Motorcycle License Plate Stickers, 1965-1982

Special validation stickers were used on Washington motorcycle license plates from 1965 through 1981. In 1982, special motorcycle month stickers were introduced, and standard passenger year stickers have been used ever since.


From 1965 through 1975, motorcycle validation stickers were quite small, measuring only 1" wide by 3/4" high:


Starting in 1976, motorcycle stickers were enlarged to be the same size as most other types of stickers issued, which measured 1.5" wide by 1" high.


A staggered renewal system was implemented for all vehicles statewide when 1976 registrations expired in January 1977. The assignment of registration month (possible assignments were July 1977 through June 1978) was made based on the final two digits of the vehicle's license plate number. If a plate ended in zero it was assigned to November, otherwise the month assigned corresponded to the next-to-last digit (1 for January, 2 for February, etc.; 0 was assigned to October). The complete list of month/year assignments made in January 1977 is:
Month/YearLast two digits of plate number
July 1977:71-79
August 1977:81-89
September 1977:91-99
October 1977:01-09
November 1977:00, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90
December 1977:vanity plates, heavy trucks, heavy trailers, fleet vehicles, some new registrants, or by special request
January 1978:11-19
February 1978:21-29
March 1978:31-39
April 1978:41-49
May 1978:51-59
June 1978:61-69

From July 1977 through December 1981, motorcycle stickers were made in a combined month/year format (so a total of 54 (!) different looking motorcycle stickers were issued during that period). To reduce the number of distinct stickers that need to be made each year, for 1982 and all later years, separate month stickers have been used with a standard passenger year sticker on motorcycle license plates.

Washington's month stickers, introduced in 1977 for passenger and other vehicles, were color-coded by quarter. First quarter (Jan-Mar) were black, second quarter (Apr-Jun) were blue, third quarter (Jly-Sep) were red, and fourth quarter (Oct-Dec) were green. Motorcycle stickers, in a combined month/year format from July 1977 through December 1981, also conformed to these color codes. For each of these years, there were three different sticker design motifs used in the appropriate color schemes (the first month in each quarter had a particular design, the second month in the quarter had a different design, etc.).

Each of the 54 designs and color schemes are shown below. Except for the 1981 stickers, which are actual sample stickers, these pictures are computer-generated illustrations. They are, however, believed to be very faithful representations of the real stickers, and show the same typeface styles and spacing. Compare these to some of the pictures above of actual 1977-1980 stickers to verify that the designs have been illustrated accurately. The only uncertainty is with the July and October 1977 stickers, as this author has not yet seen intact examples of these stickers.  


Special month stickers were designed to fit vertically at the right side of motorcycle plates, and were sent to motorcycle owners along with a regular 1982 passenger sticker. The month stickers, which are still in use, measure .5" wide by 1.5" tall.  



All material © 2003 by Ian Slade.
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