Motorcycle laws are designed to keep motorcyclists and other drivers safe on the road. Having a full understanding of motorcycle laws and complying with them can not only reduce the probability of an accident but also show that you know how to operate your bike safely in a way to protect others, thus potentially reducing your liability in case of an accident.
What Are the Motorcycle Laws in Washington State?
Washington state has an extensive set of rules for motorcyclists. It is important for those operating a motorcycle to respect all traffic laws and have a full understanding of the laws that apply to them. Here are some of these laws:
- Wearing a DOT-approved helmet and eye protection is required.
- If carrying passengers, motorcycles must have a passenger seat and adequate footrests.
- An education course is required for riders under the age of 18.
- Nobody under the age of 5 may be a passenger on a motorcycle.
A complete set of laws and regulations can be found at https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/docs/motomanual.pdf.
Are Motorcycle Licenses Mandatory in Washington State?
Motorcycle licenses are required for anyone operating a vehicle with two or three wheels, 50 cc’s or larger, and able to reach speeds of 30 mph or higher. Those operating similar vehicles such as scooters or trikes that fit the description of a motor vehicle may also be required to carry a license. Mopeds that are 49 ccs or smaller and drive no faster than 30 mph may also require the operator to carry a license. Riders should also get the proper endorsement for the vehicle they drive.
Is Lane Splitting Legal on a Motorcycle in Washington State?
Lane splitting (riding a motorcycle between rows of traffic when traffic is slow-moving or stopped) is illegal in the state of Washington. The only state in the country where lane splitting is allowed is in California. Motorcyclists that insist on lane splitting may be subject to a fine, and a law enforcement officer may also charge that rider with additional offenses such as illegal passing or reckless driving in some cases.
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, get medical help for any serious injuries and – if possible – take videos and pictures of the scene of the accident, ask for a copy of the police report, and get the contact information of other drivers involved in the crash. Then, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney such as the ones at Church & Page PLLC. Contact us at (509) 638-1414.