2017-11-09 / News

Electric Bicycles Now Allowed on Trails; Mackinac Island Exempted

The City of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island State Park may continue to regulate electric bicycle use on their roadways under a newly-passed state law that permits them on trails and highways where bicycle traffic is allowed elsewhere in Michigan.

Both the city and state park require a doctor’s note for people to apply for an electric bicycle license. Electric bicycle owners on the Island also must acquire annual bicycle licenses from the police department.

Signed October 30 by Gov. Rick Snyder, three legislative acts making up the new law provide an exemption for the Island, respecting its historic ban on non-emergency motorized vehicles. The measures, Public Acts 138 through 140 of 2017:

Allow electric bicycles, under supervision of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, on trails that have asphalt, crushed limestone, or similar surfaces, but prohibit them on non-motorized traffic trails that have natural surfaces.

Create three classes of electric bikes; define them as non-motorized vehicles similar to regular bicycles; prohibit them from being greatly modified or to produce more than 750 watts of power; prohibit children younger than 14 from using them; and mandate helmets for riders younger than 18 using Class 3 electric bikes, which are capable of speeds reaching 28 miles an hour.

Specify that, as non-motorized vehicles, electric bikes aren’t subject to state no-fault insurance requirements.

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