Motorcycle test plates

Test plates are used by factories for tests and by dealers to make people try the motorbikes without paying taxes or insurance.

Until 1927 (1933 ?) motorbikes used the same triangular test plates of cars (see test plates for cars) without any difference at all.

Then test plates for motorcycles remained similar to those used on the cars, but with white background and blu characters: on the first line there was the red print "PROVA", on the second a serial number and on the last there was the code of the province (see table). The plate that you see in the first picture was issued in 1953 and is one of these test plates. In this web site you can also find a picture of a test plate for motorcycle from Lubiana issued between 1941 and 1943 and for this reason it has got the symbol of fascio in place of that of the republic.

In 1959 a little change was made to test plates and the code of the province was moved to the second line, while the number went to the third, as you can see in the second picture below. These plates were issued until 1985, but actually they are still in use today (at least in Milano, where this picture was taken in 1998), partly because there are a lot of them in the storage and they need to be finished before new plates can be produced, partly because there is no reason for the owners to change these plates with the new ones.

Test plate
Picture 1: 1927(?) - 1959
Test plate
Picture 2: 1959 - 1985

In 1985 test plates for motorbike changed a lot: they had the origin code (see table) in black followed by a green "P" (it stands for "prova") on the first line and a serial number with up to four digits on the second (third picture: the blu wire that you see was used to attach the plate and I couldn't take it away to snap the picture).

Another change, but only in the numbering system, was made in 1994: the origin code was substituted by two generic letters, as it happen on all the plates for car, and the number became made of just three digits: you can see one of these plates in the fourth picture.

Since 2003 the test plates for motorcycles have been the same used also for the other vehicles (picture number 5).

Test plate
Picture 3: 1985 - 1994
Test plate
Picture 4: 1994 - 2003
Test plate
Picture 5: 2003 - Today

See also test plates for cars for other details.

Many thanks to Alessandro Libanore for the first two, to Adolfo Arena for the fourth and to Paolo Tosato for the last of these pictures.

Plates in Rome by Michele Berionne