September 1, 2010
OLYMPIA — About 800 Washington dirt bike owners received letters from the Department of Licensing this week informing them that their motorcycle isn’t legal for use on public roadways, based on federal and state safety standards that all roadworthy vehicles must meet.
Stemming from concern by law enforcement agencies across the state, DOL is canceling the license plates for these dirt bikes and issuing the owners of currently registered bikes off road vehicle permits at no cost.
“Ultimately, this comes down to public safety,” said Alan Haight, DOL’s deputy director. “We’ve heard from law enforcement that this is a problem and these dirt bikes clearly don’t meet state or federal standards for being on our public roads.”
Although these bikes are marked for ‘off road use only’ in the owner’s manuals and on the frames of the bikes, a loophole in documentation from the manufacturer led some owners to register the bikes as street legal.
To be licensed for use on public roads, motorcycles and other types of vehicles have to be certified by the manufacturer as meeting all federal safety and environmental standards. A motorcycle that has not received this certification by the manufacturer cannot be upgraded with safety equipment by the owner for street use.
A detailed set of questions and answers about this issue is available on DOL’s blog at http://licensingexpress.wordpress.com/off-road-motorcycle-qa/.