House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning snow bikes.
Sponsors: Representatives McCabe, Wylie, Orcutt, Irwin, Chapman, Goodman and Griffey.
Hearing Date: 2/5/18
Staff: Mark Matteson (786-7145).
Motorcycles and Snowmobiles.
Motorcycles are designed for either on-road or off-road use. Motorcycles designed for on-road use must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and federal emissions requirements. The motorcycle must carry a label from the manufacturer that indicates that the vehicle conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture shown on the label. Motorcycles designed for off-road use may be accompanied by a manufacturer's certificate of origin that indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for use on public highways. Off-road motorcycles are regulated under state law as a type of off-road vehicle, a category that includes all-terrain vehicles, other four-wheel drive vehicles, dune buggies, off-road motorcycles, and other motorized vehicles not designed for highway use.
A snowmobile is a type of off-road vehicle that is capable of traveling over snow or ice that utilizes as a means of propulsion an endless belt tread or cleats and is steered by skis or sled-type runners. Snowmobiles are regulated under state law separately from other off-road vehicles.
Dual Use of Motorcycles.
Under state law, operators of motorcycles designed for on-road use may use the vehicle on nonhighway roads, trails, or other natural terrain for recreational purposes. On the other hand, motorcycles designed for off-road use may use highways and other public roads, but only under certain conditions. To be eligible for on-road use, the vehicle must have a headlight, a tail light, a stop light, reflectors, brakes, left and right handlebar mirrors, a windshield (unless the driver wears face protection), a warning device, turn signals, street-legal tires, and fenders. In addition, before operating the vehicle on public roads, the operator of the vehicle must:
obtain a valid driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement from the Department of Licensing (DOL);
have a current off-road vehicle registration or temporary use permit;
file a motorcycle use declaration with the DOL certifying conformance with all federal and state motor vehicle safety standards;
submit a safety inspection document completed by a licensed motorcycle dealer or repair shop certifying that the off-road motorcycle has the required equipment; and
submit a release signed by the owner of the off-road motorcycle and verified by the DOL, county auditor, other agent, or subagent that releases the State of Washington from liability and outlines that the owner understands the original off-road motorcycle was not manufactured for on-road use and that it has been modified for use on public roads.
Motorcycles designed for off-road use may be registered in Washington both for off-road use as an off-road motorcycle and for off-road use as a snowmobile, if the vehicle has been specifically modified to allow for snowmobile use. The DOL requires the registered owner to complete a declaration stating that the vehicle is equipped with skis or sled-type runners and used wholly or in part for steering when being used as a snowmobile.
A motorcycle designed for off-road use that meets the requirements for on-road use may not also be simultaneously registered as a snowmobile. A motorcycle designed for off-road use that meets the requirements for a snowmobile may not also be simultaneously registered for on-road use.
A snow bike is a motorcycle to which a conversion kit has been applied that allows the vehicle to be used on snow or ice as a snowmobile.
Summary of Bill:
The DOL must allow a person registering a motorcycle designed for on-road purposes to register the vehicle both for on-road use and for use as a snow bike, provided certain requirements are met. A "snow bike" is defined as a motorcycle designed for either on-road or off-road use that has been modified with a conversion kit to include an endless belt or cleats or similar means for the purposes of propulsion and a ski or sled-type runner for the purposes of steering. "Snow bike" is included within the definition of snowmobile.
To register a motorcycle designed for on-road purposes both for on-road use and for use as a snow bike, the owner must meet all registration requirements for both and pay all applicable fees. The owner must submit a declaration established by the DOL that includes a statement signed by the owner that, for any motorcycle that had been previously converted to a snow bike, the vehicle must conform with all federal and state motor vehicle safety standards while in use as a motorcycle upon public roads, streets, or highways.
A person who has a valid driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement may operate upon the public roads of the state a motorcycle designed for on-road purposes and which had been previously converted to a snow bike, if the person files a declaration with the DOL certifying the vehicle is in conformance with all federal and state motor vehicle safety standards while in use as a motorcycle upon public roads, streets, or highways.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect on July 1, 2018.