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Motorcycle Laws in Washington DC


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This page will answer the most common questions we receive about motorcycle laws and licensing requirements in  Washington DC.

Continue reading to find your answer and follow links to explore some of these topics in greater depth. 

Motorcycle Helmet Law in Washington DC

Motorcycle helmets are required for all riders.

Additionally, eye protection like a face shield or goggles is also required unless the bike has a windshield.

A motorcycle helmet is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment. Wearing one can greatly reduce your chances of being seriously injured or killed if you are involved in a motorcycle crash

Read more about motorcycle helmet laws and safety.

Washington DC Motorcycle Noise Restrictions & Exhaust Requirements

A proper muffler is required and can be no louder than 83 decibels.

Noise restrictions may be enforced by local law enforcement or during periodic inspections. 

Local jurisdictions may have their own ordinances regarding motorcycle noise limits.

Motorcycle Safety Inspections and Equipment Requirements

Period safety and equipment inspections for motorcycles in Washington DC are not required.

Some of the equipment requirements for Washington DC motorcycles include:

  • Mirrors.
  • Fenders.
  • Turn signals.

Motorcycle Passenger Laws in Washington DC

There are no motorcycle passenger restrictions in DC.

Whenever you ride with a passenger:

  • Be sure to give them instructions on what they’ll need to do. 
  • Make sure they can comfortably reach the passenger handholds and footrests. 
  • Make sure that they are wearing all of the necessary motorcycle safety equipment.

Learn more about riding with passengers on your motorcycle.

Requirements for Daytime Running Lights for Motorcycles in Washington DC

Using daytime headlights is not required for motorcycles in Washington DC.

Using headlights during the day can help to increase your visibility to other drivers. 

This is a smart thing to do regardless of whether the law requires it. 

Washington DC Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is illegal in Washington DC.

There are some nuances to lane splitting, lane filtering, and lane sharing. 

Learn more about lane splitting.

Motorcycle Title Laws & VIN Verifications

The state of Washington DC issues titles to all motorcycles.

If you buy a motorcycle without a title or are moving from a state that doesn’t issue titles, the registration documents and the Bill of Sale should serve as proof of ownership.

Learn more about motorcycle registration and title requirements in Washington DC.

Find some helpful tips for when you buy a motorcycle.

Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Coverage in Washington DC

Motorcycle insurance is required in Washington DC, the minimum coverage limits are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident.
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident. 

Remember, the minimum liability requirements kick in during the event of a collision with another vehicle. If you need more coverage for things like theft, single vehicle collisions, and other types of damage you’ll need to get a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage as well. 

Compare quotes for free, and find cheaper motorcycle insurance

Learn more about motorcycle insurance in Washington DC.

Motorcycle Safety Course Requirements & Details

An approved motorcycle safety course is required to get a motorcycle license in Washington DC.

Completing the course will waive the requirements for the skills test and written exam.

A motorcycle safety course is a great way to get familiar with the basics of riding, learn about the most important motorcycle laws, and become a safer, smarter rider. No riding experience is necessary to complete a course.  

Learn more about motorcycle safety courses and Basic Rider Training programs.

Is a Driver’s License Required to get a Motorcycle Endorsement in Washington DC?

Before you get a Washington DC motorcycle license, you will need to already have a standard driver’s license. 

Motorcycle Permit & Licensing Requirements in Washington DC

A motorcycle instruction permit is not required.

In order to get the permit, you’ll need to pass a written exam.

The permit is valid for up to 8 years, and can be renewed as needed.

Learn how to get a motorcycle license in Washington DC.

Washington DC Motorcycle License Age Requirements

The minimum age to begin the Washington DC motorcycle licensing process is 18 years old.

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