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Michigan's Electric Bike Legislation Explained

Posted by Angela S on

New Michigan Electric Bike Legislation Explained

In the fall of 2017, Michigan regulated electric bike use on streets and highways. In January 2018, the new vehicle code was effective. But, for those who are unfamiliar with the new law, your local West Michigan electric bike shop, Electric Bike Place (powered by MACkite) has broken down the basics. More information can be found on Michigan’s Legislature website.

Electric bikes can be classified into one of three classes and their class must be displayed on the bike. Class 1 is a pedal assist-only bicycle that travels up to 20 miles per hour. Class 2 is a pedal assist or throttle bicycle that travels up to 20 miles per hour. Class 3 is a bicycle that travels upwards of 28 miles per hour with only pedal assist. Anyone riding a Class 3 bicycle must be ages 14 and over and must wear a helmet.

iZip Dash Commuter

Class 1 electric bikes are allowed on asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surface, or a rail trail. Local authority or state agency can prohibit Class 1 bikes on particular trails. Class 2 and Class 3 electric bikes can be allowed on asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surface, or a rail trail if allowed by local authority or state agency.

For those traveling to Mackinac Island, individuals shall not operate an electric bicycle unless a permit is obtained from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission or unless the Mackinac Island State Park Commission authorizes electric bikes within its jurisdiction. If a city within the Michigan legislature 257.662a or if the Mackinac Island State Park Commission authorizes electric bikes, it is within the city or the Mackinac Island State Park Commission to regulate the operation. 


Michigan Legislature Excerpt for Electric Bikes

Michigan Vehicle Code (Excerpt)

Act 300 of 1949

257.662a Electric bicycle; rights of individual; label to be affixed by manufacturer or distributor; tampering with or modification of electric bicycle prohibited; requirements applicable to class 3 electric bicycle; compliance with federal requirements; operation on highway or within city; operation of class 1, class 2, or class 3 electric bicycle on certain trails; compliance with Americans with disabilities act of 1990 and persons with disabilities civil rights act; public hearing; inapplicability of subsections (6) to (10) to use of electric bicycles on congressionally authorized public trail system.

Sec. 662a.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an individual riding an electric bicycle is subject to the same requirements under this act as an individual riding a bicycle.

(2) Beginning on January 1, 2018, a manufacturer or distributor of electric bicycles offered for sale or distribution in this state shall permanently affix in a prominent location on the electric bicycle a label that contains the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage of the electric bicycle. The label required under this subsection shall be printed in Arial font and shall be at least 9-point type.

(3) A person shall not tamper with or modify an electric bicycle so as to change the manufactured motor-powered speed capability or motor engagement of the electric bicycle without replacing the label required under subsection (2) with an appropriate label printed in Arial font and in at least 9-point type. For purposes of this act, a device shall not be considered an electric bicycle if the motor is modified in a manner that no longer meets the criteria described in section 13e, or if the motor exceeds 750 watts.

(4) All of the following apply to a class 3 electric bicycle:

(a) A class 3 electric bicycle shall not be operated by an individual less than 14 years of age. An individual less than 14 years of age may ride as a passenger on a class 3 electric bicycle that is designed to accommodate passengers.

(b) An individual less than 18 years of age who operates or rides as a passenger on a class 3 electric bicycle shall wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet that meets federal standards established by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission or the American Society for Testing and Materials.

(5) An electric bicycle shall comply with applicable equipment and manufacturing requirements for electric bicycles established under federal law, including standards adopted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and compiled in 16 CFR part 1512.

(6) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (7), an individual may operate an electric bicycle on any part of a highway that is open to a bicycle, including, but not limited to, a lane designated for the exclusive use of bicycles and the shoulder.

(7) An individual shall not operate an electric bicycle within a city that prohibits the use of nonemergency motor vehicles, unless the city council of that city, by majority vote, adopts a resolution allowing the operation of electric bicycles within city limits. An individual shall not operate an electric bicycle within the Mackinac Island State Park, unless he or she has obtained the required permit from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission created in part 767 of the natural resources and environmental protection act, 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.76701 to 324.76709, or unless the Mackinac Island State Park Commission authorizes the operation of electric bicycles within its jurisdiction. If a city described in this subsection or the Mackinac Island State Park Commission authorizes the operation of electric bicycles within its jurisdiction, the city or the Mackinac Island State Park Commission may regulate the operation of electric bicycles within its jurisdiction.

(8) An individual may operate a class 1 electric bicycle on a linear trail that has an asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surface, or a rail trail. A local authority or agency of this state having jurisdiction over a trail described in this subsection may regulate or prohibit the operation of a class 1 electric bicycle on that trail.

(9) An individual may operate a class 2 or class 3 electric bicycle on a linear trail that has an asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surface, or a rail trail if authorized by the local authority or agency of this state having jurisdiction over the trail.

(10) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, an individual shall not operate an electric bicycle on a trail that is designated as nonmotorized and that has a natural surface tread that is made by clearing and grading the native soil with no added surfacing materials. A local authority or agency of this state having jurisdiction over a trail described in this subsection may allow and regulate the operation of an electric bicycle on that trail.

(11) This state or a local authority or agency of this state shall administer the provisions of this section in a manner that complies with the Americans with disabilities act of 1990, Public Law 101-336, and the persons with disabilities civil rights act, 1976 PA 220, MCL 37.1101 to 37.1607.

(12) Before an entity described in subsections (7) to (10) may prohibit, authorize, or regulate the use of electric bicycles within its jurisdiction, that entity shall hold a public hearing on the matter.

(13) Subsections (6) to (10) do not apply to the use of electric bicycles on a congressionally authorized public trail system.

Source: Michigan Legislature: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-257-662a