Electric Bicycles

Under Michigan law, electric bikes or e-bikes are treated like bicycles rather than motor vehicles. There are three classes of e-bikes depending on their top speed and whether pedaling is required.

All three classes are allowed on roads (including bike lanes) and sidewalks. By default, Class I e-bikes require pedaling and have a maximum speed of 20 MPH. They are allowed on linear, straight paved trails such as the Dequindre Cut, though local authorities can change this rule. On the other hand, Class II (20 MPH with no pedaling) and Class III (28 MPH with pedaling) are not allowed on trails by default. Additional e-bike information can be found at detroitgreenways.org.

Bicycles with gasoline engines are deemed motorcycles [MCL 257.31] and are not allowed on the trails or bike lanes.

Class IClass IIClass III
Must have seat and operating bicycle pedalsYesYesYes
Maximum motor power750 watts750 watts750 watts
Motor only assists pedalingYesNoYes
Maximum speed for motor operation20 MPH20 MPH28 MPH
Minimum operator ageNoneNone 14
Helmet requiredNoNoAges 14-18
Allowed on roadways, bike lanes, shoulders, and sidewalksYesYesYes
Allowed on linear paved/gravel trailsYes, but can be regulated or prohibitedNo, but can be authorized
No, but can be authorized
Allowed on non-motorized natural surface trailNo, but can be authorizedNo, but can be authorizedNo, but can be authorized
For the definitive regulations, see the legislation HB 4781, HB 4782, and HB 4783.

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