Washington Motorcycle Laws: Everything You Need To Know

Washington State has several motorcycle laws in place to keep motorcyclists safe. These laws are important, as Washington State has a significant amount of motorcycle accidents. In 2017, there were 64 motorcycle fatalities in the state. 

Motorcycle Accidents and Personal Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can have dire consequences. Physical, emotional, and financial devastation is a possibility. But according to Washington State personal injury laws, an injured person may have a right to compensation. 

There is a time limit for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Vancouver. That’s why it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Washington state has a time limit of 3-years following the date of the accident. Filing after the 3-year limit has passed will result the case being dismissed. 

Legal Definition of Motorcycle in Washington State
There is sometimes confusion about the legal definition of a motorcycle. According to The Revised Code of Washington, a motor vehicle that travels on three or fewer wheels is a motorcycle. The vehicle must have steering handlebars, and a saddle or seat for sitting. Mopeds, motorized scooters, tractors, electric wheelchairs, and electric bicycles are excluded from the definition of motorcycle. 

A driver’s license is required to legally drive a motorcycle in Washington State. But the license must have a motorcycle endorsement. There is an exception to this requirement if the motorcycle has a fully or partially enclosed seating area with a steering wheel. 

It’s possible to obtain a motorcycle endorsement by completing an approved motorcycle rider class. A Certificate of Completion is issued upon the successful completion of the class. The motorcycle endorsement is assigned after the certificate is presented to the Washington License Services Office. But this step must take place no more than 180 days after finishing the class. 

There is an alternative for motorcyclists who don’t want to take the motorcycle rider class. The Department of Licensing has an official knowledge and riding skills test. This test is given by approved motorcycle training schools in Washington State. Motorcyclists who pass this test receive a motorcycle endorsement. 

To legally drive a motorcycle in the state, the vehicle must also have a registration with The Washington State Department of Licensing. Proof of ownership is required in order to register a motorcycle. 

Additional Laws for Motorcyclists in Washington State
Motorcyclists must follow several laws to be in accordance with state laws. Here are more laws that affect motorcyclists in the state. 

1. Helmets are required. A helmet must be worn by the driver and any passengers while the motorcycle is in motion. 
2. Motorcycles must have at least two side-view mirrors and a muffler. And 30 inches is the highest the handlebars can sit above the seat. 
3. Any motorcycle passenger in Washington State must be at least 5-years old. Passengers must also have a seat, and pegs or a footboard for their feet. 
4. No more than two motorcycles can share a lane. And motorcycles are prohibited from passing vehicles between lanes. 

When followed, motorcycle laws help make the road a safer place.

Things You Should Know About Reckless Driving in Virginia

In Virginia, there are multiple ways to be a reckless driver. Your speed or the way that you drive can make you a reckless driver. Virginia law 46.2-852 is one law that prohibits reckless driving. It says that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle in a way that puts your or someone else’s life, limb or property in danger. 

Another law that prohibits reckless driving is Virginia law 46.2-862. That law says that a person is a reckless driver if they drive twenty miles or more over the speed limit. A person can also be a reckless driver if they drive more than eighty miles per hour regardless of the posted speed limit.

What counts as a highway?

Even though the law prohibits driving on any highway in a reckless way, don’t let the word highway fool you. Virginia law defines highway as every way or place open to the use of motor vehicles. This can include an alley or even a private road.

Penalties for Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a class one misdemeanor in Virginia. A person that’s convicted can spend up to one year in prison and pay a fine of up to $2,500 or both. If a person drives recklessly while their license is suspended or revoked and causes the death of someone else, it’s a class six felony.

License sanctions and penalties

In addition to possible jail time and fines, a person that’s convicted of reckless driving faces license sanctions and penalties. The State of Virginia may suspend their driver’s license for up to six months. The state may also assess six points on the person’s driving record.

How an attorney can help

A person that’s facing a reckless driving charge should consult with a Richmond reckless driving attorney. A Virginia attorney can evaluate the case and help defend aggressively against the charges in court. In some cases, an attorney can completely defend a person from the charges. In other cases, they can negotiate a disposition that reduces license penalties or avoids jail time.

An attorney can make sure that law enforcement did not commit any errors in the case. Often, law enforcement makes errors measuring speed or using a radar. These errors might mean that the speed reading in the case is inaccurate. An experienced attorney can evaluate the case to find defenses and aggressively assert them to the fullest extent of the law.