Washington Motorcycle Laws That All Riders Should Know

| Blog, Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury

Riding your motorcycle through Washington state can be a thrilling experience. You may be energized just thinking about hearing the wind whip around you and feeling the hum of your bike beneath you. However, you can’t let the thrill of a future ride distract you from abiding by Washington’s motorcycle laws.

Abiding by these regulations can help you stay safe and out of legal trouble. It could also reduce your likelihood of contributing negligence and being held liable for an accident. Learning Washington’s motorcycle regulations might be the best approach to avoiding major accidents and legal trouble for motorcyclists. Should you ever sustain injuries in an accident caused by negligence, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer’s legal counsel may prove invaluable.

Washington Riders Must Have a Driver’s License With a Motorcycle Endorsement

According to RCW 46.20.500, you need a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement to operate a motorcycle. A Washington driver’s license is required to obtain the endorsement. You can obtain a motorcycle endorsement in Washington in one of two ways. You can either pass a written knowledge test and a riding test or enroll in and graduate from an authorized motorcycle training program. 

No motorcycle endorsement is necessary for bikes with a partially or entirely enclosed seating area that is outfitted with safety belts and designed to be driven with a steering wheel, per RCW 46.20.500(6) and RCW 46.04.330(2). Anyone who violates these regulations will be charged with a traffic offense and penalized.

Riders Must Wear DOT-Approved Motorcycle Helmets in Washington

Under RCW 46.37.530, motorcycle riders in Washington must always wear helmets. Your helmet must have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and adhere to all manufacturing standards. Riders must also have eye protection in addition to motorcycle helmets that have received DOT approval and are in good condition.

Washington Law Requires Motorcycles to Have Certain Equipment

Motorcycles are also required to have specific equipment by law. RCW 46.37.530 and others include requirements for other motorcycle equipment intended to increase safety in addition to the helmet laws.

Washington State law mandates the use of the following safety equipment:

  • A reliable muffler to stop unlawful emissions and excessive noise (RCW § 46.37.390)
  • Mirrors on the left and right that give the driver a minimum of 200-foot rear visibility
  • A windshield or face protection that has been authorized by the Washington State Patrol, such as safety glasses, goggles, or a face shield (RCW 46.37.530)
  • Handlebars or grips no more than 30 inches above the operator’s seat or saddle (RCW § 46.61.611)
  • A horn that can emit a sound with a minimum range of 200 feet (RCW 46.37.380)

You may wish to have someone riding with you, subjecting you to further equipment requirements. RCW 46.61.610 states that to carry passengers besides the driver, motorcycles must have passenger seats and footrests.

Motorcyclists Must Have Auto Insurance

Like drivers, motorcycle riders must carry auto insurance, which must meet specific requirements. Riders have been required to carry insurance as of July 27, 2019.

The minimum insurance requirements for motorcycles are the following:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 for two or more people
  • $10,000 in property damage liability

Although purchasing Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is optional, it is a valuable type of insurance for riders.

Retain the Services of an Experienced Washington Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Though motorcycles are more liberating than cars, there are still many laws that riders must follow. By adhering to Washington’s motorcycle laws, you not only help yourself avoid accidents, but your adherence may also be important should you need to file an accident claim. After being injured in an accident caused by another motorist’s negligence, consider retaining the legal services of a top-rated Washington motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure your rights are adequately protected.

Premier Law Group is a client-oriented firm dedicated to helping accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. We are a professional legal service that can leverage years of experience and valuable resources to provide clients with the proper legal guidance. We offer a free case evaluation for accident-related situations and only accept payment if we win. Contact our office to set up your free consultation by calling (206) 880-7518 or completing our contact form.