Off-road motorcycle update

February 10, 2012
Off-road motorcycle

Last year, the state Legislature passed a law allowing individuals to register motorcycles manufactured for off-road use as street-legal motorcycles if specific safety equipment is installed and inspected by a Washington licensed motorcycle dealer or repair shop. This month, DOL started accepting these new registrations and also notified about 600 owners of off-road motorcycles that were improperly registered as street-legal motorcycles that they will have to complete the inspection process to retain a street-legal registration for their motorcycle.

After being alerted by motorcycle owners about errors in the system, we looked carefully at all potential sources of data available to determine whether a motorcycle should be classified as off-road or street legal. We found there is no way for us to reliably determine the manufacturer’s intended use for some of our state’s motorcycles.

Because of this data issue, DOL will allow motorcycles currently classified as street legal to remain street legal. We have sent letters to 600 affected motorcycle owners to notify them that they can renew their tabs normally.

The owners of off-road motorcycles that are not currently registered as street legal will still be required to complete the inspection process under RCW 46.16A.435 if they wish to convert their motorcycle for street use. 

All owners of off-road motorcycles that have been modified and licensed for street use will be responsible to make sure their motorcycles have all of the safety equipment required under state law and that it is in proper working order whenever the motorcycle is operated on public roads. If the required equipment is missing or not functioning properly, the rider can be stopped and cited by law enforcement officers.