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Motorcycle X-Prefix

From 1971 through 1991 small motorcycles of 5 brake horsepower or less were licensed as a separate class and given motorcycle plates whose serial numbers started with the letter “X.” The basis for the classification was later changed, specifying bikes with an engine displacement of 100 cc or less. These tags were ultimately superseded by ones bearing the OH prefix.
Motorcycle Off Highway - OH
In the late 1980s, commensurate with the rise in popularity of all terrain vehicles (ATVs) which were used exclusively off road, the Off Highway (OH) motorcycle plate was introduced. These vehicles soon outnumbered the small trail bikes that had been using the X-prefix plates and the latter type was discontinued. All small motorcycles and ATVs have since then received only the OH plates. Finally, even the OH plates were discontinued, being replaced by a 3"x3" vinyl sticker adhered directly to the vehicle’s body.
Snowmobile Off Highway - OH

Snowmobiles in New Mexico are classified as Off Highway vehicles and are titled, registered and licensed in the same way as ATVs. They also previously used the the same metal OH-prefix license plates illustrated on this page, and have now also switched to the 3" x 3" vinyl stickers seen toward the bottom of this page.

Courtesy David L. Minton

On Highway Plates

As provided for by legislation passed in 2016, off highway vehicles (OHVs / ATVs) that are fully equipped to be street legal may be operated on public roads, but only in local jurisdictions which have passed ordinances explicitly authorizing their use in this manner. In compliance with the law, the N.M. Motor Vehicle Division, in partnership with the N.M. Department of Game and Fish, is now issuing a new type of ON/OFF Highway registration for vehicles of this type which will be driven on public roads.

To be properly licensed for ON Highway use, such vehicles must display both the yellow OFF HIGHWAY registration decal (sticker), and a green ON/OFF HIGHWAY registration decal (sticker), both of which measure 3" x 3". An optional On Highway motorcycle-size metal plate will be issued upon request, which may be used in lieu of the green sticker, but the yellow sticker must be displayed in either case.
The Paved Road plate is believed to have been introduced in the first half of 2022 and appears to be a later version of the On Highway (ON) plate shown just above. It, too, is accompanied by a green and white decal with matching serial number affixed to the body of the vehicle.
Photo Credits: 2016 Off Highway sticker courtesy Rose and Eric Thompson. All others by Bill Johnston.



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