The story began after I bought my first motorcycle on May 25th. The experience was all so joyful, exciting and a little scary. Until on Tuesday morning, June 19th, the police towed my bike for missing registration. It was around 10 o'clock when I just arrived at my job in the city. My friend who was staying at my apt to watch the World Cup witnessed the whole scene, so he was telling me the situation while I felt anxious and desperate on the other side of the phone.
"What do you mean they're towing my bike?! I have the temporary registration with me and all the other legal documents!"
"Sticker?? I haven't received the sticker from DMV yet. How am I supposed to put it on when I have nothing?"
Imagine others' hands on your brand new vehicle, taking it away from you. That's how I felt at the moment.
At that moment, there's nothing else I could do. I was about to start my job and there's no time to rush back to save my baby.
The tow truck driver left my friend a napkin with the address of where to redeem my bike. Imagine if my friend wasn't there, I might have thought my bike got stolen.
The Queens Tow Pound closes at 10 pm. I finished my job at 8 pm, rushed home to get the helmet by 9 and then had to take Uber there by 9:30. Because if I didn't redeem it the same day, there's $20 surcharge per day for occupying the space. Therefore, I paid $185 to get the bike, $80 for tow truck driver to "leave" the pound plus that $10 for Uber. $275 was gone easily. I felt so deprived.
You might say, "how could they do this to you?! You didn't do anything wrong!" or "Well, it's your own fault to park vehicles with no registration on public street." That's true, according to the law, all parked vehicles on public street should display registration, but if you've purchased vehicles before, you might remember what a temporary registration looks like.
This is what it looks like, a thin piece of paper. If your new vehicle is a car, you're able to put it inside the car and above the dashboard so the police can see it. But if you own a motorcycle with no windshield, you're supposed to keep it in your wallet so you can show it upon request. But I wasn't even given a chance! I went to the Department of the Finance the next day to dispute the ticket, oh yeah, there's more than $275, the ticket itself is $65.
I repeated the explanation above to the judge. He listened then asked, "so you didn't put this on your motorcycle?" "Sir! (I was almost yelling) Please tell me! How am I supposed to put that thin piece of paper on my bike!" I continued, "if you guys wanted me to tape this on the plate, I would've done it! But there's no clear instruction on this!"
He didn't say anything at first, probably got offended by my anger and the yelling but I was so pissed off by his ignorance. He paused for a while, then looked at the computer screen, recited robotically the law "All parked vehicles on the street should display registration."
I left the department guilty.
Ironically, the sticker arrived in my mailbox one day after they towed my bike. You would've guessed my feeling at the moment, it's almost like they timed this and they're mocking and laughing at my helpless acts. It usually takes DMV 7-14 business days to mail the registration, but this time it took them more than 3 weeks.
I mailed my dispute letter again last week but I don't have high hopes. It would be my last struggle.
If you're also a motorcyclist or know someone who is, this is my hard-earned lesson. You don't win sometimes even if you're right.