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Washington State Licensing Changes

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Originally written by Joyce on 8/21/2007 7:59 AM

I think what Mark and others are most concerned with now are ways to change the present. We can point fingers, complain and quote all we want but it is a done deal at this point. How to change that is the question. Something I tell the Board often is that history is not our friend, planning for the future and working in the present is what will make a difference.

History IS you friend if you can learn from it. If you ignore it there is much more chance of making the same mistakes over again.

I had an unscheduled but interesting meeting with a WA State Trooper yesterday morning. Seems I forgot to flip my headlight on (I always turn it off when starting the bike in the AM) and got noticed when he passed me going the other way. I pulled over immediately and had my helmet off by the time he pulled up behind the hack. I told him I knew why he pulled me over and had already addressed the situation. He was friendly, but asked for my license anyway. I handed him my WA State license w/ valid MC endorsement, but NO sidecar stamp. He took a good look at it, called it in, and came back to deliver me a warning about the light and then proceeded to ask me about riding a sidear, etc. There was no mention of my lack of three wheel endorsement whatsoever. Maybe he just overlooked it (Troopers are famous for that, aren't they?), or maybe he saw the MC endorsement and just didn't care to hassle a middle aged rider who obviously had a few miles on his clock (the old Belstaff jacket is a dead giveaway). Regardless of the reason, he just didn't make an issue of it. Maybe I got lucky, maybe the cops think the law is a ridiculous as I do. I thought about asking, but I didn't want to push my luck...








They need to offer the test in my area, where I am familiar
with the roads, and the areas, and I can drive to it without
being half asleep when I hit the road.

I wish you luck on your test. I just took the two wheel course/test after 5 years of riding on permits. Out of 10 people in class only 2 passed (I was one of the lucky ones) I was told that they have gotten alot stricter because of all the "high profile" accidents lately. Two of the failers had 1000 miles recient experience.

I won't restate it here... I started another thread after I posted here
because this thread can be hard to find new posts in. Here's the new one:

Originally written by WashCI on 8/9/2007 9:31 AM

Originally written by Mark 42 on 8/9/2007 12:16 PM

I've already spent $693 for registration.
$30 for endorsement.
I figure another $25 to take the riding test.

So how much of my $745 will go to 3-wheel rider education?

I could have easily paid for the training (which I never took,
and would have cost another $100) myself.

There is no fee for the test.

Only monies associated with endorsements/permits go to the Motorcycle Safety Education Fund. Someone else would have to let you know where the registration/tags go. The local office may be able to say for certain.

It cost me another $10 today to turn in the results of the Riding Skills Test
and get my license updated with the new endorsement.
So that makes it $40 to get the endorsemment.
Add to that about 14 hours of my time (not counting time spend studying
for the trivia test), about 100 miles of gasoline, $20 ferry fees for
the test day and it is hardly worth the effort. (Not to mention getting
up at 04:30 to make it to the test site on time)

If I had known how much of a problem this was going to be I doubt
I would have bought a sidecar rig.

The state continues to extract $$$ from me by charging $4.60 extra
per day to have a sidecar on my motorcycle when I ride the ferry to work.
That's about $92 per month.

And I still haven't (legally) taken anyone for a ride in the sidecar
even though I bought may new rig a month ago.

Imagine buying a new car and waiting a month to drive it because it
is not exactly like the other cars you have driven for 30 years...

From Evergreen Safety Coucil's Website

Washington St. subsidizes many of our classes for State residents ($125).
Additional classes have been added at a higher price to meet demand ($225).
Other than price and availability, all classes are identical.

Funny how more money induces availability of classes.

I regret that I didn't read this thread when it was current but just for the record I would like to add my own observations about the so-called need for a 3 wheel endorsement and the steps I took to protect myself from it.
As soon as I discovered that this new law was in place I went over and got my motorcycle endorsement changed to add the new 3 wheel endorsement (grandfathered as they say) back around 2004 or so (about a month before the "grandfather" clause was due to expire). I did not own a sidecar at that time but I was interested and knew that taking a road test was going to be a major inconvenience. So I got this endorsement and continued to ride my two wheel motorcycles until I finally got a sidecar at the end of 2005.
I was exceedingly happy that I had the foresight to avoid all the aggravation of this needless new requirement by "grandfathering" before I ever had a sidecar. I also found that my own common sense approach of study and cautious sidecar self practice on sidestreets for a few weeks was sufficient to prepare me for the several years of busy traffic I have since faced.
I know from practical experience that this law was unnecessary (to assure that I could safely operate a sidecar) and that it has only added disadvantage to my situation because I will now have to pay extra for a so-called endorsement that previously I didn't have to. I believe it will double the amount I pay for my license. My current Washington State driver's license expires this year so I'll find out the additional and needless fee I'll be compelled to pay for this unnecessary law. I guess I can feel good knowing that it will allegedly be spent on providing safety training for future sidecarists who, left to their own devices, would probably learned on their own just as well without it.
As others have said earlier, there was no compelling need for this law at all. There were no drastic increase in 3 wheel fatalities. This was the classic case of a good idea gone bad. Sidecarists were, in the words of Shakespeare, "hoist by their own petard" on this one.
Let's all hope that our 49 other fellow States don't put themselves through the same unnecessary legislation and endorsement aggravation.

I wish they hadn't offered the granfathering clause...
then at least there might have been enough outrage
to oppose the new law.

Had I known about it, I would have taken advantage of
it myself. I have had my 2 wheel endorsement since 1976.

I now have about 5000 km on three wheels, have no problem
flying the sidecar, drifting through left turns when I want
to, riding in incliment weather including rain, fog, snow,
frost/ice and cold. I've also managed to not ride while intoxicated
and found that my 2-wheel skills largely transfered to 3 wheels.

This ain't rocket surgery... a person can easily teach himself
with a book and common sense.

It used to be a free country. Now you can't even risk a hang nail
without the government trying to protect you.

I miss the days where safety was a personal responsibility,
not a legal requirement.

It ain't about safety it's about money...cut and dry.

Mark, Claude - Yup!!! (But I'm still glad I was grandfathered).
In my coterie of riding buddies and an AMA historical club I belong to (JRMC), the general consensus has been, "the State found a new way to tax its citizens" Not a single one believes it has anything to do with concern over increased safety. They see that as the self-righteous smoke screen used by the bureaucrats to fleece riders. Additionally nearly everyone agrees that this is a simple loss of a freedom they once all had with no advantage to any current rider whatsoever. The saddest thing about this is that it was a tiny minority of motorcyclists who foisted this on everyone else for idealistic reasons and then allied themselves with the safetycrats in Olympia to create this new tax and testing burden. It's sort of a case of that old French saying that "the cure is worse than the disease."

"The saddest thing about this is that it was a tiny minority of motorcyclists who foisted this on everyone else for idealistic reasons and then allied themselves with the safetycrats in Olympia to create this new tax and testing burden."


It was the State Legislature who grabbed the ball and found a new source (teat) to use to milk the motoring public.
Welcome to Washington, The "Evergreenbacks State".

This isn't exactly Breaking news.


And then we get a guy on here who is susposed to have some answers and stuff who had the nerve to aviod almost every question in a far less than skillfull way, talk down to many here, never post the minutes of a meeting that we later learned went exactly no where and then get off on telling everyone he was a vet? What kind of deal was that?
Don't blame you for moving to Idaho Lonnie.
I would suggest that anyone reading this from any other state, whether you agree with any legislation coming up or not to please psot it here.
The three wheel motorcycling public was blindsided in Washington state despite claims to the contrary. If anyone wil take the time to read the threads related to this legislation In Washington they shoudl be able to figure that out.

while I am not a big fan of Washingtons law and even less of how it's been implemented this thread is not very productive:

1) If you haven't taken the class, you are talking out your ass when you say it isn't worthwhile. I first took the class after riding sidecars for 15+ years. I had way more seat time than my instructors. I still learned lots and I wish there had been this resource available when I started riding

2) slagging the WA officials who have posted here is totally out of line. It will certainly not prove a helpful ground work for anyone trying to work with them in the future. If you dis agree with them, disagree. If you don't like the tenor of thier statements, take the high road and show by example how such discourse should be conducted. Personal attacks particularly off topic don't gain anything for anyone and will not open a dialogue.

3) if you are a Washington resident and don't like the law stop whining and do something about it. There was plenty of noise about this ahead of time, but more apathy than involvement. Unless you are totally new to the area and to motorcycles, youhad fair warning, but ignored it.

4) If you are not from the area, of course you have a right to your opinion, but this pot stirring is ing it up for the folks that live and work out here. Thanks a lot.

I've got to agree with you on this, Vernon.
There was a fairly large window for input in the months before the implimentation of the new ruling. (Sour grapes won't help!)
I sparked the flame, Abate showed a (very) small interest and Dave Wendall and The Evergreen Safety Council worked with the Legislature to make it all happen.

It's a Done Deal! It's not going to be changed here.

Claude's suggestion to use this forum to inform the public of other State's impending Legislation is a good one but I would suggest that those who are affected in other States start a new thread.

This one is getting a bit cumbersome and Monday morning Quarterbacking hasn't won a game yet!


In response to Vernon:
1. I have stated more than once that taking a class is a good thing and if anyone has a chance to do so do it. Classes like yours, Vernon, are a good thing. THAT is NOT what this thread was about my friend. I am all for training. I spent half a day today with one person and tentitvley have another session scheduled for tomorrow. I have referred more than a few folks to your classes and also promote Hal's Free liturature offered here at We also offer training at the RON DEE VOO. All of this is only because we care about folks getting a handle on sidecaring and how much fun it can be with safety at the forefront. Yes, I do beleive in traing so please if anyone gets the impression I am against it that is just wrong.
2. No comment, the threads speak for themselves.
3. Plenty of noise ahead of time? Really? Who, When and Where?
4. I can only hope that folks from other areas will take the time to at least see what happened in Washington State and be able to think it out with maybe some help from this thread and others like it here prior to any legislation being initiated in other areas. If they feel it is a good thing that is their decision. If not they shoudl be able to voice their opinion on it and at least be listned to.

In reponse to Lonnie:
>Claude's suggestion to use this forum to inform the public of other State's impending Legislation is a good one but I would suggest that those who are affected in other States start a new thread.<
Glad you agreed Lonnie. Yes, a new thread shoudl be started if other states have a situation looming. I woudl also want to add that anyone who has a concern with their state be referred back to any threads about Washington State to help them understand what a mess things can be.
I don't agree with your first paragraph. Read the thread(s).
As far as the Monday morning quarterback comment goes if there had been more quarterbacks, or really more teamwork, in the huddle way back when this mess may just have turned out differently.
Asky yourself who has profitted from it and how.
Nuff said lets see what happens from here.

3. Plenty of noise ahead of time? Really? Who, When and Where?

I got my 2 wheel WA endorsement in 2001 (I've held one in 3 states since

I had absolutely no idea that a special endorsement was required for
3 wheels until about a year ago when a friend who was looking at buying one
of the Bombardier 3-wheelers told me about it. I thought he was probably
full of it, so I checked the laws and was amazed that they had changed
without my hearing even a hint of info about it.

I definitely would have taken the grandfather option if I had known.
I have been interested in buying a Ural since about 2001, so I would
have wanted to have the preparations in place.

A little more Whine, my dear?

Have you ever read "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

What I would like to read is how to get rid of this GD law, anybody know how to get in touch with Tim Iman

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