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Motorcycle Laws in Washington


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

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

Motorcycle Helmet Law in Washington

Motorcycle helmets are required for all riders.

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

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 Motorcycle Noise Restrictions & Exhaust Requirements

A proper muffler is required and can be no louder than the factory exhaust.

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 are performed at random.

Some of the equipment requirements for Washington motorcycles include:

  • Mirrors on each side.
  • Fenders on both front and rear wheels.
  • Handlebars can be no more than 30” above the seat.
  • Turn signals.

Motorcycle Passenger Laws in Washington

You cannot have a passenger under 6 years old on a motorcycle in Washington.

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

Using daytime headlights is required for motorcycles in Washington.

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 Lane Splitting Laws

Lane splitting is pending legislation in Washington.

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 issues titles to all motorcycles.

VIN verifications are required when registering out-of-state bikes or motorcycles with rebuilt titles.

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.

Find some helpful tips for when you buy a motorcycle.

Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Coverage in Washington

Motorcycle insurance is now required in Washington (as of 2019).

Minimum limits are as follows:

  • $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
  • $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
  • $10,000 for damage to another person’s property

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.

Motorcycle Safety Course Requirements & Details

An approved motorcycle safety course is required for riders under 18 years old to get a motorcycle license in Washington.

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

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?

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

Motorcycle Permit & Licensing Requirements in Washington

A motorcycle instruction permit is not required.

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

In Washington, motorcycle permit restrictions include:

  • No passengers.
  • Daytime riding only.

The permit is valid for up to 90 days, and can be renewed once or up to 3 times if you show proof of enrollment in a motorcycle training course.

Learn how to get a motorcycle license in Washington.

Washington Motorcycle License Age Requirements

The minimum age to begin the Washington motorcycle licensing process is 18 years old without training or 16 years old if you complete a motorcycle safety course. 

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