If you are reading this, chances are you already know the many benefits of riding a motorcycle in Michigan. Perhaps you’re about to start your journey as a new motorcycle enthusiast or you might be an experienced rider looking for a refresher on current riding requirements. To help you navigate these laws, we’ve compiled a quick handbook that is designed to overview the essential Michigan motorcycle laws you should know.
Combine this with the complete Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual (SOS-116) from the state of Michigan website to cover all your bases when it comes to riding safely and legally.Do You Have a Case?
The Michigan Vehicle Code defines a motorcycle as “a motor vehicle that has a saddle or seat for the use of the rider and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.”
Despite the wording of this definition, a motorcycle is not considered a motor vehicle under Michigan No-Fault law. This means standard motorcycle insurance policies do not include the same Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits provided under No-Fault automobile policies. A motorcyclist who is injured in an accident with another vehicle may seek reimbursement from the No-Fault policy covering the other driver.
Yes. Motorcycle owners must register their bikes with the Michigan Secretary of State. Upon providing proof of insurance, the motorcyclist will receive a license plate that must be securely attached to the bike in a clearly visible position.
Yes. Motorcyclists must have a motorcycle (CY) endorsement from the Secretary of State on their driver’s or chauffeur’s license.
To obtain the endorsement, the motorcyclist must pass a vision test and present a certificate of completion from an approved motorcycle rider education course.
Additionally, a motorcyclist may obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit from the Secretary of State after passing a vision and knowledge test. This permit, which is valid for 180 days, allows the motorcyclist to ride under the supervision of an endorsed biker.
The motorcycle endorsement will be issued after the applicant passes a rider skills test administered by an approved third-party provider.
Yes. Motorcycle owners are required to carry liability coverage. As part of the new No-Fault reforms in the state of Michigan that took effect July 1, 2020, the mandatory minimum limits for motorcyclists’ liability coverage increased from $20,000/$40,000 to $50,000/$100,000.
In addition, motorcyclists over 21 who wish to ride without a helmet must purchase a minimum of $20,000 first-party medical benefits.
If you are 21 or older, you are not legally required to wear a helmet in Michigan providing you meet certain conditions:
Motorcycle operators and passengers under 21 years old must wear a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.
Nevertheless, numerous studies show that wearing a helmet helps prevent serious head injuries and brain damage in the event of a crash. Therefore, motorcyclists and passengers should wear helmets whenever they ride, even on short trips.
Check out our previous post for more information about Michigan motorcycle helmet laws.
*Note: Motorcycles without windshields
Bikers who are riding faster than 35 mph on a motorcycle that does not have a windshield must wear transparent goggles, eyeglasses or a shatter-resistant face shield.
Yes. Motorcyclists are not allowed on roads if they are too loud. According to Michigan motorcycle requirements, bikes must not exceed the following noise levels:
*DBA stands for “decibels on the a-weighted network” of a sound level meter, according to the American National Standards Institute.
Let’s make sure you’ve got all the essential equipment to safely operate your motorcycle.
Motorcycles must be equipped with an outside rearview mirror on the driver’s side that allows a rear-viewing angle. In addition, a rearview mirror may be attached to the biker’s helmet or visor.
Head lamps: at least one and not more than two
Rear stop lights: one
Spot lamps: at least one (may be white or amber)
Fog lamps: no more than two
Color of clearance/marker lamps and reflectors:
Motorcycles operating on highways must have a working horn capable of emitting a sound audible from a minimum of 200 feet.
Motorcycles must have at least two brakes that can be operated by hand or foot; one on the front wheel and one on the rear wheel.
Motorcycles must be equipped with seats and securely attached footrests or pegs for each designated seating position.
Handlebars cannot be higher than 30 inches from the lowest point of the un-depressed saddle to the highest point of the handle grip of the operator.
A motorcycle may be equipped with a working muffler that prevents excessive noise and smoke. The owner may not remove any of the baffles or use a device such as a muffler bypass.
Tires must be in good condition with no excessive wear or tread levels below 1/32 inch.
No. According to Michigan motorcycle laws, only one person may ride in a seat unless it is designed for multiple riders.
Motorcyclists cannot carry packages or items that prevent them from keeping both hands on the handlebars of the bike.
It is illegal to operate any vehicle, including a motorcycle, while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs and certain prescription medications. In Michigan, a driver with a Bodily Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is considered impaired. Since alcohol significantly increases the risk of crashing, motorcyclists (and automobile drivers) should never mix drinking and driving.
In general, motorcyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as those who drive automobiles and trucks. This means they must comply with posted speed limits, obey traffic lights and signs and use appropriate turn signals.
A motorcyclist will be penalized based on which law was violated and what consequences resulted from the infraction.
In addition to being penalized or fined by the legal system, being in violation of Michigan motorcycle laws can also influence any potential motorcycle accident settlements you might be seeking. The severity of the law being broken determines the impact on your case. For example, a motorcyclist who caused an accident due to speeding will be penalized more severely than someone caught riding without a temporary permit.
We hope this guide serves you well in understanding Michigan motorcycle laws.
And if you or a loved one ever experience an injury from a motorcycle related accident, give our experienced team of motorcycle lawyers a call to get the settlement you deserve.
Many of our lawyers and staff members ride motorcycles. Therefore, we understand first-hand the joy and the challenges that bikers experience. And, we take these cases personally because we know how devastating a motorcycle accident can be.
That’s what we call the Bernstein Biker Advantage®
Motorcycle accident law is complicated, but finding the right motorcycle accident lawyer is simple.Do You Have a Case?
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, remote no-obligation consultation from the safety of your home.
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