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E-Bikes in Michigan

bike with tire with an e

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-bike classes

E-bikes are separated into three classes based on several attributes of the bike. ALL e-bikes are required to have a visible label indicating the class type. After sale, it's illegal for the classification label to be altered or tampered with in any way.

Class 1

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.

Class 2

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.

Class 3

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 Yes Yes
Allowed on linear paved trails Yes, but can be regulated No, but can be authorized No, but can be authorized
Allowed on nonmotorized, natural surface trails (such as mountain bike trails) No, but can be authorized No, but can be authorized No, but can be authorized
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:

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.

Class 1

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.