Motorcycle accidents are capable of causing horrific injuries. The best way to prevent crashes in Michigan is by knowing the state’s motorcycle safety laws and following them. Before hitting the road in Detroit, every biker should familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities when riding.
Both motorcyclists and their passengers must obey state laws regarding insurance, safety gear, and responsible riding. Breaking the rules can create terrible financial and personal hardships if a crash occurs.
Compensation may be possible to recover medical expenses, wage losses, and other damages if you are hurt in a motorcycle wreck in the Motor City. However, obtaining that money is usually not as simple as filing an insurance claim and getting paid. A Detroit motorcycle accident lawyer can help you obtain what you need and deserve.
Choose Christensen Law. We understand bikers, and how the law and insurance companies handle motorcycle accidents, which is often unfairly biased against riders. With a reputation for excellence and a history of multi-million-dollar results for our clients, you’ll be in good hands. Call or contact us today for a free consultation with a trusted motorcycle accident lawyer.
Michigan Motorcycle Accident Laws
Michigan motorcycle laws exist to keep everyone safe and prevent deadly crashes. Here’s what you need to know:
All motorcyclists must have either a valid motorcycle temporary instruction permit (TIP) or a driver’s license with a CY motorcycle endorsement. A TIP allows the holder to operate a motorcycle during daylight hours only, under the supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator over 18, and without any passengers.
Michiganders must take and pass a written knowledge test, road signs test, and riding skills test to obtain a full motorcycle endorsement. However, an applicant may waive the testing requirement if they pass an approved motorcycle safety course.
Motorcycle operators must purchase liability insurance, which provides coverage if they cause an accident that results in someone else’s property damage, personal injury, or death. If a rider chooses to ride without a helmet, they must also have first-party medical benefits coverage.
State law requires riders under 21 to wear a helmet that meets U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Others may choose not to wear a helmet, but only if they’re insured by a motorcycle policy that provides at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits coverage. They must also have held a motorcycle license or endorsement for two years or completed an applicable motorcycle safety course.
To be legal on Michigan roads, motorcycles must have:
- Front and rear wheel brakes
- At least one but not more than two headlights and taillights
- The manufacturer-installed muffler
- A horn
- A rearview mirror
- A permanently attached seat and separate footrests for each rider
- Handlebars that rise no more than 15 inches above the lowest point of the operator’s seat
Riders of motorcycles that can travel at least 35 miles per hour must wear shatterproof eye protection, such as goggles, a face shield, or a windshield.
Motorcycles have the right to the full width of a traffic lane. No other vehicle may occupy a traffic lane beside a motorcycle, except when two motorcycles ride side-by-side in the same lane. The law prohibits lane splitting, or riding on the traffic lines or in between lanes of vehicles.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
Some accidents are unavoidable. But you can do your part to reduce the chances of a motorcycle crash by:
- Always wearing proper safety gear. This includes a helmet (even if you don’t have to), eye protection, gloves, sturdy footwear, long pants, and a shirt or jacket made of durable material. Wearing brightly colored clothing and adding reflective tape to your jacket and helmet can increase your visibility to other drivers.
- Ensuring that your bike meets the state’s equipment requirements and that all parts are in working order. This includes lights, turn signals, the horn, clutch, transmission, and brakes.
- Performing all required maintenance. Check your tires, mirrors, and fluid levels regularly.
- Taking a motorcycle safety course. There are courses for riders of all skill levels.
- Riding defensively. This means scanning the road ahead, never assuming that another driver has seen you or will yield the right of way, and ensuring that you always have a backup plan in case of an emergency.
How to Prevent a Motorcycle Accident
Riders and other motorists can help reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident by taking the following steps:
- Practice with your motorcycle, especially when getting back on your bike after an extended period.
- Never ride a motorcycle whose performance capabilities exceed your skill and experience.
- Don’t speed.
- Always use your headlights, even during the day.
- Never tailgate.
- Don’t linger in another driver’s blind spots. Pass as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Avoid reckless driving, such as lane splitting or weaving in and out of traffic.
- When riding in a group, ride single file and leave a safe distance between each motorcycle.
- Avoid riding in bad weather. Delay your departure if necessary. If you get caught in inclement weather while on the road, pull over and wait for conditions to improve.
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
Motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles in Michigan, which means bikers are not entitled to no-fault benefits after a wreck unless the collision involved another car or truck.
Depending on the severity of your injuries and whether the other driver was negligent, you may be able to recover no-fault benefits and file a pain and suffering lawsuit against the responsible driver. An experienced attorney, familiar with motorcycle case law, can help determine what options are open to you.
At Christensen Law, we will:
- Review your case in a free consultation.
- Explain your legal options and what to expect during every stage of the claims process.
- Recover evidence from the accident scene, such as photographs, video footage, and the police accident report.
- Identify and interview witnesses.
- Gather testimony from accident reconstruction and medical specialists to strengthen your claim.
- Negotiate with the insurance adjusters to reach the best settlement possible as efficiently as we can.
- Take your case to trial if the insurer refuses to pay what’s fair.