When it’s warm outside in Michigan, it’s common to see a variety of two- and three-wheeled motorized vehicles as we travel across our roadways.
And, while mopeds, motorcycles, ORVs and scooters share many features, they also have significant differences. What’s more, there is a different set of laws for each type of vehicle.
In this post, we’re going to cover the popular form of transportation we all know as mopeds. They’re convenient, not as intimidating as motorcycles, fuel efficient, and they’re a blast to ride whether you’re on vacation or commuting to work.Do You Have a Case?
Here’s a guide to important Michigan moped laws and how they differ from those governing other kinds of vehicles.
According to Michigan law (MCL 257.32b), a “moped” is a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with the following characteristics:
A vehicle that does not have these features will probably be classified as a scooter or a motorcycle, which are subject to different laws and regulations.
Sometimes it is easiest to understand Michigan moped laws based on how they differ from other similar functioning vehicles.
A scooter may be a moped or a motorcycle under the law depending on its size and potential speed. Scooters capable of speeds greater than 30mph are generally classified as motorcycles.
According to State Farm:
A common understanding that frequently distinguishes a moped from a scooter is that while a “scooter has the same step-through frame as a moped, they can have a more powerful motor, up to 250cc.” This means that the insurance, licensing, registration, and other laws for powerful scooters technically make your vehicle a motorcycle and you’ll need to abide by those guidelines.
You’ll also need to consult your local regulations when it comes to whether or not your scooter can operate on high speed roadways such as highways and expressways.
Your moped differs from an ORV for what are hopefully some obvious reasons. It’s going to be tough to have a good experience driving a moped on rough terrains.
An ORV (off-road vehicle) is any vehicle that can be driven over natural terrain without a designated road or trail. ORVs include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs, four wheelers, gators) such as water-to-land vehicles and utility task vehicles. ORVs, which can have three or four wheels, must be registered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Motorcycles differ from Mopeds and small engine scooters in their speed, size of engine, and gear shift abilities. This substantial size and power require them to have liability insurance with minimum coverage amounts of $50,000/$100,000. Insurance is not required for mopeds, ORVs and scooters.
In Michigan, you do not need insurance for a moped. However, if you modify a moped so its speed can exceed 30mph, it is considered a motorcycle.
A lot of people seem interested in helmet laws, today. The following should help you protect your head and stay in legal compliance for whichever vehicle you’re driving.
Motorcyclists and passengers 21 or older may ride without a helmet in Michigan. However, they are required to have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits. In addition, motorcycle operators must have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.
Motorcycle operators and passengers under 21 years old must wear an approved helmet.
For more information, see our detailed post about motorcycle helmet laws.
Those 18 years old and younger must wear an approved helmet while riding a moped on a public road.
With a few limited exceptions, all ORV operators and passengers must wear an approved helmet and protective eyewear.
Scooter riders must comply with the helmet laws for its vehicle classification. For example, a scooter that is able to travel at 30mph or faster is usually classified as a motorcycle. Therefore, the rider would have to follow Michigan motorcycle helmet law. If the scooter is classified as a moped (speed capacity does not exceed 30mph), the rider is subject to the moped helmet law.
According to the Michigan Vehicle Code, a moped must be equipped with the following:
Below are some common questions about registering and legally operating a moped on Michigan roads. For more information, please consult the state of Michigan website and resources to make sure you have the most up to date information.
Yes. Unless you plan to operate a moped only on private property, it must be registered with the Secretary of State. Upon registration, you will be issued a three-year decal that must be displayed on the back of the moped.
No. Liability insurance is not required for mopeds. Nevertheless, you may want to make sure your moped is insured under your homeowners or renters policy in case it is stolen or damaged.
However, a moped that has been modified to travel at speeds faster than 30mph is considered a motorcycle under Michigan law. And, as such, the owner is required to purchase mandatory liability insurance. Under the new No-Fault law that took effect July 1, 2020, the insurance minimums increased from $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
You can operate a moped if you have a valid driver’s or chauffeur’s license. If not, and you are at least 15 years old, you can apply for a moped license. Applicants must pass a vision test as well as general knowledge and traffic sign tests. If you obtain a Michigan driver’s or chauffeur’s license, you will have to forfeit your moped license.
You have to be at least 15 years of age to operate a moped according to Michigan moped laws. Those who do not have a valid driver’s or chauffeur’s license are eligible to apply for a moped license. In addition, if you are under 18, your application must be signed by a parent or guardian.
No, Michigan law does not require titles for mopeds.
Our entire legal team is well-versed in the complexities of Michigan moped laws and motorcycle accident law. We know what it takes to win your case, and we are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Accident law is complicated, but finding the right moped, bicycle, or motorcycle injury attorney 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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