New law impacting motorcyclists; more tests to get endorsement license in Washington state

New WA motorcycle law

RICHLAND, Wash. — Drivers looking to get their motorcycle license will have to go through many hoops to get their endorsement. This is because of a new Washington state law taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Under the new law, motorcyclists looking to get their license will need to take the already required written test, but this will be for a learner’s permit. You must also pass a skills test. After, motorcyclists will need to go to the Department of Licensing to have the permit added.

Following that, you must go back to the training facility to take your endorsement written and skills test – both slightly different from the learner’s permit tests. Once the endorsement test is done, motorcyclists have to go back to the DOL again to add the endorsement portion to the license.

“Basically it’s doing the same thing twice,” said Dusty Powers, owner of Motorcycle Training Inc. in Richland. “The endorsement written test is a 50 question test rather than 25, and the endorsement skills test has two runs. One that we do is a braking exercise and one that we do is a cornering exercise.”

The learner’s permit is now good for 180 days rather than 90 – a new provision with the law. During the time of having the learner’s permit, motorcyclists will need to go get their endorsement testing done.

Powers said the law is in response to deadly motorcycle crashes in the state.

“Motorcyclists represent a large number of fatalities in the State of Washington compared to the number of registered motorcycles, so they reacted to Target Zero by implementing these changes,” he explained.

Both of the skills testings have to be done on a motorcycle the person provides and get it to the testing facility legally. In addition, those driving with a license without the endorsement could face a $250 fine plus other fees, which total about $400.

Powers said his facility is the only testing site between the Tri-Cities and Yakima. For more information, click here.