How to Get a Motorcycle Driver’s License in Washington

Washington  Motorcycle Driver’s License

Washington Motorcycle Driver's License

If you want to ride a motorcycle down Washington’s streets and highways, you must have a motorcycle driver’s license first or motorcycle endorsement from the Department of Licensing (DOL). Adding a motorcycle endorsement on your valid driver’s license will allow you to operate any motor driven vehicles anywhere in Washington.

Ways to Get Motorcycle Endorsement

1. You have to complete an approved motorcycle rider course that will allow you to waive the knowledge and motorcycle riding test. Just bring a Certificate of completion to a Washington driver licensing office within 180 days of passing the course.

2. If you don’t take a rider course from a motorcycle training school, you must pass a motorcycle knowledge test that will allow you to obtain an instruction permit so that you can practice for the riding test. To pass the exam, study the motorcycle rider’s manual.

Basic Requirements for the License


Teen riders who want to get a motorcycle driver’s license must satisfactorily complete an approved rider course before they can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. Also, they need to have parental permission to take the course and in applying for the endorsement.

If you are going to ride a 3-wheel motor driven vehicle in Washington, you must get a sidecar or trike endorsement unless your vehicle meets all requirements given below.

  • The seat is a partially or completely enclosed seating area.
  • The vehicle must be equipped with safety belts.
  •  The vehicle is steered with a steering wheel

To get your sidecar or trike endorsement, you are given two options:

  • If you don’t take an approved rider course, you must pass the sidecar/trike knowledge test in order to get an endorsement permit then pass the sidecar/trike riding test to get your endorsement. Both are different from a two-wheel motorcycle test.
  • If you complete and pass an approved rider course at a sidecar/trike training school, you must bring your completion card to any driver licensing office in Washington within 180 days to have the knowledge and riding test waived.

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To apply for a motorcycle instruction permit you must:

    • Be at least 16 years old.
    • Hold a valid Washington State driver license.
    • Pass the knowledge test on motorcycle operation.
    • Have a parent to sign the consent form if under 18 years old.

Note: The instruction permit does not allow you to carry any passengers and to drive a motorcycle during the hours of darkness.

In getting a motorcycle driver’s license, you have to pass several tests such as the motorcycle riding test, and sidecar/trike riding test. You must schedule an appointment to take this test. The riding test hours and locations will vary depending on your local licensing office.

Another requirement get a motorcycle driver’s license is to pay for the approved fees such as:

  •  Motorcycle instruction permit which costs $15 and will be collected when your instruction permit is issued.
  • Original motorcycle endorsement which costs $25 that includes a $5 application fee, and $20 for your endorsement and new driver’s license. Each time you apply to take a skills test for an endorsement you will be charged $5.
  • Renewal of motorcycle endorsement which costs $25 and is paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal.

Once your licensing requirements are met, you can have your motorcycle driver’s license or a motorcycle endorsement added on your valid Washington driver’s license.

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