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An Overview of Michigan Motorcycle Law


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With thousands of miles of scenic roadways and sparkling shores, Michigan is a motorcyclist’s paradise. In fact, Michigan ranks among the top 10 states for U.S. motorcycle registration. Experienced riders know that taking to the open road on the back of a bike is not without its risks. Because of the higher proportion of registered riders, Michigan also suffers the loss of 121 motorcyclists each year on average. Motorcyclists are more than 26 times more likely to lose their lives in a crash than occupants of passenger vehicles, accounting for around 16 percent of all vehicle fatalities in the state.

While most motorcyclists are conscientious and safe drivers, several accidents occur when the rider takes unnecessary risks. Other accidents can arise from road maintenance issues, including gravel, debris, and potholes on the road. However, the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers of cars and trucks. Careless driving, including speeding, failing to check for motorcyclists before changing lanes, driving while intoxicated, or driving with distractions often lead to serious crashes. Because motorcycles do not provide any sort of surrounding protection to the rider, it is uncommon for a rider to emerge from an accident unscathed. Catastrophic brain and spine injuries, and even death, are unfortunately likely outcomes in these types of cases.

Michigan motorcycle laws are different than in most other states. In Michigan, motorcyclists have the right to carry a no-fault insurance policy on their bike, which can cover their economic benefits if they are ever involved in an accident. If, however, they are involved in an accident with another vehicle (a passenger vehicle or truck) and they do not have this insurance, the other driver’s no-fault insurance covers your losses regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident. Even if the motorcyclist is completely to blame for the accident, they may still be able to obtain compensation for hospital bills, lost income, property damage, and other losses. If the rider is involved in a solo accident and lacks state-mandated minimum liability coverage ($20,000/$20,000 bodily injury and $10,000 property damage), they will not be entitled to any benefits because motorcycles are not considered “vehicles” under state law.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, here’s what you should do:

  • Check to see if anyone is hurt

  • Report the accident to the police and call for an ambulance, if needed

  • Exchange contact and insurance information without admitting fault

  • Take photos and videos of the accident scene and any injuries

  • Clear the roadway

  • Obtain the contact information of any witnesses

  • Get evaluated by a medical professional

  • Keep records of all out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident

  • Avoid giving any information to insurance adjusters

  • Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible

Riders who are injured in motorcycle accidents have the right to seek compensation for losses, which are often extremely costly. If you’ve been hurt, you should immediately seek the help of an experienced attorney who is familiar with Michigan’s unique laws and who knows how to effectively deal with insurance companies. The Detroit motorcycle accident lawyers at Goodman Acker P.C. offer free initial case evaluations, so call us today to get started.

Check back with us soon for the launch of our Motorcycle E-Book this May!