Motorcycle License in Michigan

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You do not need a motorcycle license in Michigan, but you do need a motorcycle endorsement. Drivers as young as 16 can get an endorsement with the proper permitting and testing, although requirements will vary based on a few factors. You can face jail time and financial penalties for riding without this endorsement, so it’s important to ensure you have one.

Getting a Michigan Motorcycle Endorsement on Your License

We know just how freeing it can be to ride on the open roads. You may be eager to get on your bike and ride, but without an endorsement, you put yourself and other riders and drivers at risk. The CY endorsement has a few requirements, so make sure you:

  • Meet all qualification requirements: To receive a CY endorsement, you must be a U.S. citizen or residing lawfully within the United States. You must also be a Michigan resident.
  • Take the necessary course(s): Riders must take a state-approved motorcycle course to apply for an endorsement. These courses are available for rider education or rider skills, and rider education classes are available through public and private providers. The Department of State offers helpful FAQs that address some questions about these courses.
    • Please note that there are multiple types of courses available. For example, those with a three-wheeled motorcycle have a different course than those riders applying for two-wheeled bikes.
  • Get a learner’s permit, if applicable: Anyone over 16 or with a Michigan driver’s license can request a temporary permit for motorcycle riding privileges. To receive the full endorsement, you must pass a knowledge and road skills test or participate in the Michigan Rider Education Program through the Secretary of State’s office to waive the required skills test. Minors must complete a Basic Rider Course (BRC) or a Returning Rider Basic Rider Course (RRBRC) and show proof of enrollment before receiving their permit.
  • Pass vision test: Like any driver’s test, motorcyclists must also pass a vision screening at a DMV branch location before receiving their endorsement.
  • Submit required documentation and fees to the Secretary of State: In addition to providing proof of completion of a rider safety course or passing a road skills test, you must provide several forms of documentation to the Secretary of State before receiving your CY endorsement, including:
    • Proof of Social Security Number (SSN)
    • Proof of legal presence in the United States, such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport, Michigan driver’s license, or permanent residency card
    • Proof of identity, with a state-issued driver’s license, ID card, U.S. marriage license, U.S. court order for a name change, or military ID card
    • Two forms of residency, such as a utility bill, credit card bill, or bank statement

You must also have a valid Michigan driver’s license to get the CY endorsement. Once you have your endorsement and start riding, make sure you are following motorcycle laws. Not only do you have to follow road rules, but you must also make sure your bike meets state safety requirements, registration laws, and insurance requirements.

You Have Everything Needed for a Motorcycle License Endorsement in Michigan, Now What?

As outlined above, one of the most important steps to getting your motorcycle license endorsement is passing a skills test and a vision exam. You’ll need to take and pass an exam on the knowledge of how motorcycles work, their safety features, and what kind would be best suited for you based on personal preferences like size or engine capacity, among other things.

If you have passed your tests and received the proper certificates, you can then file with the Secretary of State’s office to receive an endorsement on your license. This requires proof that you are registered and have comprehensive liability insurance coverage. You can complete this process online, at a self-service station, or in person.

You must also renew your endorsement when you renew your driver’s license; you just have to pay your license renewal fee and the CY renewal fee. Michigan does offer reciprocity for some out-of-state motorcycle accidents, as outlined in this flier, but it is always helpful to reach out to your local office to confirm if the program is accepted.

Temporary Motorcycle Permits in Michigan

Another way to obtain your motorcycle license is by completing and submitting a temporary instruction permit (TIP). Applicants under 18 years of age must be enrolled in a motorcycle safety course. This enrollment requirement also applies to adults who have failed two or more motorcycle tests.

TIP applicants must have a Michigan driver’s license, pass the sight exam, complete and pass the written knowledge exam, and pay any necessary fees.

Are There Exceptions to Motorcycle Endorsement Laws?

Motorcycle endorsements are required for those vehicles that meet the definition outlined in Michigan Compiled Law § 257.31. Motorcycles are two- or three-wheeled vehicles with a saddle or a seat for the rider. This definition can seem fairly broad, and it can be hard to know what is or is not included at first glance. Tractors, which technically fall under this definition, are expressly excluded from this law. While they can be three-wheeled vehicles with seats, they do not need a CY endorsement for operation.

While considered motorcycles by law, autocycles do not require operators to get a CY endorsement as the vehicle does not handle like a motorcycle. Autocycle operators must follow other licensing requirements as stated by Michigan law.

Mopeds and scooters are another potentially tricky category for motorcycle endorsement hopefuls. These vehicles must meet specific parameters to be considered motorcycles. Mopeds, like motorcycles, are two- or three-wheeled vehicles, but they must:

  • Have a motor that “does not exceed 100 cubic centimeters piston displacement”
  • Cannot go over 30 miles per hour on a level surface
  • Does not have a manual gear shift

If your vehicle exceeds these requirements, it is likely a motorcycle.

Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Michigan

You’ve gotten your CY endorsement, but now, how can you stay safe on your bike? Here are some pointers:

  • Wear a helmet: Michigan law allows riders to choose whether to wear a motorcycle helmet. To legally not wear a helmet, you must be at least 21 years old, carry at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits, and have had your CY endorsement for at least two years or passed an approved safety course. There are additional requirements that passengers must meet before riding helmet-free.
  • Stay visible: Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles, which makes them harder to spot in traffic. Do your part to remain visible by keeping a safe distance, staying out of blind spots, and making sure your headlights and taillights are working properly.
  • Wear safety gear: Motorcyclists don’t have the luxury of a steel frame and airbags to protect them if an accident happens. In addition to a DOT-approved helmet, wear shatterproof goggles, a face shield, or a windshield to protect your face and eyes from injury. Heavy-duty riding pants, gloves, jackets, and boots can also help avoid severe road rash and scarring if a wreck occurs.
  • Don’t drink and ride: Just like driving cars, riding a motorcycle while impaired can be a deadly choice.

What If I Get Into a Motorcycle Accident in Michigan?

As many bikers are well aware, riding is not without its risks. Weather, faulty parts, road conditions, and other drivers put bikers at risk every day. While there are many precautions you can take to reduce these risks, it’s impossible to account for other drivers on the road. Drivers may be careless or negligent, and these behaviors can cause catastrophic injuries for people like you.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident due to a negligent party, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone. Our motorcycle accident attorneys can offer invaluable legal representation to you or the loved ones of a deceased rider.

PIP Laws and Motorcycle Accidents

Michigan drivers get no-fault benefits when they are in a car accident, as Michigan is a no-fault state. Under this system, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP). PIP coverage means drivers seek compensation from their own insurance policies up to a certain threshold. However, this system becomes complicated when motorcycle riders like you get hurt.

Motorcycles are not considered “vehicles” under state law, which introduces uncertainty in an already complicated process. Riders must obtain insurance that meets state minimums but are not eligible for a PIP policy. Riders are, however, able to pursue damages from the PIP policy of the driver who hit them.

The at-fault driver’s PIP may fully cover some accident victims, but other victims may have losses beyond the policy coverage. Motorcycle riders may be able to sue for additional damages, or they may be able to get benefits from other state policies, depending on the circumstances. Insurers may try to deny your claim after a motorcycle accident since your motorcycle is not a “motor vehicle,” but we’ll fight for your right to compensation.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer If You’ve Been Hurt

If you or a loved one was hurt in a motorcycle crash in Michigan, legal compensation may be possible to help you on the road to recovery. Learn your legal options by speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer at Christensen Law today for a free consultation.

Call us at 248-900-9000 or contact us now.