Riding Without Licence Plates? That'll Be $15 Sir.

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
Kyalami, South Africa - March 31

By Glenn LeSanto

I noticed that many of the bikes didn't have licence plates attached and asked a South African colleague why that was. "Two reasons," he replied. "One political and one is about saving money. There's a campaign going on to re-introduce the death penalty here because the crime rate is so high. A bike journalist took his bike out with a plate that read simply "hang 'em" and this has caught on, although most riders are running without plates altogether partly in a show of solidarity to his pro-capital-punishment stance.

"But the other reason is speed cameras. They've been going up all over the place so riders here are risking a US $15 fine for running no plate rather than risking prison for being caught riding at speeds well over 100mph."

I told the journalist that bikers in the UK would love to do that too, but the police are much heavier on bikers about plates, and we'd risk having our bikes impounded if we ran without a plate. "But you guys don't ride fast anyway in the UK," he replied. When I tried to correct him on that point he refused to believe that, despite speed cameras and heavy-handed police action, British riders do ride very fast indeed. I can assure him, and anyone else out there that we do despite the risk of a prison sentence for being caught! Add your comments below and let us here at MO know what you think of the South African bikers running no plates. And if you're in Britain, put this South African guy right with a few wheelies!

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