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Special motorcycle laws in Washington

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Motorcycle Accidents |

Washington offers scenic routes and winding roads, attracting motorcycle enthusiasts. However, riders must understand the state’s specific laws regarding motorcycle accidents to ensure safety and compliance. Here, we will explore the unique legal landscape for riders in Seattle and Washington.

Legal definition and licensing

Our state defines a motorcycle as a motor vehicle with no more than three wheels, ridden while seated on a saddle and steering with a handlebar. To legally ride, riders must obtain a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license, which requires both written and riding skills tests.

Insurance requirements

Washington law mandates motorcyclists to carry insurance or hold a liability bond of at least $60,000. This ensures financial protection in case of a motorcycle accident. It covers medical expenses and property damage.

Helmet law and safety regulations

Washington strictly enforces a helmet law (RCW 46.37.530). It requires all riders and passengers to wear helmets to reduce head injuries. Additionally, that law includes noise restrictions that aim to minimize sound pollution from motorcycles. Violations of either law can have their own consequences.

Motorcycle accident laws and liability

Lane splitting is prohibited in Washington, but motorcyclists have the right to full lane usage. In the case of motorcycle accidents, determining liability is crucial, and navigating insurance claims can be complex.


While Washington’s motorcycle laws may appear complex, they are designed to protect riders and enhance road safety. By familiarizing themselves with and adhering to these regulations, motorcyclists can enjoy their rides with confidence.