Motorcycles in Washington – A New Law on Insurance

Lerner & Rowe Injury Attorneys
motorcycle insurance law
Lerner and Rowe is here with the scoop on Washington’s new motorcycle insurance law.

Motorcycles have been a hot topic recently, and with the passage of House Bill 1014 and discussion is buzzing more than ever. But what exactly does the bill say? Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys is here with the scoop on how to stay safe and abide by the law.

What is House Bill 1014?

House Bill 1014 was recently signed into law by Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee. The bill concerns the financial responsibility of motorcyclists and the concept of mandatory insurance liability.

Previously, cars and trucks had to have insurance coverage while motorcycles were exempt. With the passage of this bill (which goes into effect on July 28, 2019), motorcycles must now be covered, as well.

All it took was the removal of a single phrase. The bill previously stated:

The provisions of this chapter shall not govern . . . (b) The operation of a motorcycle as defined in RCW 46.04.330, a motor-driven cycle as defined in RCW 46.04.332, a moped as defined in RCW 46.04.304, or a wheeled all-terrain vehicle as defined in RCW 46.09.310.

Well, the new bill looks like this:

The provisions of this chapter shall not govern . . . (b) The operation of a motorcycle as defined in RCW 46.04.330, a motor-driven cycle as defined in RCW 46.04.332, a moped as defined in RCW 46.04.304, or a wheeled all-terrain vehicle as defined in RCW 46.09.310.

Therefore, motorcycle drivers must, beginning July 28, 2019, adhere to the mandatory insurance liability laws in the state of Washington.

Keep in mind, the provisions of this new motorcycle insurance law still do not address other vehicles, such as mopeds and some all-terrain vehicles. Such vehicles are still exempt from mandatory insurance liability according to the new law.

What Are the Consequences?

Operating a vehicle in violation of the new law can have serious consequences. Here are just some of the things you should be aware of.

Operating a Motorcycle Without Insurance

While the new bill doesn’t go into effect until late July, it’s still always a good idea to have motorcycle insurance. Remember, you are responsible for any damages and injuries you cause. If you get in an accident and do not have liability insurance, you’ll end up paying for everything out-of-pocket.

Riding in other states without insurance can have consequences, too. If you find yourself road-tripping to Canada, Oregon, or Idaho, you’ll need vehicle insurance in all those places. In fact, it’s illegal for an uninsured driver to ride a vehicle in a state/another area that requires such coverage.

Penalties for driving without insurance include hefty tickets ($450–$1,000 in Washington), community service, license suspension, and other serious consequences. For instance, you could potentially face consequences if you fail to present insurance information at the request of a law enforcement officer – even if you have insurance. If you present written evidence that you were in compliance with the law at the time of citation, though, your citation will most likely be dismissed.

Operating a Motorcycle With Insurance

Even if you do have insurance, it is often not enough if you get sued. Many people in compliance with motorcycle insurance law go with the bare minimum and don’t bolster their policies. This is a mistake.

The minimum insurance policy can often pay for some of the costs, but when it comes to mounting legal fees, property damage, medical care, and other bills, you’re on your own. Because of this, you should have as much insurance above the legal minimum as you can afford.

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one got in a motorcycle accident, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys immediately. Our experienced lawyers know how to fight for the compensation you deserve. General office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but you can always call us 24/7 at 844-977-1900. Additionally, you can contact us through an online form or through our helpful LiveChat feature. Furthermore, consultations are free, and we don’t collect a cent until we win your case. So don’t wait; contact us today!

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.