Last Ride for Motorcycle Enthusiast, Literally

David Morales Colón's unusual wake. (Photo courtesy of Primera Hora)

Here at the offices of USRiderNews, we thought we’d seen it all. After receiving notice of this unusual (to say the least) wake at a Puerto Rican funeral home, we can admit that we haven’t seen anything. According to the AP and Autoblog, 22 year old David Morales Colón was shot to death last Thursday and when friends and family came to pay their respects, instead of a traditional layout in a coffin, Colón was embalmed, casually dressed and configured in a lifelike riding position atop his Repsol-liveried Honda CBR600 F4. According to Puerto Rico’s Primera Hora newspaper, the motorcycle was given to the victim by his uncle, and since he loved it so much it was brought by the family to the funeral home with the intention for him to be displayed in this unorthodox but visually stunning way.

Now, if late at night that Honda mysteriously starts up, you can bet they’ll be a few less attendants at that funeral home.

Thanks to Mark Kalan for tipping us off to this.

. (Photo courtesy of Primera Hora)

Vertical Tags Still Technically Illegal in Florida

Custom motorcycle builders like to keep the lines of their bikes clean by using vertical tags.  Law enforcement officers dislike the tags because they’re hard to read in a traffic stop and some sportbike owners even use the placement to obscure the tag from redlight and toll booth cameras and when fleeing and eluding police.

Legal or Not? That is the Question

In October 2008, a bill was proposed which made vertical tags illegal.  The motorcycle community, and ABATE vigorously opposed the new law and  eventually after Governor Charlie Crist signed an amended bill (SB 1100) in 2009 apparently restoring the legality of the use of a vertical tag/vertical license plate for motorcycles and mopeds.

The old law read “The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed horizontally to the ground and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up.”

The new law amended Florida Statute 316.2085(3) to now state: The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and may not be adjusted or capable of being flipped up. No device for or method of concealing or obscuring the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle shall be installed or used.” The language requiring a motorcycle license plate be affixed horizontally was deleted.

Sounds good right?  Except certain law enforcement agencies decided they could still enforce the part of  FL Statute 316.605 which readsVehicle license plates shall be affixed and displayed in such a manner that the letters and numerals shall be read from left to right parallel to the ground.”

So, it’s back to the legislative drawing board and along comes Senate Bill 2400, which is under consideration now in the Senate which amends the original bill with this language, “The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed and displayed parallel to the ground in a manner that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped may be affixed and displayed perpendicularly to the ground in a manner that the numbers and letters read from top to bottom… Which would have been great if the esteemed Senators had stopped here.  But as Legislators do, they couldn’t help themselves and added this also, if the registered owner of the motorcycle or moped maintains a prepaid toll account in good standing and a transponder associated with the prepaid toll account is affixed to the motorcycle or moped.”

Now Florida ABATE and the custom builders in Florida are left in a quandary. If this new bill passes as written, it will be illegal to have a vertical tag without a toll booth transponder affixed to the bike with a prepaid account in good standing.

Motorcycle rights groups are fearful that law enforcement will use this bill as probable cause to conduct random stops to verify that bikes with vertical tags have the required toll booth transponder.  Additionally Florida is a big destination for motorcyclists tourists, and this law may be unfairly enforced on visiting motorcyclists who could not reasonably be expected to acquire and maintain a toll booth transponder for short visits.