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E-bikes in Michigan
An electric bicycle (or e-bike) is a bicycle that has a small rechargeable electric motor that can give a boost to the pedaling rider or can take over pedaling completely. To qualify as an e- bike in Michigan, the bike must meet the following requirements:
- It must have a seat or saddle for the rider to sit.
- There must be fully operational pedals.
- It must have an electric motor of no more than 750 watts (or 1 horsepower).
Whether you can ride an e-bicycle on a trail depends on several factors, including the e-bike's class, the type of trail and whether the authority that manages or oversees the trail allows the use. To learn more, read the full legislation or review the provided summary.
E-bikes are separated into three classes based on several attributes of the e-bike. A permanent label must be affixed to the E-bike that accurately identifies the E-bike’s class type. After purchase, if the E-bike is altered in such a way as to change its class type, a new label meeting the statutory criteria in MCL 257.662a(2) must be affixed that accurately identifies the e-bike’s new class type.
An e-bike equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and disengages or ceases to function when the bike reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
An e-bike equipped with a motor that propels the bike, whether the rider is pedaling or not, to a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour, and disengages or ceases to function when the brakes are applied or throttle is released.
An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and disengages or ceases to function when the bike reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour.
What's required for each class
|Class 1||Class 2||Class 3|
|Minimum age to operate||None||None||14|
|Rider required to wear helmet||No||No||Yes if ages 14-18|
|Rider must pedal for motor to engage||Yes||No||Yes|
|Maximum speed for motor assist||20||20||28|
Where you can ride different classes of e-bikes
|Class 1||Class 2||Class 3|
|Allowed on roads and bike lanes||Yes||No||No|
|Allowed on linear paved trails||Yes, but can be regulated||No||No|
|Allowed on nonmotorized, natural surface trails (such as mountain bike trails)||No, but can be authorized||No, but can be authorized||No|
|Allowed on motorized, natural surface trails (such as ORV trails)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
City, county and state roads
You can ride all three classes of e-bikes on all roads where a non-electric bicycle can be ridden. Additionally, you may operate an e-bike 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 on the shoulder.
Michigan's linear and rail trails
Class 1 e-bikes
You may operate a class 1 e-bike on a rail trail (or linear trail) that has an asphalt or crushed limestone (or similar) surface unless otherwise prohibited. A local authority or agency of the state who has jurisdiction may regulate or prohibit the operation of class 1 e-bikes on that trail.
Examples of linear trails where you can ride a class 1 e-bike include:
- Polly Ann State Rail Trail
- Musketawa Trail
- Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park
- North Central State Trail
- Iron Ore Heritage Trail
- William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail State Park
Class 2 and 3 e-bikes
You may NOT operate a class 2 or class 3 e-bike on a linear trail or a rail trail unless authorized by the local authority or agency of the state having jurisdiction over the trail.
Michigan's natural surface trails
Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes
Natural surface trails are trails designated as nonmotorized. Many hiking and mountain biking trails fall into this category. No e-bikes are permitted on these trails unless the authority having jurisdiction over the trail has authorized this use.
You can ride all three classes of e-bike on any roads where a non-electric bicycle can be ridden. An individual may operate an e-bike 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 on the shoulder.