June 10, 2019

Important Motorcycle Laws in Michigan

If you ride a motorcycle in Michigan, you probably already understand the greater risks associated with your preferred method of transportation. However, there are certain laws in Michigan relating to motorcycle riders that are important to know if you ever find yourself needing an auto accident attorney. Here’s a run-down of some of the essential parts of these laws to be familiar with.

What is a motorcycle?

This may seem like a ridiculous question to ask, but this is an important part of Michigan’s laws surrounding motorcycles and motorcyclist safety.

The state of Michigan defines a motorcycle as a two or three-wheeled vehicle with a saddle or seat that is capable of going over 30 miles per hour, including mopeds and “trikes.” Some motorcycle-like vehicles such as mini choppers are excluded from this description as they are missing some equipment necessary for safety and therefore not allowed by law on public roads.

Registering your motorcycle

If you want your motorcycle to be street-legal, you need to register it with the Michigan Secretary of State and renew that registration each year. The first time you register your bike, it is necessary to also present your title and your proof of at minimum $20,000/$40,000 public liability insurance. You will also have to present $10,000 property damage coverage.

However, motorcyclists in Michigan are not required by law to maintain no-fault insurance.

Licensing and endorsement laws

Believe it or not, half of the bikers on Michigan’s roads are riding without a proper legal license. To be legally licensed to ride in Michigan, you must get a CY motorcycle endorsement as well as your regular driver’s license. Getting caught without a CY endorsement could cost you points on your license and money out of your pocket through fines.

If you are under the age of 18 and seeking a CY motorcyclist endorsement, you must take a motorcycle safety course. This is not required for riders who are over the age of 18. Similar to a learner’s permit, there is also a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP) for motorcyclists who want to learn to ride on the roads. The TIP allows for you legally to ride during daylight hours, without a passenger, and under the visual supervision of an adult who is a licensed motorcycle operator.

Helmet laws

Helmets are medically proven to keep cyclists of all kinds safer in the event of an accident. It is recommended that you wear a helmet at all times when on a bike or motorcycle.

However, if you are over 21 years old, have $20,000 in first-party PIP motorcycle insurance, have held a legal motorcycle endorsement for over two years, and have passed a motorcycle safety course, you are not required to wear one.

Drinking and driving on a motorcycle

Much like drinking and operating a motor vehicle is illegal, so is drinking and operating a motorcycle. In Michigan, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle if any of the following are true:

  • You are visibly intoxicated or otherwise impaired due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol. This includes prescription medication.
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08. This is the same threshold for many states’ laws concerning drunk driving as well.
  • You have any amount of any Schedule 1 drug (or cocaine) in your system. This extends to cannabis, and also extends to many prescription pain medications.

If you ride your motorcycle drunk, you risk the possibility of loss of your license, imprisonment, or having your motorcycle impounded by the authorities.

Where you can ride

Motorcyclists in Michigan are entitled to the full width of their lane. However, many bikers choose to ride two across, which is also permitted under the law.

If your motorcycle has an engine with less than 125 cc, it is not allowed on limited access highways or Michigan freeways.

If you believe you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident, have any questions or need legal assistance, please call Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free evaluation of your case.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she’s not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn’s writing center.

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