Electric Bikes in Michigan

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  • 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 and on some models can take over completely. To qualify as an electric bike in Michigan, it must meet the following requirements:

    • It must have a seat or saddle for the rider to sit on.
    • 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 electric bicycle on a trail depends on several factors – the e-bike's class, the type of trail, and whether the authority that manages or oversees the trail allows the use.

Classes of Bikes

E-bikes are separated into three classes (1,2 and 3) based on several attributes of the bike, and all e-bikes are required to have a label visible indicating their class. After sale, it is 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.

  • Breakdown of the classes of e-bikes

      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

  • City, county and state roads

    You can ride all three classes of e-bikes on any roads where a non-electric bicycle can be ridden. An individual may operate an electric bicycle 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 and the shoulder.

  • Michigan's linear and rail trails

    Class 1 e-bikes

    You may operate a class 1 electric bicycle on a linear trail that has an asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surface, or a rail trail. A local authority or agency of the state who has jurisdiction over a trail may regulate or prohibit the operation of a class 1 electric bicycle 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 electric bicycle 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 non-motorized. Many hiking and mountain biking trails fall into this category. No e-bicycles are permitted on these trails unless the authority having jurisdiction over the trail has authorized e-bicycles.

  • Breakdown of where you can ride each class of e-bike

      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 non-motorized, 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