Washington State Motorcycle Endorsement and License

motorcycle rider

How old do you have to be to get a motorcycle license in WA?
In order to get a motorcycle license in the state of Washington, you must be at least 16 years of age. You will need a Washington state driver’s license and must pass a motorcycle operations knowledge test in order to apply for a motorcycle permit. If you are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or guardian sign a consent form to apply for a permit. A motorcycle permit is valid for 90 days. If you need to renew your permit you will be required to show proof that:

  • You have had no more than one permit in the past five years.
  • You have passed the knowledge test within the past 180 days.

Washington state motorcycle permit holders are not allowed to carry passengers or ride while it is dark outside.

In order to learn more about the appropriate endorsement you will need, you can visit the Washington State Department of Licensing website for details.

Is a motorcycle endorsement required in Washington State?

Is a motorcycle endorsement required in Washington State?
Motorcycle riding laws vary from state to state, so be sure to do your research on the laws for riding in your state. It is important to be informed about Washington state motorcycle laws before you are out on the open road. Not only will this help to keep you from a legal perspective, it will help you to make good decisions and reduce the chance of causing a motorcycle accident.

In Washington state, in order to legally ride a 2-wheel motorcycle or 3-wheel trike you must have one of the following:

  • An endorsement on your driver’s license, OR
  • A motorcycle instruction permit to learn how to ride on public roadways

What is the difference between a motorcycle license and endorsement?

A motorcycle endorsement is something you get as a rider in addition to your driver’s license. It allows you to legally ride and operate a motorcycle as well as an automobile. A motorcycle license is much like a driver’s license but can only be used for motorcycles.

You must have a motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license in Washington state to be able to ride a motorcycle (or a valid permit).

What happens if you get caught driving motorcycle without license?

If you are pulled over while riding and you do NOT have the proper endorsement or permit you can be fined up to $386 and your bike may be impounded.

Can I take a motorcycle safety course online?

There are online motorcycle safety courses available online for a small fee, however, these courses are NOT valid for license or waiver purposes. Most online courses are designed for those who are interested in learning more about riding a motorcycle and to figure out if learning to ride a motorcycle is right for you. If you are interested in learning to ride, online motorcycle safety courses allow people to learn about riding without having to yet enroll in the hands-on training. If you want to be able to take the written and skills test though the safety course you have to attend one of the in-person training schools. Here is a link to find an approved school near you: https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motoschools.html.

How long does it take to get a motorcycle license in Washington?

There are four tests that you must pass in Washington state in order to get a motorcycle endorsement. Here are the four tests you must pass:

  1. A permit knowledge test
  2. A permit riding and skills test
  3. An endorsement knowledge written test
  4. An endorsement riding and skills test

There are several skills you will need to demonstrate in order to pass the motorcycle permit or the 3 Wheel Endorsement riding and skills test. Here are some of the skills you will need to be able to perform:

  • A 5 Cone Weave and Normal Stop
  • Right Hand Turn from a Stop and a U-Turn to Left
  • Evasive Swerve at 12-18 MPH
  • Evasive Stop at 12-18 MPH
  • Riding Through Two Curves to Right with Speed in Straight of 20 MPH

For the 2 Wheel motorcycle endorsement riding and skills test you will need to be able to perform the following:

  • An Evasive Stop at 22-25 MPH
  • Curve to Right and Curve to Left at an Average Speed of 15 MPH

You can find an approved motorcycle training school near you by clicking here. Once you have completed and passed your motorcycle training course, a course completion card will be issued to you. You will have 180 days to take that completion card to your nearest licensing office to get your motorcycle license. You can find a licensing office near you by clicking here.

How do I get motorcycle insurance without a license?

It is possible to get motorcycle insurance without having a motorcycle license. While it is still required to have a valid permit or motorcycle endorsement to ride on the roads legally in Washington state, there are circumstances in which you can purchase motorcycle insurance without having your license. Here are some scenarios where motorcycle insurance can be purchased without a license:

  • You have purchased a motorcycle prior to getting your license. Those who love motorcycles may find their dream bike and make the purchase before taking the steps to get their license. If you are financing the bike, you will be required to have insurance coverage. Most of the big insurance companies offer motorcycle insurance coverage and will allow you to purchase an insurance policy online regardless of whether you have an endorsement.
  • You own a vintage or garaged bike that you do not ride. For those of you who are collectors, you may own a bike that just sits in the garage and is never ridden. Even if you never plan to ride the bike, it is still a good idea to get insurance coverage in case of a fire, theft, or vandalism. There are also those riders who are dealing with an injury or medical issue and may consider canceling their insurance coverage while they are off the road. Again, it is a good idea to have coverage in case something happens while the bike is not being used.
  • You are buying a motorcycle for another rider. It is common in the riding community for a husband or wife to make a bike purchase for their spouse as a gift. You will still need that insurance!
  • You have a suspended license. If your motorcycle license lapsed or has been suspended, you may need to provide proof of insurance coverage before your license can be reinstated. You can contact your insurance company or agent and ask them to provide you with an SR-22 form, which shows documentation of your motorcycle coverage.

Can you make a claim if you get in a motorcycle accident without an endorsement?

It is still possible to make a claim if you are in a motorcycle accident in Washington state and do NOT have a motorcycle endorsement. If the other party who hit you is at fault for the accident, you can make a claim even if you do not have your endorsement.

Once the insurance company finds out that you did not have a motorcycle endorsement, do not be surprised if they try to put more or all of the blame for the accident on you. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to get out of paying claims, so if you are in this type of situation it is best to seek out a Washington motorcycle accident attorney to help. The motorcycle accident attorneys at MaxPower Law understand the unique challenges that riders face and will fight for your rights.

MaxPower Law is here to help! If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or have questions about your motorcycle coverage, please give us a call for a free consultation at 425-970-9300. Riders can also get a ton of information by downloading our FREE eBook Motorcycle Accident Secrets Unlocked.

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