Update: Motorcycle + Sidecar Endorsements

Beginning on January 1, 2020, the process for getting a motorcycle endorsement and sidecar endorsement has changed.

If you have a two-wheel motorcycle or scooter that is 50 cc or smaller and has a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour, you don’t need a motorcycle endorsement. Note that the maximum speed must be on the speedometer—you can’t just tell the officer that you never go faster than 30.

To get a motorcycle permit, you must pass a basic knowledge and skills exam. You must be at least 16 years old to apply and, if you are younger than 18, have a signed parental consent form. At any age, you must have a valid Washington State driving license and pass the motorcycle operation knowledge test. With a permit, you can ride your motorcycle on a public roadway, but not at night and not carrying passengers. The permit is valid for 90 days and is renewable as long as you passed the knowledge test within the last 180 days and had just one permit during the last five years. To renew a second time (third permit) you need proof that you are enrolled in a motorcycle training course and the permit may not expire before you start the course. The DMV urges that, if you have a valid permit, you finish your tests before the end of 2019.

To get an endorsement on your driving license, you must pass an advanced knowledge and skills exam. There are two ways to get this endorsement:

You can successfully complete a motorcycle safety course, which includes the knowledge and riding skills tests, at an approved motorcycle training school. There is a fee for the permit.

Or

You can take and pass the knowledge test at an approved motorcycle training school, then bring the pink score sheet to the DMV office to get an instruction permit. You can then take and pass the riding test and, within 180 days, bring the green score sheet to the DMV office to get the endorsement. You cannot get a motorcycle endorsement while you have an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). Once the IIL has been removed, you can take the necessary steps to get a motorcycle endorsement. There is a fee for the original endorsement, which includes a new driving license, and a different fee for endorsement renewal, which is added to the driving license renewal fee.

You’ll find a list of approved motorcycle training schools here. Each school sets its own charges for the classes and for the tests. These charges are in addition to the state fees.

You can find both sample questions from the knowledge test and videos showing typical tasks from the riding test here. And you can download a pdf of the Washington State driver’s manual here. The manual includes: safety information; the rules of the road; advice on how to handle some mechanical problems; and sample test questions.

If you ride with a sidecar or ride a three-wheeler (trike, including a Can-Am or Piaggio MP3), you need a special endorsement to ride on public roads in Washington. If you ride it without the proper endorsement, your motorcycle with sidecar or trike can be impounded. You don’t need this endorsement if, and only if, your sidecar or trike is equipped with safety belts, is steered with a steering wheel, and has a partially or completely enclosed seating area.

Getting the sidecar/trike endorsement is pretty much the same as getting the motorcycle endorsement. You can take safety courses or tests at one of the approved sidecar/trike training schools listed here. Note that, just as with the motorcycle endorsement, permit holders may not carry passengers.

We’ve done our best to summarize and explain the requirements for these two endorsements, but don’t just take our word for it. Check out the DMV website or send an email with questions to: motorcycle@dol.wa.gov