August 28, 2012
WA DOL image
OLYMPIA—Washington state is leading the nation in the deployment of a new motorcycle endorsement skills test designed to better ensure riders are ready for hazards they will face on our highways.
The Department of Licensing’s Motorcycle Safety Program worked closely with the national Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to design a new test that meets new federal recommendations including key motorcycle skills.
“Our new skills test was created to address issues identified by analyzing motorcycle crashes and crash data,” said Licensing Director Alan Haight. “We’re now training and testing the skills needed to avoid the leading causes of crashes.”
One of these new riding elements tests a rider’s ability to handle curves. Through analysis of motorcycle crash data it was learned that the majority of riders were injured or killed in accidents that occurred in curves.
While working with the MSF to design the test, DOL volunteered to introduce it in our state first to evaluate it before it is put in place nationally. The new test was introduced on August 1.
Most states use tests and rider training curriculum created by the MSF and other states are expected to start using this new test in the spring of 2013.
To support the new test, DOL has created a five-part video series demonstrating each element of the new test. In addition, these videos explain how the elements directly relate to the on-street skills necessary to deal with real-world riding situations.
These videos, produced by DOL staff, can be viewed below. They’re also available on the Department of Licensing’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/WALicensing
June 21, 2011
On the heels of a fatal motorcycle crash Tuesday morning in Lacey, state traffic safety leaders say motorists and motorcyclists both have roles in sharing the road responsibly.
The Department of Licensing and State Patrol today released a public service announcement and new poster focused on reducing drug or alcohol impairment of riders – one of the top causes of fatal motorcycle crashes. Excessive speed, another top cause of fatal crashes, was a major factor in the Tuesday morning crash.
The DOL video also speaks to the importance of riding safely and getting the necessary training and driver license endorsement to legally operate a motorcycle. To operate a motorcycle on a public road in Washington, riders must have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver license.
Licensing will release another public service announcement next week, focused on the campaign’s theme, “Look Twice. Save a Life.” encouraging motorists to be aware of motorcyclists. That message will also be brought to Washington drivers through messages on the sides of transit buses, freeway message board signs and billboards.
There are about 230,000 motorcycles registered in Washington, a 29 percent increase from 2003.
The video can be seen at DOL’s website, or YouTube channel.
March 23, 2010
With warmer temperatures and sunny skies around the corner, the number of motorcycles on the roadway grows.
The Washington State Patrol strongly suggests that motorists keep special watch for motorcycles. For example, when stopping at stop signs, check twice before proceeding.
“With the increased number of motorcyclists on the road comes the potential for more motorcycle collisions,” said WSP Captain Ken Ginnard.
The WSP recommends that riders watch for road construction, traffic congestion and surrounding vehicles. It’s a sentiment shared by Department of Licensing motorcycle safety technical specialist Tom Fite.
“Always be alert for sudden changes in traffic and keep a margin of safety around you,” Fite said.
Motorcycle collision data show that approximately 60-percent of motorcycle fatalities are single-vehicle incidents. The most common causes of these incidents are excessive speed, impaired driving and the inability to stay in the lane of travel.
“Whether it’s your first ride of the season or you ride frequently, be mentally prepared,” Fite said. “Challenge yourself to sharpen your riding skills. If you are aware of any bad riding habits you have, now is the time to make a decision to change.”
The DOL and WSP require that motorcyclists be properly trained, always ride with their headlights on and that they wear bright clothing and proper safety equipment, including a DOT-certified helmet. Riders must also have the proper motorcycle endorsement.
March 23, 2010
by Kyle McCarty
In Washington State, street-legal, two and three-wheeled vehicles can be defined as a moped or a motor-driven cycle (scooter or motorcycle). It all depends upon engine size and speed.
A large number of riders do not know that (most) scooters require an endorsement.
Mopeds vs. Scooters: What’s the difference?
Simply put, a scooter is a two or three-wheeled vehicle that is 50 cc’s or larger and can go faster than 30 mph. A moped is a two or three-wheeled vehicle that is less than 50 cc’s and cannot travel faster than 30 mph.
Scooters, motorcycles, side-cars and trikes that are 50 cc’s or larger and can go faster than 30 mph must be licensed. All of these vehicles are legally defined as motor-driven cycles. Riders must possess a valid driver license with the appropriate endorsement.
Mopeds that are 49 cc’s or smaller and cannot go faster than 30 mph must be licensed. These vehicles are legally defined as mopeds. Riders must possess a valid driver license.
In Washington, there are separate endorsements for two and three-wheeled vehicles. A rider will need a category 3 endorsement for a two-wheeled vehicle; while a three-wheeled vehicle requires a category 5 endorsement. If the rider successfully passes knowledge and riding skills tests for both two and three-wheeled vehicles, he or she can opt to add a category 7 endorsement to his or her license.
In an effort to help our community better understand the laws and risks of riding, the Washington Motorcycle Safety Program offers the following resources:
DOL Motorcycle Information
Washington State Patrol