Change coming for Washington motorcycle owners, drivers

Motorcycle riders will be required to obtain and carry insurance in Washington beginning July 28.

Washington motorcycle owners must make sure their rides are insured once a new law goes into effect this month.

On July 28, motorcycle operators will be required to obtain and carry proof of insurance when cruising on Washington’s roadways.

The new rules stem from House Bill 1014, which was signed into law in April. Unlike other motor vehicle drivers, motorcycle riders in Washington have been exempt from obtaining and carrying proof of insurance.

According to an April 23 statement from the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bill Jenkin (R-Prosser), the law simply requires those operating a motorcycle to meet the insurance requirements, or equivalent, for registered motor vehicles under current law.

“When someone gets property damage, or in an accident with an uninsured motorcyclist, they are stuck filing a claim and potentially paying a higher premium,” he said.

Pullman Police Department Cmndr. Chris Tennant said police do not respond to many motorcycle accidents in Pullman, and he has not noticed a major problem with motorcycle owners being without insurance.

He said many motorcycles are already insured because the owners are required to buy insurance in order to get financing.

Tennant said he does not expect the law to cause a big change from a law enforcement officer’s perspective. He said it is just a matter of police remembering to ask motorcycle riders if they are insured.

Tennant said the new law only affects riders who are registered and driving in Washington.

Ann Parks, who works at the Pullman State Farm Insurance branch, said she has not seen an increase in motorcycle owners buying insurance lately, but that could change after the law takes effect.

Under state law, a motorcycle does not include a moped, all-terrain vehicle, an electric-assisted bicycle or a motorized foot scooter. A moped is a vehicle with an engine cylinder displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less, according to state law.


Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to akuipers@dnews.com.

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