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As you are aware, we at Sinclair Law Offices have always made it a priority to inform the motorcycle community with the most current information regarding issues relating to the operation of motorcycles Of particular interest in the last year or so has been the topic of Vertical tags on motorcycles.

It seems like every time we turn around, a new wrinkle presents itself regarding the legality of having a vertical tag on your motorcycle.We will once again try to clear this issue up for you as it pertains to the current Florida Statutes addressing vertical tags.

Florida Statute 316.2085(3) currently reads: The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up. No device for or method of concealing or obscuring the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle shall be installed or used. The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed horizontally to the ground so that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped for which the numbers and letters read from top to bottom may be affixed perpendicularly to the ground, provided that the registered owner of the motorcycle or moped maintains a prepaid toll account in good standing and a transponder associated with the prepaid toll account is affixed to the motorcycle or moped.

Here are a few questions you may have after reading this statute:

If I have a transponder for my car, can I just put it on my motorcycle and be legal? No, the transponder has to be specifically registered to the motorcycle only.

The toll authority now sells stickers that act as a transponder. Can I put one of these stickers on my motorcycle? No, the statute requires a transponder (one that has batteries)

I don’t ever ride my motorcycle where there are toll booths. Do I still have to have a transponder on my motorcycle? Yes

What is the proper way to mount my motorcycle tag in a vertical position? According to the Legislative Administrator at the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department, the proper vertical mount means turning the license plate clockwise so that the numbers and letters are read from top to bottom.

What if I turn my plate counter clockwise so the numbers and letters are read from bottom to top? This is illegal and you will most likely get a fine.

Can I buy a vertical tag that already has the numbers and letters that reads top to bottom? No, the state of Florida only produces license plates that read from left to right.

Unfortunately, some local police agencies are issuing citations to motorcyclists because they are misinterpreting the statute regarding the numbers and letters being “Top to Bottom” Some agencies think that the plate has to be printed with vertical numbers and letters.This is not an option since Florida does not produce such a plate.In our discussions with the Legislative Administrator at the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department, he has indicated that the intent of the statute was to allow a plate to be turned clockwise to meet the “Top to Bottom” requirement.

We have made some suggestions to the administrator to make some changes to the statute in the upcoming legislative session to once again clarify these issues.We hope to see some clarity on the “Top to Bottom” issue as well as how this statute applies to motorcycles from out of state.

In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding these or any other legal issues, please feel free to contact us.