Missing motorbike licence plate causing problems

| 30/08/2018

I start by referencing one of your previous Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) answers (see New licence plates should have original numbers): “A customer can request a new number and he or she would have to pay to make that change. Or, if the new plates were ready for collection but it turns out one or both of the old plates were lost or stolen, then DVDL would issue a new number with the new plates, which makes perfect sense.”

licence plate, Advance Chevrolet

I recently purchased a motorcycle from someone and the second plate is missing. This is quite common since there is no bracket on which to mount a licence plate on the front of most small motorcycles, and DVDL recognises this by now only issuing one plate. The previous owner does not recall ever having seen the second plate, but DVDL will not give me the new plate (same plate number but white, which contradicts the above assertion) without me first producing the old plate or a police report.

Can the acting governor see the red tape involved in having to stand in line and wait for a police officer to write down and create a record of the fact that I don’t have a second licence plate for a motorcycle, especially with the amount of real crime reports that police are currently dealing with, and then standing in line a few days later and waiting to pay $25 to get a copy of that report, then once again having to stand in line at DVDL to present said report before they will issue a new plate? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see a huge difference between me telling you something, and me asking someone to write it down to show you what I said.

Now I don’t want to go as far as to suggest that DVDL create another pre-printed form to report missing licence plates, but perhaps on their Change of Vehicle Particulars form they could include a check box for missing licence plates.

Auntie’s answer: I checked with DVDL and there does appear to be just one way forward for you. As you note, motorcycles are only required to have one plate, which is mounted at the rear; the change from two plates to one came into effect under the Traffic Regulations, 2012.

Neither you nor the previous owner know if the motorcycle came with two plates. You can request a search of DVDL records to determine if a second plate was ever issued, but that costs $75 so I am going to assume that is not an acceptable option for you.

The DVDL official explained the 2012 regulations mandate that motorcyclists turn in the one plate they were issued in order to be given a new, replacement plate and ensure there is not a duplicate plate out on the road.

In your case, the easiest and least expensive alternative is what you were told: File a report with the police stating that the second plate is missing or stolen. A copy of the report does cost $25 as you noted, but the DVDL official said that you don’t have to wait for the copy to be ready. You can take the receipt for the report that the police give you and bring that to the DVDL. Then the department will be able to issue you a new plate with a new number. They can’t give you the same number since the possibility exists of a second plate being attached to another motorcycle.

By going through these steps, the official explained, you will cover yourself so you will not be responsible in case there is any incident, such as a ticket or accident, with a potentially second motorcycle.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Vehicle Licensing Questions

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just stop operating this ridiculous system of transferring plates between owners….the plate stays with the vehicle forever, simple.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ah, the DVDL, where common sense goes to die.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Auntie,

    You can request a search of DVDL records to determine if a second plate was ever issued, but that costs $75 so I am going to assume that is not an acceptable option for you. Unquote. True.

    This is part of the DVDL reasoning that I don’t understand. Nobody signs a receipt saying they received one or two plates, so I fail to see how they at the DVDL can truly believe that a search of their records, whether actually carried out or not, would be proof of anything.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sounds pretty ridiculous. Why not just issue a new number and cancel the old one on their books. How is this convoluted process actually helping at all?