Obtaining a Washington motorcycle license is the first step to legally ride a two-wheel motorcycle in the state. The process of applying for a motorbike license is straightforward and relies on additional testing outside of what is needed for a driver’s license. It is important for first-time riders to successfully complete a motorcycle safety course before visiting the Washington State Department of Licensing.

Each license applicant should understand the requirements necessary to legally receive their endorsement to ride. For instance, riders younger than 18 years of age must complete different steps compared to older riders. To learn more about the DMV motorcycle license application including whether a bike permit is the first step, continue reading.

What is a Washington motorcycle endorsement?

A motorcycle endorsement is added to an existing driver’s license in order to indicate that he or she may legally operate a bike. In order to qualify for an M endorsement in Washington, a driver must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Have a valid Washington driver’s license.
  • Pass the motorcycle knowledge skills test.
  • Pay the necessary endorsement fees.

Motorcycle Permit Requirements in Washington

Obtaining a motorcycle permit is a common first-step for new riders to take in order to better develop their bike skills. Getting a WA motorbike permit is optional but can be very helpful.

Washington Motorcycle Permit Rules and Restrictions

Most new drivers wonder, “what does a motorcycle permit allow you to do?” The permit for a motorcycle is a welcome step toward eventually acquiring a license. The purpose of the bike permit is to help new riders familiarize themselves with the motorcycle, as well as the safety laws before officially receiving their license. The more practice a motorcyclist receives, the safer they can ride. While the permit is a common choice for beginners, there are certain rules and restrictions that apply. The two most common motorcycle permit restrictions include not being able to carry passengers as well as not being able to ride after dark. The permit will be valid for 90 days, to which the rider can either take the road skills test to obtain the Washington motorcycle endorsement or renew the permit for another 90 days.

How to Get a Motorcycle Permit in Washington

In order to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit, an applicant must first take the motorcycle knowledge test. After an applicant passes the knowledge exam, he or she will be given a pink score sheet and will have 180 days to take it to the local Department of Licensing Office. Applicants will also be required to bring in their Washington State driver’s license as well as the necessary fees in order to acquire their motorcycle permit. Any permit applicants younger than 18 years of age will need to bring a signed consent form from his or her parent or guardian.

Washington Motorcycle License Requirements

The DMV motorcycle license is the only credential that allows riders to legally operate a two-wheel motor vehicle within the state. The motorcycle license age is 16 years old, however, riders younger than 18 years of age must pass an approved rider course before applying for an endorsement. Additionally, parental consent will be required to apply.

How to Get a Motorcycle License in Washington

Knowing where to get motorcycle license approval is a great place to start. There are two ways to receive a two-wheel motorcycle endorsement in Washington:

  • Successfully complete a motorcycle safety course at an approved motorcycle training
  • Start with the motorcycle instruction permit

The safety course includes both the knowledge and roads skills test. Once complete, a driver will bring the course completion card to the driver office location within 180 days. Drivers who begin with the instruction permit can take the knowledge and road skills test at an approved training school when ready. After obtaining the permit, a motorcyclist can then take the knowledge and riding skills test and bring the green course completion card to the local Department of Licensing within 180 days.

Getting a Washington Motorcycle License as a New Resident

Any new resident of the state will have 30 days after moving to transfer his or her motorcycle endorsement. In order to obtain a WA motorbike endorsement, a rider must visit the local Department of Licensing Office in person. He or she can follow the same steps as transferring an out-of-state driver’s license and bring proof of his or her endorsement from a previous state and pay the necessary fees.

Required Motorcycle Classes in Washington

There are two types of motorcycle testing in Washington, the knowledge test and the riding skills test. Applicants will need to pass both tests when applying for a license endorsement. The knowledge test will ask questions regarding motorcycle operation and safety, while the riding skills test will measure a driver’s ability to safely operate a bike. Any rider who participates in a motorcycle safety course will be able to take the riding skills test during the course. Those who do not take a safety course can take the riding skills test at any approved motorcycle training school after having completed the knowledge test.

Washington DMV Motorcycle Test Details

Drivers must complete the two mandatory tests in order to legally be approved for a motorcycle license in Washington. Each test will contain different aspects of motorcycle safety and operation.

Motorcycle Written Test

The motorcycle written test, also known as the knowledge test, will measure how well a driver comprehends the rules of the road. Additionally, he or she will need to answer questions in order to demonstrate understanding of proper safety techniques and protocol. In order for a driver to receive an instruction permit as well as a motorcycle endorsement, he or she must pass the knowledge test .

Motorcycle Road Test

Taking the Washington motorcycle road test will allow a driver to measure his or her ability to legally operate a motorcycle. During the road skills test, a driver will be asked to weave through cones, stop, turn from a stop, U-turn, swerve around obstacles, quick stop and curve. Each of these maneuvers will need to be effectively demonstrated by the rider before he or she is allowed a license.

Do you need a motorcycle license to drive a scooter in Washington?

If a scooter is less than 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement (50cc), then a driver will not need to hold a Class M license to operate it. However, a driver will still need to hold a valid driver’s license.

Other Vehicles

Drivers operating any off-road vehicle (ORV) will not need to have a motorcycle license in Washington.

Washington Motorcycle License Costs

Motorcycle license cost totals will vary depending on whether or not the driver pursued a permit first or went through an approved safety course. For drivers wondering “how much does it cost to get a motorcycle license in WA,” see this breakdown:

  • Motorcycle learner’s permit – $15 for 90 days
  • Renew permit – $15 for 90 days
  • Driver license – $89 for six years
  • Adding motorcycle endorsement – $17-$27
  • Renewing an endorsement – $84 for six years

The motorcycle knowledge test and riding skills test will vary depending on the training school a driver chooses.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.