Washington DC Motorcycle Law

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Washington DC Motorcycle LawRiding a motorcycle in Washington DC is a great way to get around if you know the basics of Washington DC motorcycle law. You need a DC DMV driver’s license and to be 18 years or older in order to get a motorcycle endorsement that allows you to operate a motorcycle. To legally operate a motorized bike that goes over 30 mph in Washington DC, the operator must have a valid driver license with the motorcycle (M) endorsement.

One of the requirements for getting an M endorsement to operate a motorcycle in DC is the operator must pass the DC DMV Motorcycle Knowledge Test. This can be taken at any DC DMV service center (and usually does not require an appointment to take). This test tests basic road laws and information required to have a driver’s license. There is a fee to take the test. If an applicant fails the test, they must weight three days before they are allowed to take it to try to pass it again.

In addition to the above, to validate a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement the applicant must provide a certificate of completion of a motorcycle demonstration course within the last six months of applying for the endorsement. The course does not need to be taken in DC. It can be taken and approved in any U.S. state or jurisdiction.

To apply for the motorcycle endorsement in Washington DC, bring the following to a DC DMV center:

  • Completed DC DMV driver license application
  • Your valid DC REAL ID or Limited Purpose driver’s license
  • The original printout that you received when you passed the Motorcycle Knowledge Test
  • Your original motorcycle demonstration course certificate of completion from within the
    last 6 months from any U.S. jurisdiction.

There are fees that go with different individual’s needs that a visit to the DC DMV website will help you to find out more about.

Motorcycle Classifications

DC law categorizes motorized cycles as one of the three following classifications of vehicles with two or three wheels on the ground: motorcycles, motor-driven cycle, and motorized bicycles.

Motorcycle A motorcycle has a seat or saddle for the use of the operator. It can be driven at
speeds over 30 mph. This does not include tractors, motor-driven cycles, motorized bicycles, or 3-wheeled motor vehicles with a cabs and windshields

Motor-Driven Cycle Is similar to a a motorcycle where it has a seat or saddle and two or three
wheels on the ground. It has a gas, electric, or hybrid motor with a maximum piston or rotor
displacement of 50cc or its equivalent, and goes no faster than 30 mph. They have a direct or
automatic power drive system that requires no clutch or gear shift operation by the operator.

Motorized Bicycle A motorized bicycle has a post-mounted seat or saddle for each person that
the device is designed to carry. Has fully operative human powered pedals. Has a motor
incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than 20 mph on level ground.

Motorcycles are a fun and economical way to get around the city but if you have been in an accident while riding one, you may find it helpful to discuss your situation with a reputable Washington DC motorcycle law firm.

The dedicated team of Cohen & Cohen has been protecting the rights of injured people and their families for over 30 years. Call Cohen & Cohen today for a free case evaluation.

Motorcycle Laws

As a motorcyclist, you are inevitably undertaking a lot of responsibility and risk while out on the road, especially on a highway. That said, If you’re a motorcycle rider, it’s important to be aware of the DC motorcycle laws that apply to you. Failure to abide by these laws can result in fines, points on your license, or even far more serious legal trouble. Here are five key DC motorcycle laws that riders should be aware of.

Helmet Law

In DC, all motorcycle riders and passengers are required to wear helmets that meet the safety standards set by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). This means that the helmet should have a DOT sticker on it to prove that it meets these standards. Failure to wear a helmet or wearing a non-DOT-approved helmet can result in fines and points on your license. Regardless of what the law says, a helmet is a straight-forward safety essential while riding a motorcycle. You should under no condition risk not wearing a helmet, because you are simply putting your life on the line in a real way if you disregard helmet safety.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is the act of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic, usually in slow-moving or stopped traffic. In DC, lane splitting is illegal. Motorcyclists are required to stay in their own lane of traffic, just like cars and other vehicles. Violations of this law can result in fines and points on your license. It may go without saying that lane splitting for motorcycles can be an easy recipe for a wreck on the highway. This is often because drivers are not instinctively looking out for motorcyclists. 

Headlight Use

DC motorcycle laws require that riders have their headlights on at all times while riding. This law is intended to increase visibility and safety for motorcyclists, who may be more difficult to see than cars or other vehicles. Failure to use your headlights can result in fines and points on your license. Not using your headlights may put other’s lives at risk on the road, and it’s important to remain responsible and be respectful of other drivers next to you, in front of, and behind you.

Exhaust Noise

DC has a noise ordinance that applies to all vehicles, including motorcycles. Specifically, the law prohibits the operation of any vehicle that exceeds 80 decibels during daytime hours and 70 decibels during nighttime hours. Many aftermarket exhaust systems for motorcycles can be louder than this limit, which means that riders who install these systems may be in violation of the law. Violations can result in fines and points on your license.

Insurance Requirements

In DC, all motorcyclists are required to carry liability insurance coverage. The minimum coverage limits are $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage. Failure to carry insurance can result in fines, license suspension, or even impoundment of your motorcycle. You do not want to risk any sort of lack of insurance coverage because the consequences will be severe.

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