After months of rain, and what seemed like a never ending winter, warmer weather is finally here! And with the sun comes motorcycles making their seasonal debut.

This time a year we get a lot of questions about two things: Motorcycle safety tips and what steps you need to take to become a motorcycle rider.

Endorsements

If you saw this week’s “Trivia Tuesday” post, we asked: “Do you need an endorsement to ride a motorcycle on Washington highways?” The answer? Yes.

In order to legally ride in the Evergreen State you must have a 2-wheel motorcycle or 3-wheel sidecar/trike endorsement on your license or motorcycle instructional permit. (See RCW. 46.20.500 and RCW 46.04.304).

Not sure which endorsement you need? This chart can help you out.

If you have a… You…
2-wheel motorcycle or scooter that:

Is larger than 50cc

or

Can go faster than 30 mph

Need a 2-wheel endorsement
2-wheel motorcycle or scooter that:

Is 50cc or smaller

and

Has a maximum speed of 30 mph

Don’t need an endorsement
2-wheel motorcycle or scooter with a stabilizing conversion kit installed. 3-wheel endorsement
Motorcycle with a sidecar 3-wheel endorsement
3-wheel trike 3-wheel endorsement
3-wheel vehicle with a seating area, safety belts, and a steering wheel Don’t need an endorsement

So where do you go to get an endorsement? The Washington State Department of Licensing. For more information, please visit their website at: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/motoendorsement.html

Safety

According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission

  • Between 2011-2015 in Washington State, an average of 74 motorcyclists died each year.
  • In those same years, an average of 38 motorcyclists died in July, August, and September
  • Speeding was involved in 51% of fatalities and 30% of serious injuries among motorcyclists
  • Lane departure (running off the road) contributed to 49% of fatalities and 28% of serious injuries

We can’t stress this enough: Share. The. Road. Everyone behind a wheel should always be aware of their surroundings. Motorcyclists face many challenges on the road such as size and visibility. Take a few extra moments to look around and give some motorcyclists a little extra room.

We also want to bring attention to the third statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Speeding is a major factor when it comes to motorcycle safety. Safe motorcycle riding takes balance, coordination, focus, and good judgment. When you’re operating your vehicle, obey the speed signs and keep everyone safe.