More about off/on road motorcycles

September 16, 2010

Downloadable off road motorcycle info sheet.

Here are photo illustrations of street-legal  and non-street-legal motorcycles, and examples of accompanying documentation that comes from manufacturers. While the photographs are KTM brand motorcycles, there are a variety of manufacturers of both street legal, non-street legal and “dual sport” motorcycles – these two motorcycles are used only as examples, and this information specifically applies to Washington state.

Motorcycles (all vehicles, for that matter) are determined to be road-worthy depending on a long list of items – everything from the construction of the gas tank, to the brakes, mirrors and emission standards. Except for the emission standards, these criteria are a part of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which Washington state has adopted. If a vehicle is not road-worthy, Washington Administrative Code requires that it must be noted on the vehicle’s Certificate of Origin. Some manufacturers are out of compliance with this requirement, and DOL continues work to ensure manufacturers are compliant. You can see two examples below.

Street legal KTM 690 Enduro 

Street-legal KTM 690 Enduro


Non Washington state street-legal KTM 300 XC 


Certificate of Origin for a Honda non-street legal motorcycle. Note required statement.

Certificate for non-street legal 300XC motorcycle without required statement.

Off road motorcycles not legal for street use; some registrations being canceled

September 1, 2010

 DOL recently learned about a procedural issue that allowed the owners of some off-road motorcycles to register them for use on public roadways. State and federal laws prohibit vehicles manufactured specifically for off-road use from being licensed and registered for use on public streets.

Off-road motorcycles and other types of off-road vehicles can be registered with DOL as off-road vehicles and are eligible for off-road vehicle permits. These permits allow use the use of these vehicles for recreational purposes on public land, but not on public roads.

DOL is working to cancel license plates and motorcycle registrations issued to the owners of off-road motorcycles. These individuals will receive new off-road vehicle registrations and an off-road vehicle permit.

Click here for detailed questions and answers about this issue.