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Important Motorcycle Safety Laws You Should Know

May 3, 2021

Every state has its own set of laws regarding the use of motorcycles on our roads. Michigan is more lenient on motorcyclist requirements than other states, particularly when it comes to helmet use.

However, there are still plenty of laws that motorcyclists in Michigan should know to make sure they stay safe and don’t get a ticket.

Certain Riders Must Wear Helmets

Unlike many other states, Michigan doesn’t require all motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, motorcyclists in Michigan must wear helmets if:

  • They’re under the age of 21
  • They have less than $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance
  • They earned their motorcycle endorsement less than two years ago, or they haven’t passed an approved motorcycle safety course

Though other motorcyclists aren’t legally required to wear helmets, doing so can dramatically reduce their chances of serious injuries or death if involved in crashes.

Motorcycles Must Meet Certain Standards Before They’re Allowed on Roads

Michigan law requires certain pieces of equipment on motorcycles before they’re legally allowed on roads. That equipment includes:

  • Front and rear wheel brakes
  • Headlight
  • Taillight
  • Brake light
  • Muffler
  • Horn
  • Rear-view mirror
  • Permanently attached seat

In addition, according to Michigan law, a motorcycle’s handlebars “must be positioned so that there are no more than 15 inches between the lowest point of the (unoccupied) seat to the highest point of the handle grips.”

Engine requirements can also affect whether a motorcycle is allowed on certain types of roadways. If a motorcycle has an engine smaller than 125 cc, it isn’t allowed on freeways or limited access highways.

Michigan Law States Where Motorcycles Can and Can’t Drive

Motorcyclists in Michigan are not allowed to drive on sidewalks, bicycle paths, or on curbs. They can’t ride side-by-side with more than two other motorcyclists on a public road. They also can’t ride between lanes of traffic, a practice sometimes called lane splitting, lane filtering, white lining, or stripe riding.

Other drivers should also know that motorcyclists are entitled to a full lane of road, just like any other type of motor vehicle.

Signaling Laws for Michigan Motorcyclists

Like all motorists, motorcyclists are legally required to signal their actions on Michigan roads. It’s up to every motorcyclist to see if conditions are safe to turn, change lanes, or come to a complete stop.

Motorcyclists should signal the action they’re about to take at least 100 feet before they turn. They can use either their motorcycle’s electronic signals or their arms and hands. If a motorcycle chooses to use their arms and hands to signal their actions, these are the proper signals:

  • Left arm and hand bent up (forming an L shape) signals a right turn
  • Left arm and hand straight out signals a left turn
  • Left arm and hand bent down signals slowing down or stopping

Motorcyclists Have Legal Options When Injured by Other Drivers

Motorcyclists often have a deep familiarity with Michigan’s motorcycle safety laws. Typically, motorcycle crashes are caused by drivers of passenger vehicles, and motorcyclists have every right to pursue compensation for the harm they’ve suffered because of another driver’s recklessness.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash, contact the Michigan motorcycle accident attorneys at Fieger Law today for a free consultation with one of the top personal injury law firms in the U.S.