Michigan Motorcycle Laws: What You Need to Know

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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, here are some of Michigan’s key motorcycle laws:

Operating Requirements

To legally ride a motorcycle in Michigan, you need:

● A valid Michigan driver’s license with the CY motorcycle endorsement

● Liability insurance to cover you if you cause an accident that injures someone else

In order to obtain the CY endorsement, 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 Helmet Law

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

Anyone under 21 is required to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet.

Though helmets are not mandatory for everyone in Michigan, they are one of the best defenses against catastrophic injury in motorcycle accidents. At Christensen Law, we strongly encourage all Michigan bikers to ride helmeted.

Required Equipment

To ride legally in Michigan, motorcyclists must use shatterproof goggles, a face shield, or a windshield when traveling more than 35 miles per hour.

Motorcycles 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.

Lane Use

Motorcyclists 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, is illegal in Michigan.

No-Fault Laws

Motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles in Michigan. That means that bikers are excluded from obtaining no-fault benefits after an accident unless the collision involves another motor vehicle. Then you can have Michigan no-fault benefits through the involved car or truck’s insurance policy, or, if that vehicle lacks insurance you may have no-fault coverage through your own Michigan automobile policy if you have one. If none of these situations apply, then you would be left with the optional medical coverage you´ve purchased.


Negligence Claims

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you could file a claim for 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 be able to get some or all of your medical expenses covered.

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.