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As you begin your journey to pursuing a hobby that you love, buying a motorcycle from either a dealer or private seller is exciting. This can lead to a lot questions.
If you haven’t asked yourself this question yet, on of the biggest things you should be wondering is whether or not you can ride a motorcycle home after buying it. A lot of people have questions about registration and legality after purchasing a motorcycle.
You can ride a motorcycle back home once you have bought it. After purchasing a motorcycle, as long as you have the bill or title and the date of purchase, you are allowed to ride it home. Each state allows new owners of motorcycles a grace period of several days for them to register the bike. You should get insurance immediately before you ride.
There’s a lot more to buying a motorcycle than simply paying for it and riding it home. I have owned close to 15 motorcycles during the last few decades and can share my knowledge about the process and the rules.
The Rules for Riding a Motorcycle After You Purchase It
It can be easy to lose sight of all the details that go along with buying a motorcycle. You will avoid paying expensive fees and tickets, as well as avoiding frustration later.
A situation like this can be a little sticky and it’s hard to know exactly what you should do to keep yourself from getting in trouble. You’ll hear people say you’ll need to immediately register your motorcycle after you buy it so you won’t get a ticket, but what about the ride you have to make from the seller’s house to the DMV? And what if you buy a motorcycle on a holiday, weekend, or after hours and can’t register your motorcycle for a few days?
The good news? Most states will allow you to extend the grace period before you register your motorcycle. They know that it can be hard to get to DMV right away to get your registration. Each state has its own grace period. Make sure you check with your local DMV to find out how long it is.
As a rule of thumb, get your motorcycle registered as soon as you can so you don’t have to worry about the grace period expiring. If your motorcycle requires inspection and you’re worried it’ll take too long, you can also get a temporary registration that will last a lot longer than that grace period.
Some states have laws that say the plates or tags belong to the motorcycle and not the owner. You may think you’re safe if this is your state’s law, but the seller can simply call the DMV and report the motorcycle is sold which means the motorcycle isn’t technically registered anymore. Don’t rely heavily on the fact that plates go with the motorcycle; you should still get it registered under your name as soon as possible.
If you are riding your motorcycle home after buying it and happen to get pulled over because you don’t have plates (or the cop ran your plates and saw they expired because the seller notified the DMV of the sale), You can often show them the title or the bill that shows the date you bought the motorcycle.
You won’t get into any trouble, but the policeman will usually encourage you to get your motorcycle registered as quickly as possible or they may give you a “fix it ticket.” A “fix it ticket” isn’t anything serious and you don’t need to pay a fee associated with it. They will issue you a warrant to you to register the motorcycle in your name within a specified time and to take proof of registration to the police to show that you have registered it.
These documents are essential and could result in you being issued a ticket if you don’t have them. That’s why you should never buy a motorcycle without getting the title and/or bill of sale. You can read my article to find out more about purchasing a motorcycle without a title.
You will most likely be ticketed if you ride a motorcycle without insurance. Getting insurance is something that should be done before you ever think about driving off the seller’s driveway.
The best part about getting insurance is that it is very easy. It takes only 5-10 minutes to call your insurance agent. If you are pulled over, they can email you an insurance certificate that you can show to a police officer.
Alternatives to Riding Your Motorcycle Home
There are several options to ride your motorcycle home if you can’t get it home after purchasing it. The biggest reasons people don’t want to ride their new purchase home is because they’re either uncomfortable with the possibility of getting pulled over, the laws in their area are strict, or they can’t contact their insurance agency to get insurance right away.
Negotiating with the seller is the first option. Ask them to ride the motorcycle to you to complete the transaction. It is best to not give them money before they bring it back. You may never see the bike again.
This has been a successful method of selling motorcycles. I was able to legally ride it over to their place, we completed the sale, and the new buyer didn’t have to worry about getting pulled over on his/her way home.
There is also the option of towing it home. It may seem weird towing a motorcycle that works fine, but a lot of people choose this option because it’s safe in every way. It’s also helpful if you’re the only one that’s able to be there during the purchase and won’t have to leave your car at the seller’s house. Click here to view my recommended methods of towing a bike.
What to Avoid After Buying a Motorcycle
Now that we’ve covered what you can do after you purchase a motorcycle that will keep you safe from the law, there are a few things I’d like to note that you should not do that some people think is okay.
First, You should never use an old or obsolete product. “spare” You can take any plates you have with you and place them on your new bike. Police officers can run your plates through a database which will provide all information about the vehicle that they are registered to, including the make and year of the plate or whether it has expired.
Doing this can land you in serious trouble. If you get caught, you could be fined large amounts, have your motorcycle impounded, and even sentenced to prison. Having the wrong plates on a motorcycle often portrays to cops that it’s stolen. If the plates are from your state, this is different to keeping them on the motorcycle.
Another thing you should never do after purchasing a motorcycle is running from the cops if you notice you’re about to be pulled over. This may be an obvious no-no, but you’d be surprised with how often people think this is okay. Motorcyclists believe that because their motorcycle is smaller they can get away quickly from the police.
You may not be able escape sometimes but now you have a description about your motorcycle through the database of police department. They are on the lookout and will search for you. They can either confiscate your motorcycle or issue you a ticket if you are caught again.
Lastly, don’t ever keep the previous owner’s plates on the motorcycle longer than you have toEven if your state does not indicate that the plates or tags are attached to the motorcycle, it is still necessary. If you wait too long to register the motorcycle under your name, it could result in legal problems or fees from the previous owner.
How about buying a motorcycle from a dealer?
If you buy a motorcycle from a dealer, the rules still apply but the dealership actually makes things a lot easier for you if you’re willing to pay a few extra fees.
Dealerships are able to register your motorcycle. Usually what they’ll do is generate a temporary registration under your name immediately after you purchase the motorcycle. They will either mail your plates to you and pick them up within the next few days or you can have them sent directly to you.
Before you can drive off the lot, you will need to get motorcycle insurance. As soon as you buy it, you are liable for any accident that you or your motorcycle cause.
Why is the price of motorcycle insurance so high? The reason motorcycle insurance is so high for some people is because of the driver’s age, their driving record, the motorcycle CC’s, the motorcycle’s age, the motorcycle’s value, and the city you live in (crime rate). You can click here to read my article.
Are you required to have a motorcycle license in order to purchase a motorcycle? A motorcycle license is not required to purchase a bike. To register your motorcycle, however, you will need to have a motorcycle license. This is because insurance requires a license.