Michigan Motorcycle Laws You Should Know

heading divider
Michigan Motorcycle Laws What You Need to Know

Motorcycle laws are in place to prevent accidents and promote safety. If you’re going to ride in Michigan, you need to know the laws — and follow them — to protect yourself if an accident occurs.

Before hitting the road, learn about some of Michigan’s key motorcycle laws and how they can affect a motorcycle accident claim.

Operating Requirement Laws for Michigan Motorcyclists

To legally ride a motorcycle in Michigan, motorcycle riders need the following:

To obtain the CY endorsement for a motorcyclist license, you must pass vision, knowledge, and road skills tests. Bikers under 18 must also have completed a motorcycle safety course through the Secretary of State’s office.

Riders as young as 16 can get a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP) to learn how to operate a motorcycle. Permits allow bikers to ride under the visual supervision of an adult licensed motorcycle operator during daylight hours. They last for 180 days and are renewable.

Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Michigan motorcycle laws allow certain individuals to choose whether to wear a helmet. You can opt out of wearing a helmet as a motorcycle operator if you:

  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Have $20,000 in first-party medical benefits
  • Have had your motorcycle endorsement for at least 2 years or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course

As a passenger, you can choose not to wear a helmet if you:

  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Have $20,000 in first-party medical benefits in addition to the insurance of the motorcycle operator

Michigan law does require anyone under 21 to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided an easy-to-use guide for choosing the right motorcycle helmet.

Though mandatory helmet laws do not apply to everyone in Michigan, helmets are one of the best defenses against catastrophic injury in motorcycle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle helmet usage prevents catastrophic and fatal injuries in motorcycle riders. Crash helmets prevent nearly 2,000 deaths per year. At Christensen Law, we strongly encourage all Michigan bikers to ride helmeted.

Required Equipment Laws for Michigan Motorcycle Riders

To ride legally in Michigan, licensed motorcyclists must use eye protection, such as shatterproof goggles, a face shield, or a windshield when traveling more than 35 miles per hour. This helps the driver avoid eye injuries from flying debris while also keeping a clear line of sight at high speeds.

Motorcycles on public roads must also be equipped with front and rear brakes, a horn, working headlights, taillights and stop lights, a muffler, a rearview mirror, and a permanent seat. Many motorcycle accidents occur when car and truck operators fail to see the small, low-profile vehicles. Motorcycle owners who equip their bike with these safety features are better able to protect themselves from inattentive drivers.

Lane Use Laws for Motorcycles in Michigan

Motorcyclists on Michigan roads are entitled to a full lane in traffic. They are also able to ride two abreast (or two side-by-side). Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is illegal in Michigan. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann, § 257.660 outlines these laws.

Additionally, they must follow all traffic laws, signs, and signals just like a regular driver in a car or truck.

No-Fault Laws for Michigan Motorcycles

Motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles in Michigan, when it comes to personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. That means bikers are excluded from obtaining no-fault benefits after an accident unless the collision involves a motor vehicle such as a car or truck.

If your motorcycle crash involves a motor vehicle, you can seek Michigan no-fault benefits through the involved car or truck’s insurance policy. If the vehicle lacks insurance, you may have no-fault coverage through your own Michigan automobile policy if you have an insured car or truck. If none of these situations apply, your only insurance option may be your motorcycle insurance or optional medical coverage you’ve purchased.

Insurance claims can vary widely depending on the type of coverage and limitations. A skilled Michigan motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand how no-fault coverage laws and other insurance requirements apply to your motorcycle accident case.

Michigan Motorcycle Negligence Claim Laws

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you could file a claim for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering if your injuries qualify as a “serious impairment of bodily function.”

An accident caused by potholes or road defects could allow you to bring a claim against a city or state government. If you can show the government knew about the danger and failed to repair it, you could recover some or all of your medical expenses.

Severe bodily injuries that could qualify for a personal injury claim include:

  • Spinal cord injury
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Internal injuries
  • Organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of limb or amputation

Seeking Damages After a Motorcycle Accident in Michigan

When you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party in a motorcycle accident, the goal is to recover economic and non-economic damages. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries because motorcycles are easily overlooked by automobile drivers. In addition, motorcycles do not offer the same protection as motor vehicles, which puts motorcycle drivers at greater risk of severe and fatal injuries.

Michigan law allows motorcycle accident victims to seek compensation through a motorcycle accident lawsuit if they have less than 50% liability for the accident. Damages you could pursue following a motorcycle crash include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost present and future income
  • Domestic assistance and in-home care
  • Assistive equipment and prosthetics
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of quality of life

A motorcycle accident attorney in Michigan can help you understand which damages apply and how to pursue fair compensation for your losses.

Time Limit Laws for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Michigan

Michigan laws also govern the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the negligent party that caused your motorcycle accident. The statute of limitations for a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit is typically three years. However, this time frame may vary based on your motorcycle accident details.

Additionally, insurance companies, including Michigan no-fault insurance, may have specific deadlines for filing an insurance claim after a motorcycle crash. Our personal injury law firm has handled Michigan motorcycle accidents for decades, and we can navigate these time limits and help you compile evidence in time to file a valid claim.

Since your motorcycle accident injuries can result in long hospital stays and extended rehabilitation, you benefit from having a personal injury lawyer handling the legal footwork while you focus on recovery.

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.

Call a Michigan Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Now

At Christensen Law, we hope you never find yourself in the position of needing a motorcycle accident attorney in Michigan. But if you’ve been hurt, our legal team can meet with you to discuss your rights to compensation in a free consultation. Call us today to get started with our team.