South Carolina Laws About Sidemount Motorcycle License Plates

States regulate the placement of motorcycle license plates.

South Carolina requires that a motorcyclist place license plates on the rear of his cycle. As of October 2010, the license plate division of the Department of Motor Vehicles of South Carolina indicated that side-mounted license plates aren’t permitted. This decision is motivated by a desire for safety and unobstructed placement of a license plate on a motorcycle.

Side-Mounting Placement

While some motorcycles offer side-plate mounting options, such as the Honda Accutronix or Bikers Choice accessory plate. For some riders, this is a choice based on style, but states vary on their approval of placing license plates in positions other than vertically or horizontally on the rear of the motorcycle below the taillight. Many states don’t allow placement in any other location; South Carolina is one of those states.

Placement for Bikes Without Stock Taillights

Most motorcycles come with a standard or stock taillight placed below the rear end of the motorcycle seat. Below the taillight is a place for a license plate. When adhered properly, the plate hangs just above the motorcycle’s rear wheel. Some riders prefer a customized taillight look that requires removing the stock taillight and placing it to the left or right (or, in some cases, left and right) of the rear wheel. This requires that the license plate hang on the left or right side of the wheel, down lower to the ground as opposed to its traditional position. If you have this kind of bike, you need to maintain the stock light position and place your license plate below it and above the rear wheel to adhere to South Carolina state laws governing motorcycle plate placement.

Three-Wheeled Motorcycles

A three-wheeled motorcycle is one that has either one wheel in the front and two in the back, or two in the front and one in the back. In either case, taillights are included on the rear of the cycle. A license plate is placed in between the taillights on the rear of a motorcycle with two rear wheels, or beneath the taillight on a motorcycle with one rear wheel. In South Carolina, the license plate may only be placed on the rear either in between or below the taillights. It may not be placed on the side of a three-wheeled motorcycle.