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Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle

RCW 46.04.330

Motorcycle. "Motorcycle" means a motor vehicle designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, on which the driver:

    (1) Rides on a seat or saddle and the motor vehicle is designed to be steered with a handlebar; or

    (2) Rides on a seat in a partially or completely enclosed seating area that is equipped with safety belts and the motor vehicle is designed to be steered with a steering wheel.

 

    "Motorcycle" excludes a farm tractor, a power wheelchair, an electric personal assistive mobility device, a motorized foot scooter, an electric-assisted bicycle, and a moped.

Motorcycle Rules

RCW 46.37.530

Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, mopeds, electric-assisted bicycles — Helmets, other equipment — Children — Rules in accordance with Washington motorcycle law.

    (1) It is unlawful:

    (a) For any person to operate a motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle not equipped with mirrors on the left and right sides which shall be so located as to give the driver a complete view of the highway for a distance of at least two hundred feet to the rear of the motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle: PROVIDED, That mirrors shall not be required on any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle over twenty-five years old originally manufactured without mirrors and which has been restored to its original condition and which is being ridden to or from or otherwise in conjunction with an antique or classic motorcycle contest, show, or other such assemblage: PROVIDED FURTHER, That no mirror is required on any motorcycle manufactured prior to January 1, 1931;

    (b) For any person to operate a motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle which does not have a windshield unless wearing glasses, goggles, or a face shield of a type conforming to rules adopted by the state patrol;

    (c) For any person to operate or ride upon a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or moped on a state highway, county road, or city street unless wearing upon his or her head a motorcycle helmet except when the vehicle is an antique motor-driven cycle or when the vehicle is equipped with all of the following:

    (i) Steering wheel;

    (ii) Seat belts that conform to standards prescribed under 49 C.F.R. Part 571; and

    (iii) Partially or completely enclosed seating area for the driver and passenger that is certified by the manufacturer as meeting the standards prescribed under 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.216.

    The motorcycle helmet neck or chin strap must be fastened securely while the motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle is in motion. Persons operating electric-assisted bicycles and motorized foot scooters shall comply with all laws and regulations related to the use of bicycle helmets;

    (d) For any person to transport a child under the age of five on a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle;

    (e) For any person to sell or offer for sale a motorcycle helmet that does not meet the requirements established by this section.

    (2) The state patrol may adopt and amend rules concerning standards for glasses, goggles, and face shields.

    (3) For purposes of this section, "motorcycle helmet" means a protective covering for the head consisting of a hard outer shell, padding adjacent to and inside the outer shell, and a neck or chin strap type retention system, with the manufacturer's certification applied in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Sec. 571.218 indicating that the motorcycle helmet meets standards established by the United States department of transportation.

Motorcycle Licensing

RCW 46.20.515

Examination — Emphasis — Administration — Waiver.

   (1) The motorcycle endorsement examination must emphasize maneuvers necessary for on-street operation, including emergency braking and turning as may be required to avoid an impending collision.

    (2) The examination for a two-wheeled motorcycle endorsement and the examination for a three-wheeled motorcycle endorsement must be separate and distinct examinations emphasizing the skills and maneuvers necessary to operate each type of motorcycle.

    (3) The department may authorize an entity that has entered into a contract under RCW 46.20.520 to administer the motorcycle endorsement examination.

    (4) The department may waive all or part of the examination for persons who satisfactorily complete the voluntary motorcycle operator training and education program authorized under RCW 46.20.520 or who satisfactorily complete a private motorcycle skills education course that has been certified by the department under RCW 46.81A.020.

Motorcycle Insurance

MANDATORY MC INSURANCE DEADLINE 7/28/2019!

Effective July 28, 2019, all Washington riders will need to carry proof of motorcycle insurance or face penalties. Minimum limits will be $25,000 bodily injury (per person, $50,000 total) and $10,000 property damage (PD) liability. WA MC LAW TIP: Buy as much uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage as you can afford (at least $100k per person) because this protects riders from drivers who do not carry sufficient insurance for the rider's injuries.

RCW 46.30.020

Liability insurance or other financial responsibility required in accordance with Washington motorcycle law — Violations — Exceptions.

   (1)(a) No person may operate a motor vehicle subject to registration under chapter 46.16A RCW in this state unless the person is insured under a motor vehicle liability policy with liability limits of at least the amounts provided in RCW 46.29.090, is self-insured as provided in RCW 46.29.630, is covered by a certificate of deposit in conformance with RCW 46.29.550, or is covered by a liability bond of at least the amounts provided in RCW 46.29.090. Written proof of financial responsibility for motor vehicle operation must be provided on the request of a law enforcement officer in the format specified under RCW 46.30.030.

    (b) A person who drives a motor vehicle that is required to be registered in another state that requires drivers and owners of vehicles in that state to maintain insurance or financial responsibility shall, when requested by a law enforcement officer, provide evidence of financial responsibility or insurance as is required by the laws of the state in which the vehicle is registered.

    (c) When asked to do so by a law enforcement officer, failure to display an insurance identification card as specified under RCW 46.30.030 creates a presumption that the person does not have motor vehicle insurance.

    (d) Failure to provide proof of motor vehicle insurance is a traffic infraction and is subject to penalties as set by the supreme court under RCW 46.63.110 or community restitution.

    (2) If a person cited for a violation of subsection (1) of this section appears in person before the court or a violations bureau and provides written evidence that at the time the person was cited, he or she was in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of subsection (1) of this section, the citation shall be dismissed and the court or violations bureau may assess court administrative costs of twenty-five dollars at the time of dismissal. In lieu of personal appearance, a person cited for a violation of subsection (1) of this section may, before the date scheduled for the person's appearance before the court or violations bureau, submit by mail to the court or violations bureau written evidence that at the time the person was cited, he or she was in compliance with the financial responsibility requirements of subsection (1) of this section, in which case the citation shall be dismissed without cost, except that the court or violations bureau may assess court administrative costs of twenty-five dollars at the time of dismissal.

    (3) The provisions of this chapter shall not govern:

    (a) The operation of a motor vehicle registered under RCW 46.18.255, governed by RCW 46.16A.170, or registered with the Washington utilities and transportation commission as common or contract carriers; or

    (b) The operation of a motorcycle as defined in RCW 46.04.330, a motor-driven cycle as defined in RCW 46.04.332, or a moped as defined in RCW 46.04.304.

    (4) RCW 46.29.490 shall not be deemed to govern all motor vehicle liability policies required by this chapter but only those certified for the purposes stated in chapter 46.29 RCW.

Accident Reporting

RCW 46.52.030

Accident reports in accordance with Washington motorcycle laws.

   (1) Unless a report is to be made by a law enforcement officer under subsection (3) of this section, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to the property of any one person to an apparent extent equal to or greater than the minimum amount established by rule adopted by the chief of the Washington state patrol in accordance with subsection (5) of this section, shall, within four days after such accident, make a written report of such accident to the chief of police of the city or town if such accident occurred within an incorporated city or town or the county sheriff or state patrol if such accident occurred outside incorporated cities and towns. Nothing in this subsection prohibits accident reports from being filed by drivers where damage to property is less than the minimum amount or where a law enforcement officer has submitted a report.

    (2) The original of the report shall be immediately forwarded by the authority receiving the report to the chief of the Washington state patrol at Olympia, Washington. The Washington state patrol shall give the department of licensing full access to the report.

    (3) Any law enforcement officer who investigates an accident for which a report is required under subsection (1) of this section shall submit an investigator's report as required by RCW 46.52.070.

    (4) The chief of the Washington state patrol may require any driver of any vehicle involved in an accident, of which report must be made as provided in this section, to file supplemental reports whenever the original report in the chief's opinion is insufficient, and may likewise require witnesses of any such accident to render reports. For this purpose, the chief of the Washington state patrol shall prepare and, upon request, supply to any police department, coroner, sheriff, and any other suitable agency or individual, sample forms of accident reports required hereunder, which reports shall be upon a form devised by the chief of the Washington state patrol and shall call for sufficiently detailed information to disclose all material facts with reference to the accident to be reported thereon, including the location, the circumstances, the conditions then existing, the persons and vehicles involved, the insurance information required under RCW 46.30.030, personal injury or death, if any, the amounts of property damage claimed, the total number of vehicles involved, whether the vehicles were legally parked, legally standing, or moving, whether such vehicles were occupied at the time of the accident, and whether any driver involved in the accident was distracted at the time of the accident. Distractions contributing to an accident must be reported on the accident form and include at least the following minimum reporting options: Not distracted; operating a handheld electronic telecommunication device; operating a hands-free wireless telecommunication device; other electronic devices (including, but not limited to, PDA's, laptop computers, navigational devices, etc.); adjusting an audio or entertainment system; smoking; eating or drinking; reading or writing; grooming; interacting with children, passengers, animals, or objects in the vehicle; other inside distractions; outside distractions; and distraction unknown. Every required accident report shall be made on a form prescribed by the chief of the Washington state patrol and each authority charged with the duty of receiving such reports shall provide sufficient report forms in compliance with the form devised. The report forms shall be designated so as to provide that a copy may be retained by the reporting person.

    (5) The chief of the Washington state patrol shall adopt rules establishing the accident-reporting threshold for property damage accidents. Beginning October 1, 1987, the accident-reporting threshold for property damage accidents shall be five hundred dollars. The accident-reporting threshold for property damage accidents shall be revised when necessary, but not more frequently than every two years. The revisions shall only be for the purpose of recognizing economic changes as reflected by an inflationary index recommended by the office of financial management. The revisions shall be guided by the change in the index for the time period since the last revision.

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