I resisted using toll roads when I was on a motorcycle as much as possible when I first started riding. The speed and convenience of thruways and turnpikes eventually convinced me to get an E-Z Pass for my bike. However, mounting it wasn’t a straightforward process, and I’m curious how some of this site’s readers have gone about getting their E-Z Pass tags affixed to their motorcycles.
For the uninitiated, E-Z Pass is one of the forms of electronic toll collection where a vehicle owner procures an electronic transponder – often called a “tag” – that is mounted on their vehicle such that a toll road’s electronic tolling system can detect it. The system uses the tag reads to bill riders and drivers. Many states that have toll roads or bridges have added some form of electronic tolling as a way to cut down on wait times at toll booths – as well as toll agencies’ payrolls.
There are several other e-toll networks in the United States, though the ability to use an e-tolling tag on multiple systems is still developing. For E-Z Pass, just about every toll road and bridge in an 18-state area (soon to be 19) of the eastern United States accepts E-Z Pass. For those who have traveled on Indiana and Illinois toll roads, those states’ I-Zoom and I-Pass systems have been incorporated into the E-Z Pass network.
Some states, such as New York, offer motorcyclists a significant discount on tolls if they use E-Z Pass.
When I finally caved and got an E-Z Pass for my motorcycle – which at the time was a 1998 Suzuki Bandit 1200S – I had to figure out how to best mount it. Fortunately, the Bandit S models came with a bikini fairing which included a small windshield. The curve of the windshield wasn’t too extreme, and I was able to mount the E-Z Pass right in the middle of it. It sure didn’t add anything to the bike aesthetically – but it worked for the most part.
I eventually removed the Bandit’s small fairing and turned it into a naked bike. Though I wanted to do a true naked look, there was one problem – where to mount the E-Z Pass. I ended up using a couple different flyscreens during the Bandit’s naked years, and, for the most part, the E-Z Pass was read by the receivers at toll booths fine.
There were a few times it didn’t read consistently. In one instance, I rode eastbound from the former Williamsville Toll Barrier on the New York State Thruway near Buffalo to the exit for Transit Road (a distance of about three miles) and I got billed as if I’d rode the Thruway to New York City. I recall that it took a while for the appeal process to generate a refund. I also did a tour through Pennsylvania where I got charged a flat $5 per trip because the E-Z Pass wasn’t being read consistently at the Pennsylvania Turnpike toll plazas.
On my second Yamaha FJR1300 – and 2008 model – I tried mounting the E-Z Pass in the center of the windshield. However, on my first ride with the tag affixed, the plastic-velcro tabs didn’t have enough grip on the windshield due to how much it curves at its center and the tag fell off. When I got my replacement tag, I tried mounting it slightly to the left of the windshield’s center – where the convex isn’t as sharp – and it’s held on and worked in the lowered and raised position since then.
Other riders I know have told me about the varying methods they’ve used to mount their E-Z Pass tags. A former supervisor told me he used a pocket near the end of his riding jacket’s sleeve. Other riders have told me they place them inside their tank bags. I tried mounting my E-Z Pass inside the fairing storage compartment when I got my 2008 FJR1300 – but discovered that unless my tag is oriented similar to how it would be on a car’s windshield, it won’t be read by the receivers at toll barriers.
My question to NEO Moto News readers is where – and how – do you have your E-Z Pass mounted on your motorcycle? What locations or methods have worked? And which ones haven’t?
Though technically the E-Z Pass system will read your license plate and bill your E-Z Pass account without a transponder, some toll booths have the drop-down arms that won’t let you through an E-Z Pass lane unless your tag reads. In those situations, it’s better to have a tag in a readable position and not need it than need one and not have it.
I’ll publish some of the responses I get to this piece later this year. I’m looking forward to hearing your E-Z Pass stories.
Header photo caption: You can see my E-Z Pass mounted to the back of the smoked flyscreen on my 1998 Suzuki Bandit 1200.