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Although New Mexico began licensing automobiles in 1912, motorcycles were not brought into the fold until 1913. The earliest motorcycle plates, those from 1913 through 1923, were oriented vertically so as to line up with the rear fender of the bike. In 1924, a permanent change to a much smaller size with a horizontal format was effected. It was also in 1924 that the “M” prefix was inaugurated, an arrangement that continued until about 1980. There were a number of size changes over the years until the now-standard 4"x7" size was adopted in late 1966.  See also Off-Highway Motorcycle, X-Prefix Motorcycle, and Motorcycle Dealer for those types of plates.
Motorcycle Vanity
Though vanity plates for cars were introduced in 1967, they were not made available for motorcycles until 1979. Being considerably smaller than car plates they have room for only six characters on yellow and turquoise plates, or five characters on chile plates, and except for only a few years in the 1980s the Spanish Ñ
was not available for motorcycle vanities.  Most of the special characters available on the larger plates cannot be had for motorcycle vanities.

Special Characters on Motorcycle Vanity Plates. In addition to letters and numerals, New Mexico made available certain special characters which motorists could select for use on vanity plates, some of which were never available in any other state. These were the zia symbol, blank space, hyphen, apostrophe and the Spanish Ñ. Introduced a few years after personalized plates first became available here, New Mexico’s vanities thereby became among the most expressive and meaningful in the country. In the latter part of 2018, and without explanation, the MVD withdrew all of these special characters from use. Plates from the past bearing these characters, such as those immediately above, now stand as icons of a bygone era. Please see also Special Characters used on regular Vanity plates.

 Motorcycle - Miscellaneous Types

Quite a number of special types of motorcycle plates have been issued in New Mexico over the years, most of which are illustrated here. 

Photo Credits: Purple Heart and Medal of Honor samples courtesy N.M. MVD.  All others by Bill Johnston.
1996 Motorcycle registration certificate with original sticker. Note that the STICKER NUMBER as imprinted on the certificate shows not only the sticker serial number, but the month of expiration as well.
Photo credits:  1964 Registration #M-5768, 1965 Registration #M-4942, 1966 Registration #M-10458, 1968 Registration #M-353, 1972 Registration #M69258, 1973 Registration #M09726, 1977 Registration #M50867, 1987 Registration #018338, 1986 Registration #025793, 1998 Registration #A63136, and 2004 Registrastion #774248 courtesy Craig Weisner. All others by Bill Johnston. 
1971 DMV (now MVD) Motorcycle Manual. This 16-page 5½" x 8½" booklet provides details on how to obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement on one’s driver’s license, motorcycle safety and riding etiquette, as well as trail riding rules.


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