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.