As 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.