Michigan Motorcycle Laws and Safety Tips


By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer

It is still a little early for road trip on a motorcycle in Michigan, but that is no reason not to think about it and prepare. Before you hit the road you should be aware of the state laws regarding motorcycles, and keep some safety procedures in mind.

Michigan Motorcycle Laws and Regulations

  1. Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

    1. Handlebars cannot be more than 15 inches above the seat of your motorcycle.

    2. Your motorcycle must have at least one brake light, tail light, and reflector.

    3. Your motorcycle’s headlamp, of which there may be one or two, must be between 24 and 54 inches off of the ground.

    4. You motorcycle must have one braking system for each wheel.

    5. Your motorcycle must have a horn that can be heard from 200 feet away.

    6. Your motorcycle must have a muffler in operational condition.

    7. Your motorcycle cannot be louder than:

      1. 86 DBa from 50 feet away when traveling at 35 mph or faster.

      2. 82 DBa from 50 feet away when traveling less than 35 mph.

    8. You must have a rearview mirror, which can be attached to your motorcycle or to your helmet.

    9. You may not carry passengers on your motorcycle unless it is designed to do so.

  2. Rider and Passenger Requirements

    1. Riders and passengers must wear a US Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet, unless:

      1. The rider and passenger are 21 years old or older.

      2. The rider and passenger have $20,000 first party medical benefits coverage each.

      3. The rider has had a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or has passed a motorcycle safety course.

    2. Riders and passengers must wear eye protection if traveling faster than 35 mph, unless the motorcycle is fitted with a windshield.

  3. Permit Laws

    1. Motorcycle permits are available to minors to ride motorcycles and last for 180 days.

    2. Permit riders must be supervised by a licensed motorcycle operator who is at least 18 years old.

    3. Permit riders are not allowed to carry passengers.

    4. Permit riders may only ride during the daytime.

  4. Insurance requirements

    1. $20,000 bodily injury or death coverage for one person involved in a crash.

    2. $40,000 bodily injury or death coverage for two or more people involved in a crash.

    3. $10,000 property damage coverage.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

  1. Prepare before you ride.
    Several things can go wrong when you ride. It many ways, it is always better to plan for the worst but hope for the best. Know how you will react in the event of a crash, and remember to stay calm if you do crash. Become familiar with your insurance policy, and the steps you need to take to be covered by your policy. Try to keep a first aid kit on your motorcycle if possible, food and some water wouldn’t be a bad idea either. A motorcycle safety course can also give you safety tips when traveling on the road, and help you become familiar with your motorcycle.

  2. Wear clothing that protects against the elements.
    You will be exposed to whatever the road has to offer when you ride a motorcycle, for better or worse. Wear durable clothing that will keep you warm and protect you in case of a slide. Some companies make clothes specifically for motorcyclists that has armor woven into the fabric, although jeans and a leather jacket work too. Hear heavy boot that rise above your ankle, this might make it easier to shift gears and could save you from a broken foot in case of a crash. Make sure that your helmet fits snuggly onto your head and that your chin strap is securely fastened. This will prevent your helmet from falling off if you crash.

  3. Invest in insurance beyond the minimum requirement.
    It’s never a good idea to only have the minimum amount of insurance. When you ride, especially when you’re on a long road trip, certain insurance policies can save you from a lot of trouble. Consider insurance coverages like:

    1. Liability coverage. This will protect you if you are found liable for a crash, and should be considered a necessity when you ride.

    2. Uninsured motorist coverage. This will provide compensation if you crash into a motorist whose insurance won't pay for your damages.

    3. Comprehension coverage. This compensates you for damages that were not caused by crashing into another car. For example, if your motorcycle was stolen, or if you crashed it into a tree, then you would be covered for the damages.

    4. Roadside assistance. This coverage is especially useful for riders planning on going on a long road trip. You might be able to fix your own motorcycle, but fixing it on the side of the road with a limited amount of tools doesn’t sound like any fun.


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