Most motorcycle owners enjoy the thrill of riding, and the popularity of motorbikes ensures that they’ll stay on Michigan roads for many years to come. With all that said, it’s important to understand the laws that surround these vehicles in the state of Michigan. Motorcycles are obviously not the same as normal cars, and they are treated accordingly under Michigan law. When you gain a solid understanding of the laws that surround motorcycles, you can enjoy your time on the road with fewer concerns and a greater level of overall confidence.
General Motorcycle Laws in Michigan
Here are a few general motorcycle laws that you should be aware of in Michigan:
- Lane Use: Motorcycles should have an entire lane to themselves. You are legally entitled to a full lane – although you may share lanes when riding two abreast.
- Freeway Access: If your motorcycle has an engine smaller than 125cc, you are not allowed on Michigan freeways or highways.
- Handlebars: Motorcycle handlebars can not be positioned higher than 15 inches above the seat.
- Hand Signals: You must signal before you turn – preferably 100 feet before you start your turn. If your signal lights are not working, you must use the proper hand and arm signals.
- Helmet Use: You can choose not to wear a helmet in Michigan. However, in order to do this, you must be at least 21 years of age. You must also have $20,000 in first-party medical benefits. Finally, all unhelmeted riders must have had a motorcycle license for more than two years. The same rules apply to passengers (minus the license requirement).
- Eye Protection: When traveling at speeds of over 35 mph, you must wear proper eye protection or use a windshield.
- Prohibited Areas: You cannot ride your motorbike on sidewalks, between lanes, between traffic, or on a bicycle path.
Motorcycle Insurance Laws in Michigan
The insurance laws involving Michigan are also very important for you to understand, as they will have an effect on any potential accidents in the future. The first thing you need to know is that technically speaking, motorcycles are not classified as “motor vehicles” under Michigan law. This means that you are not required to purchase “no-fault insurance.”
While this might sound like a good deal, you also have to consider the flip side. If you don’t have no-fault insurance, you will not have the ability to recover compensation if you were the only vehicle involved in a collision. For example, let’s say you crash into a tree and break your collarbone. In this situation, you would not have the ability to recover no-fault benefits. As soon as another vehicle gets involved, you can recover benefits from the no-fault insurance policies of other drivers.
With all that said, you can get optional medical coverage that will provide you with compensation if no other vehicles were involved in your crash. You can even purchase a special form of “motorcycle no-fault insurance” offered by some companies. Finally, all motorcyclists in Michigan are required to get purchase liability insurance (PLPD).