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NSW something is dodgy, my eyes or their plates

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by RodSyd, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Since I live pretty close to Sydney CBD a lot of my recreational riding is done at night when traffic is less. For the past few months I have been puzzled by an optical effect on some license plates. It seems to be mainly the smaller black/white plates that appear to colour change depending on the angle my headlight strikes them at. Sometimes the colours swap completely but in between swapping the background and letters are almost the same colour. I remember some gossip I heard a while back that I assumed was an urban myth, but have these people sprayed their plates with something that dazzles under a strong light, like a camera flash. Or are my eyes going the same way as my back and my hearing and my waistline and..I'm gonna stop there.

  2. Sounds like polarization, perhaps from your visor.
  3. Motorcyclists crash into the back of vehicles for that very reason.

  4. You're clearly on a freakey trip. Just keep ridin' your chopper bro, and let the colours flow.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. That's a pretty tame trip compared to some of the shit I've seen.
  6. I'll test your theory, next time it happens I'll lift the visor and see if it disappears. Gotta admit i am sceptical though since it only ever appears on license plates and nowhere else - that i've noticed anyway.
  7. Other thing you could try is tilting your head 45 degrees or so to one side.
    If it is polarisation then you'll still see a difference (just like with 3D movies).
  8. I have found the black background plates are like that and very hard to read at night.

    Im surprised they allowed them
  9. I have also noticed this. From what I have worked out, its like this:

    Most dark base coloured number plates reflect but the numbers/letters do not.
    This is so that when a speed camera takes you photo, it will see the characters as black and the background as white

    You can see this effect really well with an led torch held close to your eyeline aimed at a dark number plate
  10. This happens with the Silver on Black and Gold on Black plates. It is nothing to do with polarisation. I have silver on black plates on the bike and car and see it regularly. The metallic paint and the glossy black reflect in such a way that they can blend or apparently reverse.

    Though I have not tested this personally, I don't believe it has any impact on speed or red light cameras.
  11. It's not polarization, I saw it with and without the visor, looked exactly the same. I'm glad others have seen it tho, means it's not my eyes at least.
  12. I'm obviously in a bored frame of mind, reading old threads.. I worked at RTA, part of my role involved contact with the plates manufacturer (little factory in wetheril park, not prison like a lot of people seem to think..) and can answer this one;

    There was a change to the plates in mid 2009 to make the background material reflective - the numbers/letters are non-reflective, and this creates the contrast effect that makes the plate readable to cameras, particularly infra-red cameras. One you give past a certain angle off-centre, the light reflection can obscure the characters, particularly the black plates - black reflective sheeting is a weird material.

    There are some colour combinations that are particularly bad - red, black (especially with silver/gold lettering) and if you want something that's near to unreadable, grab yourself a football team plate.

    Keep in mind though, as hard as they might be to read, they show up clear as day on the camera (including the police ANPR)

    • Like Like x 4
  13. Thanks mark, that actually is great timing as it explains what happened to me the other night when I couldn't read the number plate on the car in front while my wife sitting in the passenger seat could and had no idea WTF I was on about. It honestly looked completely black to me. As we got closer, suddenly it became clear and I felt like a right loony and wondered if I was going mad. Now it all makes sense. Cheers.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. As long as the greed cameras can read them, that's all that matters. No Joe Public that has a near miss or anything and needs to report them.
  15. Yep - if you're a good googler, you can find a newpaper article where John Harley (Mr NSW Highway Patrol) had a bit of a spray about it. He should have checked his facts first though, as the change was pushed by NSW police;

  16. Interweb provides some dodgy 'but wait, there's more' style websites that provide various unsubtantiated but obviously scientific means to cause such an effect deliberately, which may also explain your eyesight:

  17. I see this too. At first I thought it was a special type plate covering that prevents cops and cameras taking a clear picture (saw in CSI Miami ;) )......................then I saw the same effect on my own bike with stock RTA green plate. Its really the angle your seeing it at and the angle that your headlight is hitting it at.
  18. Thanks Mark57, interesting info.

    Originally, i was all "Feck, we're all tripping balls!".