Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Know the Laws in Michigan

While it’s important for every motorist to know the rules of the road, it’s especially important for motorcyclists. The margin for error on a motorcycle is much slimmer than it is for other types of vehicles. Understanding the applicable state laws and safety regulations can be the difference between life and death. In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, here are three important Michigan motorcycle laws every rider should be aware of.


In order to legally operate a motorcycle within the state of Michigan, riders must have a valid “CY” motorcycle endorsement on their license. There are two ways to obtain this endorsement. A rider can get an instruction permit after passing an eye test and a written exam. The instruction permit allows them to practice under the supervision of a licensed rider before they are able to pass a skills test through a third-party test administrator, who will then certify the rider to the state. Alternatively, riders can choose to take a certified motorcycle safety course and then do the written and vision test to get the CY endorsement.


In 2012, Michigan repealed its mandatory helmet requirement, meaning riders can legally ride without a helmet. However, a rider can only go without their helmet if they are at least 21 years old, have had the CY endorsement for at least two years, and have $20,000 or more in first-party medical benefits. Although it may not be legally required, it is strongly recommended that a helmet be worn at all times when operating a motorcycle.


Motorcyclists in Michigan must have liability insurance coverage at all times. At the very least, riders need personal liability and property damage (“PLPD”) insurance. PLPD coverage is mandatory. It covers accidents that result in death or bodily injury to another party or damage to property where the rider is at fault. Riding a motorcycle without the proper insurance can be charged as a misdemeanor.

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