Washington State Three Wheel Endorsement Testing

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by Gasket, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Gasket

    Gasket Wandering Samurai

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    418
    Location:
    Port Orchard, WA
    After getting my DL650 hacked by DMC I decided to get my endorsement. I found out that there are two ways, to take the 3 wheel course or take the written and riding test without the taking the class. The state no longer administers the tests.

    Getting the required information on the material was a bit difficult, since the Department of Licensing web site is not the best. For the written test, the guys at Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Safety, the ones who do the training and testing in our are, Seattle, King and Kitsap Counties were very helpful.

    They recommended I download and study the three wheeled riding book from the DOL web site. I did so and got a 96 on the written test. Knowing what would be on the riding test was more of a challenge since there is surprisingly nothing on the DOL site that outlines on we will be tested. In my opinion the DOL should state exactly what the criteria should. I finally sent a note to the school and got an informative response. My concern was that I'd have to fly the car and several riding friends told me I would, since it is done in the course. Drone gave me some good advice to include suggesting I do this post.

    The riders test is four part.

    1. This is a series of 90 degree turns around cones, a left turn followed by a right and then a 45 degree turn. This is a timed test. The rider can fly the car if desired in the turns but I chose not to, keeping about 40 pounds of ballast in the trunk of my car.
    2. The second part follows right out of completion of the timed 90 deg turns and is not timed. It is a sweeping left turn coming out of the cones. Coming to a stop in a green box. Stopping in the box is to test if you know where your front wheel is. It is immediately followed by a reverse of the same course, a sweeping right turn.
    3. Swerve. The rider starts from a point about 30-40 yards from two cones with a series of cone block just beyond the swerve point. This is timed. The rider must approach the two cones at about 18-20 mph (as I recall) and when reaching the line between the conses, immediately swerve right and then left, maintaining control of the rig. If you anticipate the swerve, points are taken off. I lost a couple of points on this because I might have anticipated the arrival/start of swerve point.
    4. Braking. From a bit longer distance the rider approaches two cones, like #3, about 15 feet apart. When you reach the line between the cone you are to brake hard and straight, coming to a complete stop. I lost seven points on this one, not realizing that there was a measured distance. I came to a complete stop about 14 feet beyond the line and apparently I should have been able to do it in 11. I had no control over this at all since I hit the binders hard, front and rear/sidecar brakes.
    That's just the way my rig brakes. It's just like autos with some can do shorter stopping distances than others. DL650 brakes to me are marginal at best. I didn't realize there was a mandated stopping distance and they don't tell the rider. They are not allowed to apparently which is why I think DOL should have to include something on their web site such as course, required skill demonstrating and testing criteria etc.

    One last, the guys at PNW Safety are really a great bunch and we chatted quite a bit after the test. I barely passed but could have done better had I known some of the criteria such as the time required for the first event. I went through at what I thought was a good clip, and could have gone through faster had I wanted to. Oh well. At least I have my endorsement.

    Cost for the written test was $35 and the riding $50. The 90 three wheel riding permit was $15 as I recall. My bill for the endorsement at the DOL was $37 which included the fee for early license renewal of my license.
    #1
    JeepDawg and Kruzof like this.
  2. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,682
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    I'm sorry but I think the 3 wheel endorsement is a load of crap! Who's stupid idea was this endorsement and why (perhaps pushed through by the companies who give the tests)? Are the same tests applied to the trikes as a sidecar? I'm sure that works well because we all know they handle exactly the same. Why is a private company giving the test? Holy crap, if the state can't even administer the test should there even be one? I'm really glad California hasn't drank that particular kool-aid.

    Sorry you guys up in the great Northwet have to do this.
    #2
    Tracks, Sidewise, brstar and 2 others like this.
  3. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam or Olympia, WA when stationary
    Congratulations and welcome to the "club"!

    It's interesting that you chose to do it without taking the class, though it sounds like you did great. I took the class last April with Evergreen (conducted at South Seattle Community College). It included two days of training with classroom in the AM and riding in the PM.

    If they told you they are not allowed to tell you stopping distance (or anything else), they are either lying or uninformed. Both are bad. The examiner, by law, has to explain each part of the test course by reading from his/her manual and then check to ensure you understand. He/she should have told you that the stopping distance is measured and that you should stop as fast as you possibly can. The stopping distance is NOT fixed, it is dependent on your entry speed which they know by using a stop watch. This also should have been explained to you. Bad examiner!

    Flying the car is NOT required by the state. What is required of those learning/testing on a sidecar is that you ATTEMPT to fly the car. This is part of the instruction and NOT part of the test. Of the 3 in my class who were riding sidecars, I was the only one who actually flew it. The other two got a wheel off the ground for <2 seconds and gave up because they were scared. One of them passed the riding test and one did not--passing or failing had nothing to do with the test.

    For anyone reading this and weighing the costs, I paid $125 for two days of instruction, use of my choice of a sidecar, trike, or CanAm Spyder, and a very well-explained exam. I did not know for sure which type of rig I wanted, so I got to try all three before choosing the sidecar. Gasket paid $100 for the test, including the riding permit--only required if you take the class on your own bike.

    Again, congrats!
    #3
    HeidiHo and Kruzof like this.
  4. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,877
    Location:
    north of seattle
    my brother

    seems like it's a way to soak us out of our monies

    anybody been dinged by a revenue generator for not having this bit of 'flair' on your DL?
    #4
    Strong Bad likes this.
  5. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam or Olympia, WA when stationary
    I'm sorry every state doesn't require it. When is learning something that might save your life -- or someone else's -- ever a bad thing?

    Yes, the trikes and the sidecar (and the CanAm) take the same test and no, of course they don't handle the same. That's ridiculous, as you know. Are you suggesting a separate license for each configuration? Of course not!

    You pick one configuration the first part of the first afternoon and stick with it through the class. The test is to ensure that you know the basics of handling the vehicle and are, at a minimum, a lesser danger to those around you and yourself. I took the course and the test and am very glad I did so. Before the class I'd never been on a 3-wheeler and after the class I knew a hell of a lot more than I could have figured out on my own in 2 days or 2 weeks. Now that I took the course, if I switch to a trike or CanAm (not gonna happen), I know more about operating them than I would without a class.

    Watching the other 9 people -- only one of whom had his own rig and only two of us have a 2-wheel endorsement -- take the class, I was very happy that they did because they were a danger to themselves and others at the beginning. Six passed and four failed either the written or the practical and 2 of those already had their own ride at home! Would you want those 4 out riding next to you before they passed a test on the BASICS of operating their vehicle? I sure wouldn't.

    Strong Bad -- assuming you have one, is your 2-wheel endorsement ridiculous also? What about your cage license? If not, why not? Or do you think all motor vehicle license testing is unneeded?

    It's popular these days to hate rules and regulations -- even the good ones. I happen to like the ones that might save my life or at least prevent the docs from having to screw ANOTHER piece of titanium into my skeleton.
    #5
    HeidiHo and Ridn3 like this.
  6. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    Strong--in Washington, you must have the 3-wheel endorsement for any 3-wheeled motorcycle, so that would include all trikes and reverse trikes, which means you'd need one to legally drive one of these --

    [​IMG]


    or these --

    [​IMG]


    or these --

    [​IMG]


    And ladies! -- Don't forget to wear your helmet while you're driving to Starbucks in your new electric Alias--

    [​IMG]

    Helmets are required for ALL of these trikes!
    #6
    HeidiHo and Strong Bad like this.
  7. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    In any event, kudos to Gasket for passing. It's a pass/fail test, so doesn't really matter what your score was! :knary
    #7
    Kruzof and RetiredandRiding like this.
  8. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad World's Foremost Authority

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,682
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    So what if you have multiple different types of 3 wheeled vehicles? You supposed to get "training" and new endorsement? What is ridiculous, is to use one type of vehicle to get through the class and then be able to operate others without vehicle specific training. I get my sidecar "training" & endorsement and then can legally go out and buy a Can Am (or any other of the vehicles Drone showed) right? WTF? How in the hell does anyone justify that?

    Just like flyingeyball says the driver's license & testing is a tax, period. If you really want safer drivers/riders you would be would be better off giving an intelligence test. Just look at all of the stupid shit people who pass such "proficiency" tests do every day on the highways.

    I've never taken any motorcycle safety classes, never took a auto safety class, never took any classes on how to safely pull a trailer. Yes, my motorcycle endorsement is a joke, as was the driver's test I took almost 50 years ago! Are you saying that I'm more dangerous on the roads than the rest of the idiots on the road because I haven't? Bull shit and a big FUCK YOU for thinking that the rest of the USA needs stupid ass laws like this. Nothing will piss me off more than someone else telling me we need more rules and regulations. If you really want to know how I feel, stop by and I'll pour you a wee dram of single malt and we can discuss.
    #8
  9. brstar

    brstar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    975
    Location:
    Shoalwater Western Australia
    Flying my chair is a scary proposition seeing as its a leaner.
    Even when I had a fixed chair I understood that is not my natural talent at all.
    A bit like doing mono's, get that wheel down and quick.
    I passed my sidecar braking test on the freeway when everybody stopped without me realizing for a few seconds.
    Probably not the best place to do it.
    Did a police safety course some years back that answered a few questions I did not know after years of riding.
    Shame they stopped that course as they had speed readout radars and a group of very helpful experienced coppers
    that put us though our paces and taught some extremely useful survival skills.
    #9
  10. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    Strong, you realize you're complaining about the GOVERNMENT? God love us, but THE GOVERNMENT? Seems like this ridiculous bit of idiocy doesn't hardly even warrant a mention in the big picture.

    Here's a little something from your home state if you are looking for things to get upset about --


    [​IMG]


    Lord knows there's plenty of government waste and idiocy to go around! Been that way since the dawn of time.
    #10
    HeidiHo, Bobmws and RetiredandRiding like this.
  11. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,877
    Location:
    north of seattle
    [​IMG]
    #11
    JustKip and Bobmws like this.
  12. Prmurat

    Prmurat Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,877
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    If the 3 wheelers endorsement is as dumb as any normal driving license in the US then it is really bullshit! Maybe a look, again, at the rest of the world driving/riding licenses and the difficulty to get the said license(s) could give an idea of what it should be?? Getting on your own mc and go through some cones after a day or 2 riding on a parking lot (always on 2nd gear) is a bad joke as licensing goes! Going around the block in a car does not make anyone a good driver either!!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #12
  13. Eatmore Mudd

    Eatmore Mudd Mischief on wheels.

    Joined:
    May 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    738
    Location:
    Wet side of WA.

    WA. DOL did it long before they outsourced testing.
    It was and is an extra endorsement test to take ( money grab) in addition to the M endorsement.

    Step one, get a drivers license. Step two go through the same process again to add Motorcycle endorsement to said license. Step three go through the same process you just did twice already to add three wheel endorsement.
    #13
    HeidiHo likes this.
  14. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    What's really fun is bringing your 3-wheel test certificate down to your local DMV and the clerk behind the counter has no idea what it is or what they are supposed to do with it! Helps to know (so you can tell them) that your "3" (2-wheel endorsement) needs to be changed to an "8" (2 and 3 both). Or, if you have no 2-wheel endorsement (which is a 3) then you need a "5".

    I'm not making this up! :lol2
    #14
    BigFatAl likes this.
  15. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam or Olympia, WA when stationary
    It's different -- and worse -- now. My license obtained in April:
    Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 9.43.32 AM.png

    The way I read it, I have the motorcycle endorsement, but am restricted from riding on 2 or 3 wheels. The DOL guy agreed and gave me a letter explaining that I really DO have a license for both 2- and 3-wheeled vehicles. I needed it because when I had my license translated to get a reciprocal license in Vietnam, the people here translated it to say I was NOT allowed on them. The (translated) letter convinced them otherwise. WA state just changed this earlier this year to supposedly conform with a new 50-state standard.

    To me, this new way only makes sense if you add the word "Only" under RESTRICTIONS. But no one asked me, did they?
    #15
  16. RetiredandRiding

    RetiredandRiding Retired to Ride

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    925
    Location:
    Da Lat, Vietnam or Olympia, WA when stationary
    I missed the post in which someone claimed that having a license makes you a good driver.

    Passing the test tells them that you have a basic proficiency, nothing more. The hope is that you get better before you kill yourself or someone else. Unfortunately, many people never do get better--we see them on the road every day.
    #16
    JustKip likes this.
  17. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,303
    Location:
    Chambers Bay, WA
    All this said, I'd still like to thank Gasket for his public service of recording, on the SEARCHABLE internet, exactly what the 3-wheel road test consists of. :clap
    #17
    HeidiHo, Kruzof, Bobmws and 1 other person like this.
  18. rg sw wa.

    rg sw wa. Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,091
    Location:
    Southwest Washington
    Excuise me but I didn't read every post. Just wanted to comment on testing and the government. The DMV no longer provides/offers a driving test, that's done by a 3ed party.
    #18
  19. alienbogey

    alienbogey Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Oddometer:
    236
    Location:
    Washington, USA
    Got some outstanding senseless ranting on this thread......

    After decades of being licensed to ride a motorcycle I, too, was skeptical of WA's requirement for a separate class and test for a three wheel endorsement. After taking the class and riding sidecars, trikes, and reverse trikes (Spyders), I'm glad I took the class and think it's a very good idea.

    Lots of orange cones were knocked over by lots of people as they learned to operate their rigs. Each one of those orange cones could have been a parked car, a pedestrian, oncoming traffic, etc, etc if they had learned those lessons out in the real world. Instead, the orange cones were picked up, replaced, and the class carried on.

    One of our classroom instructors told us the story of taking his buddy to pick up a sidecar rig the buddy had just purchased. No 3 wheel training required in that state. Following the buddy he watched him overcook a right hand turn in the rig with an empty hack. The buddy had the choice of hold the turn and overturn the rig, or straighten out and take whatever came off road left. He chose off road left, crossed the oncoming lane unscathed, then flew off a drop and died.

    Yep, 3 wheel training before taking a rig out in any and all traffic is just a tax, just a scam. No one needs to practice controlling the inertia of the sidecar or braking a trike in a turn before just going out into traffic and winging it.

    GMAFB.
    #19
  20. DavePave

    DavePave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    421
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Flatistan
    What some of you are really talking about here is "Education" and "Intelligence." Two different concepts - not necessarily connected. I've met many "educated idiots" in my life. What ever piece of paper (licenses, diplomas, etc) they had - can't obscure their stupidity for very long. To me, it's kind of like the Shroedinger's cat paradox. An idiot can stand in a place displaying his diploma and he appears intelligent. Once he opens his mouth, the truth is eventually revealed to an observant person, and we finally know the cat is actually dead. It's a pleasant surprise when the cat is well in this case, but much more rare. ...Common sense ain't so common.

    Mandated training is not the panacea it's cracked up to be, but in some cases it works.

    In my careers I've sent a lot of people to all kinds of training. I break them up into thirds, probably unfair and crass of me, but I find it to be true nonetheless. One third will attend, pay attention and learn all they can - they're personally motivated. One third will attend because they have to in order to get what they want (keep their job, a new license, become a rich doctor, etc.), so they do the minimum, just enough to pass, then generally forget what they learned. The lower third won't learn anything, don't want to - can't make 'em. There are drivers, barbers, lawyers and yes, even nurses and doctors in these categories.

    Just because the government issues a decree that "Henceforth, all shall have an endorsement or license to do x, y, or z" does not mean the licensee is intelligent, nor attentive and consistent in performing his/her best. It only means they paid attention sufficient to pass a test on the day they took it - or they cheated.

    I do not believe 3 wheeled training is a scam - perhaps it at least keeps some ignoramouses off the road. I believe it is at least applicable to people in the middle category - those that do the minimum to pass a test. At least they learned something. Those in the "want to learn" group would have found a way to learn it anyway. Those that don't want to - won't - regardless of any rule put in to place, so hopefully the test keeps them off the road. But with today's standards where every participant gets a trophy - doubtful.

    Back on the main thread topic, I'm appreciative of Florida's policy. The two wheel "motorcycle endorsement" covers all two and three wheeled vehicles. However, a three wheeled endorsement in Florida will not let you operate a two wheeler. Already had my endorsement but, I took an S/TEP class at a local community college, because I wanted to learn all I could. Got to ride a CanAm and many, many sidecars. All for less than the price I would have paid to rent any one of them. It was educational and lots of fun.

    My two cents..... Have fun and keep your head on a swivel out there - them thar, edumacated idiots is everywhere and in all walks of life ......
    #20
    FR700 and RetiredandRiding like this.