Bicycle License Plate

Dear Mr. History Person,
The license plate in this photo is on my old (very old) bicycle. Maybe your research can tell if the plates were mandatory, what was the reason, was there a change and when was it in effect. I’m sure that this will bring back memories to many of your readers.

Sincerely yours,
Dorothy Lemos

First of all, let me make it clear to the readers that the number on Dorothy’s license plate has nothing to do with the year she was riding her bike. . .

I remember seeing plates like these on bicycles when I was a kid, but I never had one myself.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has never registered bicycles the way it has registered cars, trailers and boats. State law leaves bicycle registration up to the individual cities and towns. In Fairhaven it has been handled by the Police Department and it has never been mandatory.

Bicycle registration is used to identify bikes and deter theft. You can still register bicycles today at the Fairhaven police station if you want to, but now they issue a sticker rather than one of those cool metal license plates.