Electric Bike Laws

Electric Bike Laws

Michigan Electric Bike Law

Michigan uses the recommendations from PeopleForBikes on classifying electric bikes. There are three classes of e-bikes:

  • Class 1: E-bikes equipped with a motor that is pedal-assist only, with a top speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: E-bikes equipped with a motor that is operated by a throttle, with a top speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 3: E-bikes equipped with a motor that is pedal-assist only, with a top speed of 28 mph.

All bikes are to have a label with their frame showing their class, which is placed when its manufactured. If your bike has a throttle, even if it is equipped with pedal assist, it automatically fits into Class 2.

Your class determines where you can ride and if there are any minimum age or helmet requirements. According to Michigan DNR, there are no minimum ages for Class 1 and 2 bikes and helmets are not required. Riders must be 14-years-old to operate Class 3 e-bikes and are required to wear helmets until they turn 18.

All classes of electric bikes can ride on roads, bike lanes, and motorized, natural surface trails (such as ORV trails). Class 1 bikes are allowed to ride on linear paved trails. Class 2 and 3 bikes are not allowed on linear paved trails, such as asphalt, limestone, or a rail trail. All classes of e-bikes are not allowed on non-motorized trails unless authorized.

Helpful resources:

Michigan DNR Electric Bikes In Michigan

PeopleForBikes Michigan E-Bike Law PDF

Michigan Legislature Electric Bike Vehicle Code

Are electric bikes legal in my state?

Electric bikes are becoming more commonplace in the United States.

As far as legality goes in other states, it's best to check with your state's Department of Transportation or Department of Natural Resources.

Can I ride an electric bike on trails?

Much like e-bike riding on bike paths, riding on trails is dependent on the state and on the trail. For example, Michigan has not allowed e-bicycles on non-motorized trails. However, they have started to allow eMTB on a few motorized trails.

To be honest, it would probably be best to do your homework on the area in which you're riding. You can look at your local DNR for electric mountain bike trails. People For Bikes is also a great resource.

Please see our page regarding trail riding in Michigan.

Helpful Links:

PeopleForBikes State by State Electric Bike Laws