not agree on this!”
From “D.H.” (7/09): “I live in (Delaware) near the border with (Maryland) and (Pennsylvania) and so see a lot of tags from each state.
I could’ve sworn Maryland’s was larger than Delaware’s and Pennsylvania’s, but the chart says different.
Anyway, good idea to standardize but good luck getting any state to adopt the “dream” in metric. 🙂 ”
From “S.S.” (7/09): “Guys, Leave the US moto plates as they are. You should feel lucky that you live in a country that the fed doesn’t control every aspect of your life, they leave some of the it to the local governments.
I am really puzzled that guys like you who are tuned in to the two-wheel community don’t get this simple point:
If the motorcycle plates become standardized all across the country, there is a great chance that in due time we’ll become like Europe and have to bolt on massive, enormous plates on our bikes.
My suggestion, delete your article on the plates and never bring up this discussion again. You’ll be ruining motorcycle riding in the US for the future generations.”
Editor’s Reply: This is a joke, right? I hardly think that standardizing on bolt hole locations and license plate sizes will ruin motorcycling!
It is a real pain for motorcyclists to have to drill out holes in license plates, like we have to do here in Maryland, just to get the plates to fit the license plate carriers that the manufacturers fit on the bikes.
It’s not fun to buy a brand new bike and then have to drill and file a brand new license plate to get it to fit the bike, and then have to ride around for the life of the bike with a ragged looking license plate.
So a simple standardization, or letting the free market (i.e., the motorcycle manufacturers and retailers) set the standard, would be a benefit to everyone.
By the way, it’s ironic that standardizing on the sizes would result in LESS oversight and interference by the states and the government, directly opposite of your conjecture that it would lead to more control.
Also, this has nothing to do with the Federal government at all. This is purely a matter of states getting together to agree, which, by the way, has already happened with 49 states having agreed on a 7″ by 4″ overall plate dimension.
It’s fashionable lately to bash the Federal government, but you almost never hear anyone complaining about the real waste and cost that every one of us must suffer by having 50 different state standards on stuff as foolish as license plate bolt hole dimensions, which should have been standardized a long time ago.
Standards give us lower costs, more efficiency and an improved living standard.
As an example, remember the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, which caused a tremendous amount of damage because the different cities, localities and fire departments that responded all had different standards for the size of the hose couplings! A dramatic example, certainly, but an example the importance and value of standards.