Michigan Motor bicycle legality?

TFroehlichIII

New Member
Dec 27, 2013
16
0
0
Lansing MI, USA
Hello Everyone,
I was wondering, is it legal to have a motor on a bicycle on the road in Michigan? Either way I'm going to build one and ride it, but it just hit me that it might be a legal issue with the police since bicycles are not registered with the DMV and has no plate.

Your thoughts/experience?
 
Sep 4, 2012
242
1
16
America's Hi-five
The way I did it was to register as a moped, with the proper equipment on the bike. I dont think what I did is what the majority in MI have done, but It make me feel more legal and have not had any problems to date. mirrors lights horns and brakes aren't too expensive.
 

slayer60973

New Member
Dec 24, 2012
96
0
0
West Michigan
I live in west Michigan and have rode by plenty of cops. None of them have stopped me, yet. The key is to stay under 30 mph around them, use hand signals, stay as far right on the road as possible. And wave if you feel like it. Even a simple wave can change a thought of stopping you to a wave back. Cops get treated like **** most of the time. A wave can make their day sometimes. Just a thought. And of Course head/tail lights
 

MotoMagz

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2010
1,724
878
113
Michigan
Drive Normal and stay off sidewalks and bike paths...

Here is the exact citation in the motor vehicle code...

"257.312a Motorcycle endorsement; issuance, suspension, revocation, cancellation, or renewal; special restricted license to operate moped; requirements; duration; expiration; fees.

Sec. 312a.

(1)

(2) A person, before operating a moped upon a highway shall procure a special restricted license to operate a moped unless the person has a valid operator's or chauffeur's license. A special restricted license to operate a moped may be issued to a person 15 years of age or older if the person satisfies the secretary of state that he is competent to operate a moped with safety. The secretary of state shall not require a road test before issuance of a special restricted license to operate a moped."


The motor vehicle code specifies what safety equipment is required for motor vehicles which include cars, motorcycles, low speed vehicles, mopeds etc.

Headlight requirement....

"257.685 Head lamps; number; modulator; height; auxiliary, spot, or other lamp; exemption.

Sec. 685.

(1)
(2) A motorcycle or moped shall be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 2 head lamps that comply with this chapter."

Brake light requirement...

"257.697b Rear stop lamps.

Sec. 697b.

A person shall not sell or offer for sale or operate on the highways a vehicle manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1965, except those exempted from certificate of title requirements under the provisions of section 216, unless the vehicle is equipped with 2 rear stop lamps except on a motorcycle or moped meeting the requirements of section 697. A motorcycle or moped shall be required to have 1 rear stop lamp."

Horn...

"57.706 Horn or other warning device; siren, whistle, air horn, or bell; theft alarm signal device.

Sec. 706.

(a) A motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet but a horn or other warning device shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle..."
 
Last edited:
Sep 4, 2012
242
1
16
America's Hi-five
Drive Normal and stay off sidewalks and bike paths...

Here is the exact citation in the motor vehicle code...

"257.312a Motorcycle endorsement; issuance, suspension, revocation, cancellation, or renewal; special restricted license to operate moped; requirements; duration; expiration; fees.

Sec. 312a.

(1)

(2) A person, before operating a moped upon a highway shall procure a special restricted license to operate a moped unless the person has a valid operator's or chauffeur's license. A special restricted license to operate a moped may be issued to a person 15 years of age or older if the person satisfies the secretary of state that he is competent to operate a moped with safety. The secretary of state shall not require a road test before issuance of a special restricted license to operate a moped."


The motor vehicle code specifies what safety equipment is required for motor vehicles which include cars, motorcycles, low speed vehicles, mopeds etc.

Headlight requirement....

"257.685 Head lamps; number; modulator; height; auxiliary, spot, or other lamp; exemption.

Sec. 685.

(1)
(2) A motorcycle or moped shall be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 2 head lamps that comply with this chapter."

Brake light requirement...

"257.697b Rear stop lamps.

Sec. 697b.

A person shall not sell or offer for sale or operate on the highways a vehicle manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1965, except those exempted from certificate of title requirements under the provisions of section 216, unless the vehicle is equipped with 2 rear stop lamps except on a motorcycle or moped meeting the requirements of section 697. A motorcycle or moped shall be required to have 1 rear stop lamp."

Horn...

"57.706 Horn or other warning device; siren, whistle, air horn, or bell; theft alarm signal device.

Sec. 706.

(a) A motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet but a horn or other warning device shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle..."
those are the criteria I met, however I thought there was something about having front brakes, and mirrors as well. Anyways, they did not ask for much to make it a legal moped. the brake lights were the only slightly tough part, but if I spent instead of scrounged there are a lot of options to make it easy.
I've never had a cop give me a hard time riding within the legal limits of a moped.

Now, the downside to being a moped. Its no longer a bike. I'd like to take a ride down hines drive, a nice long scenic twisty local road in my area. It is frequently used by cyclists on the street (as well as motorcycles and cars) and on the nice path alongside for the more casual peddler. Many nice parks and trails. The speed limit is 40mph. Mopeds only fit <35mph, so no street, mopeds are not allowed in the path. Where do I fit? Its very much up to the attitude of the cop at that point, If he wants to argue he wins. I have not yet taken the ride yet for that reason. (if I did, I'd take the street)
My point is that as a motorized bike with no moped sticker you are a grey area. Registered as a moped its more black and white. IMO.




 
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MotoMagz

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2010
1,724
878
113
Michigan
Ride when It floods...you will have it all to yourself.lol.In that situation I just watch my mirrors and get on the shoulder before cars start backing up behind me.Then I get back out on the road.I think the biggest problem is people freak out and won't just pass.
 
Sep 4, 2012
242
1
16
America's Hi-five
I thought it worth mentioning, if like me you are registered as a moped, that michigan laws have changed since I last looked. Mopeds are now 100cc limit, and are allowed to carry a passenger. It seems the 35mph and under road rule is gone, and now just limited to non freeway use, as long as you are under 30mph (otherwise you'd be a motorcycle). That's a win in my book.
Happy riding all!
 
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Lightning Boy

Member
Apr 19, 2014
185
0
16
Michigan
I noticed that also recently, while digging into the legality of my friction bike. I was still under the impression that I had to stay under 50cc, and was pleasantly surprised to see the law changed. Since it is now street legal to do so, I was motivated to build another around a 66cc saw power plant. No idea what the other one is, but obviously nowhere close to 66cc. More like 30-something. Not bad, but double can't hurt.
 
Sep 4, 2012
242
1
16
America's Hi-five
I hope the original poster is enjoying themselves, I'm hijacking to mention since the laws changed I took a ride down hines drive that I always wanted to. It was a record high of 87 here, and it was one of those rides that make you feel that feeling. It was very enjoyable, and my bike ran superb. Hope everyone here in Michigan is having a great time.
 

oldpot

New Member
Jun 21, 2012
159
0
0
MICHIGAN
i regestered mine as a assembled moped , i got a sticker $15 for 3 years and new vin number for the bike ,

i got this from another forums hope it helps;this is what i did for a assembled moped sticker,

The State of Michigan's DMV says my motorized bicycle is classified as a moped in this state. A moped is defined by the State of Michigan as a unit that meets all of the following:

A - The engine does not exceed 50 cc's piston displacement
B - The engine is rated at 2.0 Hp or less
C - The power drive system does not require the operator to shift gears and
D - The top speed is 30 miles per hour or less on a level surface

Michigan requires mopeds to be registered upon purchase and then again every 3 years unless they are used on private property only.

A decal is provided that is to be displayed on the rear of the vehicle. (This sticker is vertically long and horizontally narrow, so a rear fender, or some sort of way of mounting the sticker is needed. It must be visible to law enforcement.)

That said, the first thing I was missing were OWNERSHIP papers to go with my MB. Once I explained that I'd put the engine on myself, they gave me the paperwork I'll need to get a VIN assigned to my bike. I can't register it, they explain..without a VIN, and they can't issue me a VIN until it's been deemed road worthy.


So starting from a bike and a motor..this is what the DMV says I need to do to get my motorized bicycle registered and legal on public roads in Michigan:

==-------------------------------------------------------------------==
1. Equip it with the following:

a) Front and rear brakes capable of stopping the vehicle safely CHECK
b) A horn capable of being heard from 200 feet away
c) A rear view mirror (some sources say left side mirror, some say rear view mirror. Left side should cover both bases.)
d) A headlight mounted 24 to 54 inches from ground height powerful enough to illuminate objects 100 feet away
e) A tail light
f) A brake light is
g) A muffler The inspection sheet (more on that in a second) check box says: [] Exhaust system (good working order, no excessive noise or annoying smoke) So I packed my muffler tube with fiberglass screen til I pass inspection just to be safe. CHECK
h) A permanently mounted seat (Apparently my butt doesn't count since the seat has to be permanently mounted to the moped and not the rider.) CHECK
i ) Handlebars which are no higher than 15 inches from the lowest point of the seat to the highest point of the hand grips CHECK

* The items marked CHECK should be on your motorized bicycle already.
==-------------------------------------------------------------------==

2. Take the vehicle to be inspected by the local police.

The DMV provided me with a green form that has a checklist. They also provided me with a separate piece of paper that has the specific equipment list for mopeds. This is important, because the inspection checklist does NOT have a section for mopeds, so the officer will have to use the motorcycle section. That section lists extra equipment that is NOT required on mopeds. Make sure you make that obvious to the officer. I highlighted only the required moped equipment on the motorcycle checklist with a highlighter so the cop wouldn't be asking me for DOT tires and license plate light. Also there is no VIN, so make sure the officer is aware of the fact that the inspection is for the purpose of issuing a VIN.

==------------------------------------------------------------------==

3. Return the signed inspection sheet to the DMV and apply for a VIN.

Apparently, this is the part that takes the most time. 3 - 5 weeks is what I was told because it has to be done manually. I have no idea what that means, but I'll take their word for it.

==------------------------------------------------------------------==

4. Once the motorized bicycle has a VIN, it can be registered and legally ridden by a licensed driver (no motorcycle endorsement required.)

There is a special moped license for people who have no license. The special moped license is NOT available if your license is suspended or revoked.

You will receive a large sticker that is to be displayed on the back of your MB. It will expire April 30 of the year displayed on the sticker.

No insurance is required.

No helmet is required for riders over the age of 19.
 
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Knivesarebest

New Member
May 15, 2020
1
0
1
20
Drive Normal and stay off sidewalks and bike paths...

Here is the exact citation in the motor vehicle code...

"257.312a Motorcycle endorsement; issuance, suspension, revocation, cancellation, or renewal; special restricted license to operate moped; requirements; duration; expiration; fees.

Sec. 312a.

(1)

(2) A person, before operating a moped upon a highway shall procure a special restricted license to operate a moped unless the person has a valid operator's or chauffeur's license. A special restricted license to operate a moped may be issued to a person 15 years of age or older if the person satisfies the secretary of state that he is competent to operate a moped with safety. The secretary of state shall not require a road test before issuance of a special restricted license to operate a moped."


The motor vehicle code specifies what safety equipment is required for motor vehicles which include cars, motorcycles, low speed vehicles, mopeds etc.

Headlight requirement....

"257.685 Head lamps; number; modulator; height; auxiliary, spot, or other lamp; exemption.

Sec. 685.

(1)
(2) A motorcycle or moped shall be equipped with at least 1 and not more than 2 head lamps that comply with this chapter."

Brake light requirement...

"257.697b Rear stop lamps.

Sec. 697b.

A person shall not sell or offer for sale or operate on the highways a vehicle manufactured or assembled after January 1, 1965, except those exempted from certificate of title requirements under the provisions of section 216, unless the vehicle is equipped with 2 rear stop lamps except on a motorcycle or moped meeting the requirements of section 697. A motorcycle or moped shall be required to have 1 rear stop lamp."

Horn...

"57.706 Horn or other warning device; siren, whistle, air horn, or bell; theft alarm signal device.

Sec. 706.

(a) A motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet but a horn or other warning device shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle..."
How much does it cost to get an inspection
 

MotoMagz

Well-Known Member
Aug 2, 2010
1,724
878
113
Michigan
$15 for 3 year sticker. I did not get a inspection...and I don’t know if they do or don’t. She did ask me about top speed and if it had gears oh and cc’s. I had a bill of sale for a frame . That’s was a few years back...
 

artmaker

Member
May 30, 2012
70
3
8
Michigan
I live in Michigan and have been riding my motorized bike for several years now. Right past cops many times.
Now just out of curiosity I looked it up. Seems Mi wants you to "register" your bike as a moped. Every three years no less then put some ugly sticker somewhere on your bike. I don't know where, the rear wheel bars are pretty skinny. What kind of sticker are they talking about, who knows. I'm NOT.

Listen, I would LOVE to be dragged to court over this. Back when I first bought my bike I got on a few legal forum boards and this is what the lawyers who posted said.

A bicycle is built AS a bicycle. Adding an assist motor does not change the fact that it is a bicycle.
A moped is manufactured AS a moped and comes complete with the motor already built in, and usually have transmissions etc AND will go much faster than the standard 80cc bicycle. (not by much, not like a car or motorcycle but faster than a bicycle.)
BTW.... a bicycle has a serial number NOT a vin number. Mopeds made after I think it was 1954 have a vin number just like a car.

when I was a kid I would "register" my bicycle in hopes that when it got stolen I MIGHT get it back. (living in Chicago I had a lot of bikes get stolen) Not once did I ever recover a stolen bike. (Well except for one, I saw a dumb kid riding MY bike and happened to be dating a guy who drove an X police car. He shot up on the curb right at this kid and I hopped out ready to pummel his head in. He claimed his brother gave it to him.... yea right. What ever. Got my bike back. But not because it was "registered." I just got lucky.)

So.... someone just take me to court please. I am NOT paying the state to register my bicycle. And so far not a single cop has had an issue with it.
(Note I do wear a helmet and at night I'm lit up like a christmas tree. Plus my top speed is a mind boggling 22mph. lol.