Updated Motorcycle Operator Manual now available online in English and Spanish

January 8, 2020

Washington Motorcycle Operator ManualWhether you’re thinking about getting a two- or three-wheel motorcycle or you simply want to brush up on riding laws and best practices, the Washington Motorcycle Operator Manual is a great resource.

The newly updated manual is now available online in both English and Spanish. It can be read there, downloaded, and printed. An English-language hard copy can be obtained at any licensing service office, with Spanish versions in production and arriving soon.

The new and improved guide includes information about the new permit and endorsement process, new liability insurance requirements, and much more. It’s everything riders and prospective riders need to know about safely and legally operating a motorcycle on Washington state roads.

The Motorcycle Operator Manual features information provided by National Public Services Research Institute (NPSRI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), Evergreen Safety Council (ESC), and the American Association of Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

For more information on endorsement and permit fees, motorcycle laws, or to find a training/testing provider, visit dol.wa.gov.


2-wheel motorcycle permit and endorsement processes will change on Jan. 1, 2020

November 1, 2019

motorcycleAs part of a broader effort to reduce serious crashes and fatalities on Washington’s roadways, the state is changing its requirements for getting a 2-wheel permit or endorsement.

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, motorcyclists seeking a permit will need to pass a basic knowledge and skills exam. They must pass a more advanced knowledge and skills exam for an endorsement.

Currently, motorcyclists must pass only a basic knowledge exam and skills test for an endorsement.

Also on Jan. 1, the penalty for riding without an endorsement will increase from $136 to $386. The average cost for a motorcycle safety course to obtain an endorsement is $200.

Motorcyclists represent a disproportionately high percentage of fatal and serious injury crashes. Switching to a more comprehensive exam process is in line with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Target Zero goal of reducing serious motor vehicle crashes and fatalities to zero by 2030.

Frequently asked questions about the law changes:

What must I do if I already have a motorcycle permit?

Individuals who already have a permit can take either a training course or a skills test before Dec. 31, 2019, to obtain a 2-wheel endorsement. See approved motorcycle training schools.

What must I do if I already have an endorsement?

Nothing. You’re all set.

What if I have taken a motorcycle knowledge test but I do not have a motorcycle permit?

If you want a motorcycle permit, you must visit a licensing service office to add it to your driver license. If you want a 2-wheel endorsement, you must pass a skills test. After that, you must visit a licensing office by Dec. 31, 2019 to add the endorsement.

What do I need to do if I already have a motorcycle permit but I did not get my endorsement by Dec. 31?

As long as your permit is still valid, take the 2-wheel endorsement-level knowledge test and a 2-wheel endorsement-level skills test. After passing both, visit a licensing office to add an endorsement to your driver license.

Am I able to renew my permit?

You can renew your permit once after Jan. 1, 2020.

What if my permit has expired?

You must start the process again. After Jan. 1, 2020, you must take a permit-level knowledge test and a permit-level skills test if your permit is expired.

What if I am under 18 years old?

If you are under 18, you must complete an approved motorcycle safety course before applying for an endorsement.

What if I want a sidecar/trike permit or endorsement?

The new law is specific to 2-wheel motorcycles. You will need to take a 3-wheel motorcycle training course or take the 3-wheel knowledge and skills tests. See approved trike/sidecar schools.


Motorcycle drivers must have liability insurance under new law that goes into effect July 28

July 18, 2019

Consider this your 10-day warning, motorcycle drivers. As of July 28, 2019, you will no longer be exempt from Washington state’s mandatory auto insurance law.

Under a bill signed into law earlier this year, motorcycle drivers must obtain liability coverage and carry proof of insurance – long required of other motorists.

If you operate a motorcycle or other vehicle without the required insurance, you could be cited for a traffic infraction and receive a hefty fine. Further, if you’re at fault in a collision and you don’t have insurance, your license may be suspended if you fail to pay the resulting damages and/or injuries.

Operators of motorcycles or other vehicles required to be registered in Washington must act on one of the following four options:

1. Carry liability insurance with liability limits of at least:

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

2. Apply for a certificate of deposit to pay for your liability insurance

3. Have a liability bond of at least $60,000 filed by a surety bond company that is authorized to do business in Washington

4. Self-insure if you have 26 or more vehicles

Get details at the Department of Licensing website.

Exceptions to the new law:

  • Motor scooters and mopeds
  • Horseless carriage vehicles over 40 years old
  • State or publicly owned vehicles
  • Common or contract carriers with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission

When you drive a vehicle in Washington that is required to be registered in another state, you must have the type of insurance required by that state. You must also be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement if requested.

Find more information at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner website. There, you can browse licensed agents and brokers and check the status of their license.


Department of Licensing launches a new, fully modernized driver licensing system

September 4, 2018

Drives logo

The Washington State Department of Licensing launched a modernized driver licensing system over Labor Day weekend. Customers will experience slower service during this transitional time.

The new system will improve services to citizens, agency business partners, and the state’s transportation system. State and federal agencies that rely on DOL data for public safety, licenses, identification cards, and revenue will also benefit from the new system.

This is the second in a series of overhauls to DOL’s legacy systems.  The first phase, which updated vehicle licensing systems, was successfully completed in December 2016.  A third project is planned to address the agency’s Business and Professional Licensing systems.

For more information about DRIVES, visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/about/what-is-drives.html.


Update — DOL office closures and online services temporary shutdown is happening this week

August 28, 2018

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The Department of Licensing’s transition to a new and improved computer system is underway.

It started with some of our online services beginning to shutdown on Sunday, August 26.  Those online services will return on Monday, September 4.

Next up?  Two major developments begin this Friday:

All driver licenses offices will be closed this Friday, August 31, through Monday, September 3.

And all vehicle licensing offices will be unable to do vehicle transactions from August 31 through Monday, September 3.

All of these impacted areas—driver licensing offices, vehicle transactions, and online services—will be available on Tuesday, September 4.

DOL apologizes for any inconvenience these closures may cause.

We also look forward to serving you better than ever before, thanks to our state’s new, user-friendly computer system for driver and vehicle services.

For more information, please visit dol.wa.gov.

 



May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

May 2, 2018

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Spring is here and that means motorcycles are beginning to appear in greater numbers on Washington roadways.

In recognition of National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Department of Licensing is recognizing May as an opportunity to encourage drivers and motorcyclists to share the roads and highways.

Motorcycle safety depends both on motorists sharing the road with motorcycles and motorcyclists making good decisions to help them reach their destinations safely.  If everyone does their part, we’ll all drive on safer roadways in 2018.

Motorcyclists can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot, so drivers should always check their blind spots before entering or leaving a lane. In addition, drivers should be especially cautious of distractions behind the wheel. Looking down at a text could mean missing a motorcyclist when preparing to change lanes.  Don’t let one text change anyone’s life forever!

To help drivers understand what they can do to make roads safer for motorcyclists, the DOL’s Motorcycle Safety Program created a motorcycle awareness video called “A Second Look” that has received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and millions of shares around the world on Facebook.

In 2015, 73 percent of motorcycle fatalities were determined to be the fault of the rider, with the top three causes being alcohol or drug impairment, rider negligence, or excessive speed. Riders have the ability to minimize or eliminate these risks through continued training.

DOL’s Motorcycle Safety Program promotes the benefits of motorcycle training with the exciting video series, “Training is Everything.”

More tips for safe riding:
• Wear bright-colored, reflective clothing and protective eyewear.
• Keep headlights on at all times.
• Watch for animals in your path, especially at night.

For more information about motorcycle safety, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety.

More information about motorcycle safety training and motorcycle endorsement requirements is available at DOL.WA.GOV.

Visit the DOL YouTube page to watch our motorcycle safety playlist. It’s a great link to share with all the motorists and motorcyclists on your newsfeed!