UPDATE

Limited in-person driver licensing appointments available. Learn more.
Licensing offices to close for furlough days in July. See a list of dates.
Extensions granted for some expiring driver licenses and instruction permits.

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How to get your 3-wheel (3W) endorsement or permit

3W motorcycle instruction permits

To apply for a 3W motorcycle instruction permit, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have a valid WA state driver license.
  • Pass a knowledge test on 3W motorcycle operation.
  • If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must sign the consent form.

How to get your 3W motorcycle instruction permit

  • You can take a 3W motorcycle safety course that includes both the knowledge and skills tests.
  • You can take the knowledge test with an approved motorcycle safety training school.

If you need to renew your permit

Your permit will be valid for a 180-day period. You can renew your permit 1 time for an additional 180 days before your current permit expires. You are only allowed one initial permit and one permit renewal within a 5-year period.

To renew your permit, you must have either:

  • A valid unexpired permit.
  • Passed the 3W knowledge test less than 180 days ago.

You may not have more than 2 permits within a 5-year period.

Rules for riding with a permit

While riding with an instruction permit on a public roadway:

  • You may not carry passengers.
  • You may not ride during the hours of darkness.

3W motorcycle endorsement

To apply for a 3W motorcycle endorsement, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old. If you are under 18, you must pass a 3W motorcycle safety course, and your parent or guardian must sign the consent form.
  • Have a valid WA State driver license.
  • Pass the 3W knowledge and skills tests.

How to get your 3W endorsement

There are 2 ways to get a 3W endorsement:

  1. Successfully complete a 3W motorcycle safety course at an approved motorcycle safety training school:
    • The safety course will include the knowledge and riding skills tests.
    • After you pass the safety course, you must wait 3 business days for test results to be entered into the DOL system.
    • You must have your endorsement added to your driver license within a 180 day period (the day training is completed is day one).
  2. Pass the knowledge and riding skills tests at an approved motorcycle safety training school:
    • When you successfully pass both the knowledge and skills tests, you may apply for an endorsement.
    • You must wait 3 business days for test results to be entered into the DOL system by the school.
    • You must have your endorsement added to your driver license within a 180 day period (the day testing is completed is day one).

You must have a 3W endorsement to ride any of the following types of vehicles on public roads in Washington State:

  • A 3W trike (including a Can-Am or Piaggio MP3)
  • A motorcycle with a sidecar

By law, you can be ticketed, and/or your 3W motorcycle may be impounded if you operate it without the proper permit/endorsement.

Exceptions

You don’t need a 3W endorsement on your driver license to operate a 3-wheeled vehicle if it meets all of the following requirements:

  • The seat is in a partially or completely enclosed seating area.
  • The vehicle is equipped with safety belts.
  • The vehicle is steered with a steering wheel.

Fees

Knowledge and skills test fees are set by each training school. You will pay testing fees to the school. We (the Department of Licensing) charge the following application and licensing fees:

  • 3W instruction permit fee collected when we issue your instruction permit.
  • Original 3W endorsement fee, which includes the application and new driver license.
  • 3W endorsement renewal fee paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal fees.
  • Renewal fee for 3W endorsement with a 2-wheel (2W) endorsement paid in addition to the regular driver license renewal fees (includes both endorsements).

Frequently asked questions

Am I required to have insurance for my sidecar/trike?

Yes, all motor vehicles, including motorcycles, are required to carry insurance.

Can my 3-year-old ride in my sidecar?

No, a child must be at least 5 years old to be a passenger on any 2W or 3W motorcycle.

Can I put the license plates on my 3W motorcycle vertically?

No. License plates must be placed in a horizontal position and be visible at all times. Not meeting these requirements is one of the top 10 reasons riders are stopped by law enforcement.

I have an Ignition Interlock License (IIL). Can I get a sidecar/trike endorsement?

No, you can't add a sidecar/trike endorsement until the IIL requirement has been dropped from your license.

Are novelty helmets legal to wear?

No, a "novelty" helmet isn't legal. All helmets must be certified by the Department of Transportation (DOT). To make sure your helmet is DOT-certified, look for a DOT sticker on the outside of the helmet and a DOT sticker on the inside. A DOT-label will have the manufacturer's name or identification, model designation, size, month and year of manufacture, and instruction about construction and other safety-related information.

Related laws

Questions?

Email us: motorcycle@dol.wa.gov

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