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Motorcycle Mysteries: The Secrets of Staggered Registration, Part 5

Motorcycle plates often deviate from their full-sized passenger-car brethren in terms of registration aspects, features, and design...and staggered registration is no exception.

[Delaware 1943 motorcycle plate] When the state of Delaware pioneered staggered registration with its quarterly system in 1941-42, motorcycles were staggered and issued month tabs just like passenger-car plates. Other states were notoriously slow to follow, though.

Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, New Jersey, and Connecticut enthusiastically hopped on the staggered registration train for passenger cars through the course of the next two decades...but left motorcycles alone. As late as 1975, the number of states implementing monthly staggered registration on motorcycle plates could have been counted on one hand. Since there were far fewer motorcycles on the road than cars, staggering motorcycle registrations was simply lower on the priority list.


The following states and provinces still haven't adopted staggered registration. All motorcycle plates expire in the same month of the year:

The following jurisdictions staggered motorcycle plates simultaneously with passenger plates, using the same methodology:

These states staggered motorcycle registrations at a later time than passenger plates, but evidently used the same methodology when they finally did so:

The plots thicken, though. Some places used a different methodology for motorcycle staggering than they did for passenger plates, typically by letting pre-existing registrations be:

And now, the mystery. These ten states and provinces used an unknown methodology for assigning expiration months to pre-existing registrations when they adopted staggered registration for motorcycles for the first time. Any information to plug the holes of the unknown would be appreciated!

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Last update 26 June 2015.