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 I||Class II||Class III|
|Must have seat and operating bicycle pedals||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum motor power||750 watts||750 watts||750 watts|
|Motor only assists pedaling||Yes||No||Yes|
|Maximum speed for motor operation||20 MPH||20 MPH||28 MPH|
|Minimum operator age||None||None||14|
|Helmet required||No||No||Ages 14-18|
|Allowed on roadways, bike lanes, shoulders, and sidewalks||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Allowed on linear paved/gravel trails||Yes, but can be regulated or prohibited||No, but can be authorized||No, but can be authorized|
|Allowed on non-motorized natural surface trail||No, but can be authorized||No, but can be authorized||No, but can be authorized|