numberplate - three row?

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Tincan3
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numberplate - three row?

Postby Tincan3 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:55 am

Does anyone know anything about three row number plates? Are they legal for older machines?

One company offers shield-shaped three row plates. The DVLA website information does not mention that layout.
For my bike, a three row layout would mean I could remove the rear wheel without having to remove the number plate first.

The alternative is to hinge the number plate at the top - or - mount it on the sidecar. Has anyone done that? Would it be legal? Does the sidecar count as 'the vehicle'?

Vehicles made before 1st April 1977, provided they are registered as historic with DVLA, can now qualify for an old style black aluminium plate with raised silver or white letters. :smile:

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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby keiththeoutfitter1 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:08 pm

Hi Tincan3,
This is an extract from the DVLA document inf104 which may help

For vehicles with new or replacement number plates f itted from 1 September 2001, registration numbers can no longer be shown over three lines (unless the vehicle was first registered before 1 January 1973) or if a vehicle is constructed before 1 January 1976 and is registered in the historic tax class and is exempt from vehicle tax. Also, the letters and numbers (characters) on number plates bought since 1 September 2001 will need to meet the following standards.......

It may be worth your dowloading the whole document.

Regarding putting a plate on the sidecar, I believe that legally, the sidecar is an accessory in the same way as panniers etc so, technically, it would be illegal as the motorcycle could be ridden without the sidecar and the plate must be attached to the vehicle, not an accessory.
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Jaythro » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:20 pm

3 row plates

You can have them fitted up until August 2001 but of they are being replaced you are supposed (Cough cough) to get them replaced with the modern version

I would think that If you have them made as show plates and they show the "period" approval BSAU 145 ???? Then I very much doubt that there is a peeler in this land, who would try to screw you over for what is for all intensive purposes a real number plate and not an altered one to show a name

There's "the Law" There's bending it a little and then I suppose you need to add a touch of common sense but if they aren;t pulling altered plates you should be fine

Get a show plate made up off e bay
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby george baker » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:56 pm

hi
there seem to be a large number of cars running around with illegal typeface for letters, and illegal spacing with out a problem

i guess at mot time they just put a legal pate on for the test, but i have been more than one test station where i saw bikes get an mot with, small plate, cracked plate, missing section of plate, extra writing in the plate area

could you just mount the numberplate off of the centre line

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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby King Herald » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:55 pm

My plate is 3 rows wide, 3 tall, and I assumed it was standard. It is full size, normal, typeface etc. Mine is a '97 bike.
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby milleplod » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:03 pm

Regarding enforcement....as a general rule, if the plate can be easily read, you shouldn't have a problem. I think ANPR is perfectly capable of reading a 3-row plate, in the same way that it can read normal-font plates no matter how they're spaced (ie A123 ABC is just as easily read when displayed as A12 3AB C etc etc), which is what a lot of bobbies would have in mind when looking at any non-standard plate.

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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Tony the Skin » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:16 pm

The three row plate was most commonly found on Police bikes.
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Tincan3 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:50 pm

Hi Guys,
Many thanks for all the information supplied.
My bike is manufactured June 1975, registered as a historic vehicle and exempt from road fund licence tax.

If the plate was on the sidecar and the sidecar then removed, the bike would obviously not be legal to ride with no plate and therefore it would need to be transferred back onto the bike. If on the sidecar, it would need an illumination light as required. So, fitted properly on the sidecar, I can't imagine any police objection unless the particular officer was bored or needed to up his 'score' for the day and wanted to quibble. Yes, I have also have seen many small-lettered plates on bigger bikes that are not legal - funny - it seems to be mainly Harleys.

For me the three row plate would mean a narrower plate as my registration is seven characters. There is no room on my bike to off set my present, two row plate due to the rear carrier down tubes limiting horizontal placement.

August 2001 seems to be the introduction of the two row rule and although, for historic vehicles the 1st January 1976 is mentioned (thanks Keith) the wording in DVLA inf104 implies a rolling annual change so that the relevant date is now manufacture before 1st January 1977.

Anyway, on order is a shield-shaped three row plate. The curved lower part will increase the clearance for rear wheel removal. I shall take before and after photos and post them up.

Thanks for all the helpful comments!

Dave Stapleton

Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Dave Stapleton » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:53 pm

Here's a photo of my 1970 ex-RAF WDB40's rear 'Three Row' number plate. This is a standard BSA WD B40 number plate available new from Burton Bike Bits, the letters/numbers are lazer-cut self adhesive vinyl and are available from most classic/custom number plate suppliers. Hope it helps.
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Tincan3
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Tincan3 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:07 pm

Thanks for all the info and sage advice. Number plate arrived yesterday and I could not resist fitting it that evening.
More room to remove the back wheel now!
Before and after photos
DSC01065_small - Edited.jpg
DSC01066_small - Edited.jpg
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Jaythro » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:28 pm

You may well be leaving yourself wide open with that plate, your bike was first registered in November 2015

You could get away with digging out "cough cough" the old yellow 3 row plate that you have again
Vehicles that can display black and silver plates

Since April 2015 vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1975 can display the older style plates. You must:

have applied to DVLA, and
be registered within the ‘historic vehicles’ tax class.
This allows your vehicle to retain its authenticity and be in keeping with its age.

Vehicles constructed 40 or more years ago are exempt from vehicle tax.

The 40 year exemption date rolls forward automatically each year on 1 April.
from here https://insidedvla.blog.gov.uk/2015/11/ ... er-plates/
"Put your Ass on a motorcycle and ride with an attitude and the "Grim Reaper" will ride in your shadow!"

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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Tincan3 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:33 pm

Hi Jaythro,
Thanks for the input. My bike was first registered in 1975. When you apply for historic vehicle status the old logbook is taken back and a new one issued hence November 2015.

Regarding the black and white plate entitlement:
Extracted from DVLA inf104-vehicle-registration
"Motorcycles etc.
"Since April 2016 vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1976 can display the older style plates. You must:
* have applied to DVLA, and
* be registered within the ‘historic vehicles’ tax class.
Vehicles constructed 40 or more years ago are exempt from tax. The 40 year exemption date rolls forward automatically each year on 1 April."

The rolling 40 year limit means that currently April 2017 and January 1977 apply in the above.

Regarding the three row layout:
"....registration numbers can no longer be shown over three lines (unless the vehicle was first registered before 1 January 1973) or if a vehicle is constructed before 1 January 1976 and is registered in the historic tax class and is exempt from vehicle tax."

So there is my interpretation! I shall keep you all posted if I encounter interactions with officialdom.
I haven't been on the mainland yet . . . . . . . . . . O:)

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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby Nate » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:37 am

My understanding of DVLA's position is that while three line plates continue to be legal on a motorcycle, that only applies if it is the original plate and not a replacement which must now comply with the two-line requirement. This clearly is bureaucratic idiocy of a very high degree, and I have never paid it any mind.

I've been "retrofitting" three line plates to old airheads for years - any seven digit plate looks (to my mind) much better as a three line.

I used to use ebay "show plate" sellers, but quality wasn't always great. My latest purchase came from these guys: http://www.tippersvintageplates.co.uk/ and they really couldn't have been more helpful.

I ended up with a "replica" of the original, reflective, three line plate in pressed aluminium and it's perfect.

Never had a problem at MOT time.
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Re: numberplate - three row?

Postby macplaxton » Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:39 am

You may well be leaving yourself wide open with that plate, your bike was first registered in November 2015
That's an old blog quote there, and anyway, we're in Sept 2017 now.

Non-reflective plates are aligned to the tax status. Looks wrong, but the unintended result of fiddling with legislation.

Nate's 3-liner portrait plate looks good, but technically lacking as it should have a bit more border margin at the upper sides
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