We are now getting to the heart of the matter. Off-road motorcycles and other PHEVs with red stickers have long been the goal of carbohydrates to reduce emissions. By CARB`s own admission, California has the highest levels of air pollution in the country. Of course, most laymen would notice that this probably has more to do with the nearly 19 million people who live in the greater Los Angeles area than with the off-road motorcycles that cross Death Valley. To put that in perspective, Greater Los Angeles itself accounts for about 63 percent of Texas` total population. But I digress. For decades, California has cracked down on vehicle emissions. This has eliminated most off-road motorcycles from the equation. Either your off-road motorcycle must have an EPA sticker from the manufacturer stating that it is legal on the road, or it must have a CARB approval, which is extremely difficult and rarely inexpensive to obtain for a vehicle that was not originally legal in California. In short, a greenback is your ticket to ride smoothly, just like a land bike that is allowed and marked and legal on the road.

So, if you keep one of these two elements, you will not be affected by the upcoming changes. However, the opposite has happened. On the path of least resistance, manufacturers produced more and more bicycles with red stickers, because the consumer market demand for these „competitive machines“ was high and it cost more to produce and certify models with green stickers. In 2004, lawmakers cracked down on off-road motorcycles that had received license plates, making it nearly impossible for anyone to be allowed to drive. You can see evidence of this in old forum posts where people complain about how difficult it was overnight. I`m writing this after I got home after helping a friend buy a 2001 Californian Yamaha WR400F. I asked the seller about the sign, and he told me that a few years ago (2011-ish) he only bought the bike with a green sticker (or rather, without license plate/license plate). He called the DMV to ask for a license plate for use on the street, and they told him his bike was eligible.

I think the grandfathering of California red OHMC stickers should be worked on a little more. From 2022 and beyond, two-stroke wheels will be withdrawn from the market. Of course, CARB points out that there will only be competition and „clean 2-stroke technology transfer,“ but the real takeaway from their 2019 audience is the critical phrase „withdraw from the California market.“ That is the only expression that counts. So if you weren`t already confused enough about the direction to go to get a California plate for your off-road motorcycle, you now have the old-fashioned option to consider. Call the DMV and specifically ask for your bike (give them your VIN). If they say you can get a plate, write down as many details as possible about the call (the person you spoke to, the date, etc.). This way, if you are concerned about the DMV, you will need to provide documentation indicating that you have made every effort to confirm that your bike is eligible for road registration. Let`s do an overly simplistic thought experiment. According to Statista, about 14.9 million automobiles are registered in California, nearly twice as many as in the next state (Texas).

The average driver in the United States puts about 13,500 miles on their car each year. Well, I know two-stroke bikes are considerably dirtier than a 4-stroke car, but you can bet in the back that there aren`t nearly 14.9 million two-stroke bikes in California, and they certainly don`t travel 13,500 miles a year. Or even over the entire life of the bike. This is an absolute fraud. This unfolds like so many other stories of unintended consequences, in which government agencies stubbornly pursue something they deem right and necessary, only to realize on the street that they have shot themselves in the foot. I don`t know of any state or entity that wouldn`t be thrown into turmoil by losing billions of dollars. But it is not the state that will feel it; it will be the family dealers in California.

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