Michigan Laws for E-Bikes | Scott Goodwin Law

Michigan Laws for E-Bikes

by / Monday, 10 June 2024 / Published in Michigan Law, Personal Injury
Electric bike on a sidewalk.

get around, or just for fun. But for many people, riding an e-bike instead of a traditional bike can be an even better option. For example, e-bikes are often easier to use for those who have physical limitations that make traditional bikes difficult to use. E-bikes can also make it possible to get around faster and make it easier to ride on hills or rough terrain. 

The key reason why e-bikes can offer those types of benefits is because, unlike traditional bikes, e-bikes have a small motor that can increase pedaling power. Does this engine mean that different laws apply to e-bikes? 

Under Section 257.662a of the Michigan Vehicle Code, people riding e-bikes are subject to the same regulations that apply to standard bikes unless otherwise specified. It’s important to know that the rules that apply to an e-bike can depend on what type of e-bike is being used. E-bikes are divided into three different categories: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3: 

  • Class 1 e-bikes have engines that are active only while the user is pedaling the bike and reach a maximum speed of 20 MPH. 
  • Class 2 e-bikes have engines that also reach a maximum speed of 20 MPH, but function whether the user is pedaling or not. 
  • On Class 3 e-bikes, the engines reach a maximum speed of 28 MPH, but only function when the user is pedaling. 

To find out what class an e-bike is, there should be a label permanently attached to the bike which lists the class on it. 

Where Can You Ride an E-Bike in Michigan?

All three classes of e-bikes can be ridden on roads and bike lanes where traditional bikes are allowed. They can also be ridden on natural surface trails meant for motorized vehicles, but not on natural surface trails meant for non-motorized use, such as hiking or mountain bikes. (However, Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes might be allowed on those natural surface trails for non-motorized vehicles if authorized by the agency in charge of the trail.) 

Class 1 e-bikes can also be ridden on rail trails/linear trails, unless expressly prohibited by the agency responsible for managing the trail. Class 2 and Class 3 e-bikes are prohibited from these types of trails unless expressly approved. 

Helmet & Age Requirements for E-Bikes

Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes can be ridden by people of any age, but riders of Class 3 e-bikes must be at least 14 years old. Helmets are also required for riders of Class 3 e-bikes if they are between the ages of 14 and 18. Helmets are not legally required for riders of Class 1 or Class 2 e-bikes, but it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet anyway for added protection if you fall or are in an accident with a vehicle. 

Contact a Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in the State of Michigan, Scott Goodwin Law is here to help. Our personal injury lawyers can help with a wide range of cases, including car accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, and more. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so that you can get answers to your questions and learn more about your legal options.

Image: Pexels / G-Force Bike