Washington Motorcycle Laws

Washington Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

A motorcycle ride in Washington is an exhilarating experience. The varied terrain and iconic scenery make Washington a motorcycle destination state with a mixture of urban and rural road routes to please any rider. But whether you’re heading to Washington for a bucket-list motorcycle trip or you’re a resident who rides to work or school, it’s essential to know Washington’s motorcycle laws and carefully follow them to minimize the chances of a traffic citation or a serious accident.

Motorcycle License Requirements in Washington

New motorcyclists must acquire a learner’s permit by passing a basic skills exam. Motorcyclists with a valid Washington driver’s license must apply for a motorcycle endorsement. An endorsement requires passing a more advanced knowledge and skill test. Failing to obtain an endorsement may result in a $386.00 fine for those caught operating a motorcycle.

Washington Insurance Laws for Motorcyclists

Like car drivers, Washington has insurance requirements for motorcyclists. The minimum coverage requirement is $10,000 in property damage, $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, or $50,000 total per accident.

Helmet Laws in Washington

Washington has a strict universal helmet law requiring all operators and passengers to wear DOT-approved helmets while riding at all times regardless of their age. The helmet must have a chin strap secured into place while riding. Riders must also wear face shields or goggles for eye protection unless their motorcycle has a windshield.

Motorcycle Requirements

According to Washington RCW 46.37.530:

“or any person to operate a motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle not equipped with mirrors on the left and right sides which shall be so located as to give the driver a complete view of the highway for a distance of at least two hundred feet to the rear of the motorcycle…”

Motorcycles over 25 years old do not require side mirrors.

Important Motorcycle Laws in Washington

There are several other important laws for motorcyclists in Washington, including the following:

  • It’s illegal to transport a child under the age of five on a motorcycle
  • Lane-splitting (the practice of riding between lanes of slow-moving traffic) is illegal in Washington
  • It’s illegal to operate a motorcycle in Washington while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. A blood alcohol level of 0.8 or higher or a THC level of 5.00 or higher constitutes DUI charges and serious criminal penalties.
  • A motorcyclist may only transport a passenger if they have an additional seat and footpegs or a bucket-style seat with a seatbelt
  • A motorcycle must have a good exhaust system to avoid a penalty under the state’s highway noise restriction laws
  • Motorcyclists are prohibited from purposely screeching brakes, revving the engine, or making other distracting noises in traffic

Motorcycle Accident Laws

Like drivers, motorcyclists must remain at the scene of an accident and leave their contact information with the police to avoid hit-and-run charges. Motorcyclists who sustain injuries in an accident with an at-fault driver may claim compensation under the state’s comparison negligence insurance laws. Even if the motorcyclist contributed to the cause of the accident, the state’s laws allow them to recover a portion of their damages minus their percentage of fault. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, make sure to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Everett today.