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by Eric Peters

Recently by Eric Peters: Bad Boy!

About two years ago, I stopped renewing the registration for several of my bikes (I have five). Basically, all the ones that aren’t antiques (which have one-time-fee “permanent” tags in my state). I just got sick of sending in $50 per bike per year. On top of everything else. On top of the taxes I paid when I bought each bike. The taxes I paid to title each bike. The taxes I pay each year to maintain the fiction that I own the bike (you know, property taxes). And then the taxes I pay each time I ride the bike (gas taxes).

It’s a lot of taxes. Paid with what’s leftover after federal, state and local taxes – plus FICA (double for me, because I’m self-employed).

I figure I’ve more than paid my “fair share” already. So I decided to give myself a tax cut. I just round-filed the annual dunning letters sent my way – and motored on.

This has saved me a decent pile of money: $300 or so that would have otherwise gone into the maw of Clover Central to pay for useless eaters and other such things as opposed to (for example) a new set of tires for me!

This works out much better than the advice given by the DMV in the letter they sent me – that I could “Save $$$ – Renew b y Internet or for Multiple Years.” I find I save much more money by not “renewing” at all!

Now, here’s the thing: Failing to renew vehicle registration is a minor “offense” (I choke having to use Clover’s terminology). If, in the unlikely event, you do get caught, plead forgetfulness and the worst that they’ll do is issue a ticket for expired tags. No worries about thug scrums and Tazerings – or even impoundment of your vehicle. After all, you do have tags – and are “registered.” It’s merely that your tags/registration are expired.

Probably, you’ll never be caught – because on a bike, the tags are small – much smaller than a car’s license plates – and so much less visible. The little stickers they give you each year to indicate you’ve paid your tributum are even smaller – and that much less visible. License plate frames have been know to further help in that regard. Unless a road tax collector (cop) is directly behind you – easy enough to avoid – it is extremely unlikely one will ever notice your tags are two or three – or ten – years out of date. Just keep your eyes open, and if you do see (or smell) a cop, maneuver so as to avoid the cop’s direct line of sight. Park – if you have to – in such a way that any passing porker won’t be able to easily see your plate.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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