Michigan Motorcycle Resources
When the weather is nice, more motorcycles are on the road and more opportunities for disaster. Know the facts and keep yourself safe so you can enjoy the road. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a motorcycle accident in Michigan, call our office immediately at 855-647-4337 before you speak with the insurance company.
Nearly half of all motorcycle driver deaths involve just the motorcycle and no other vehicle. This proportion has remained largely unchanged over time. Speeding and alcohol use contribute to many of these fatal single-vehicle crashes. In 2012, 47 percent of the 1,893 motorcycle drivers killed in single-vehicle crashes were speeding, and 43 percent had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
Crashing into a fixed object is a bigger problem on a motorcycle than it is for other vehicles. In 2012, 22 percent of motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with fixed objects, compared with 16 percent of passenger vehicles in fatal crashes.
In 2012, 40 percent of two-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.
From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Used with permission.
When operating your motorcycle, you are entitled to use a full lane.
Freeways or Limited Access
Motorcycles with engines smaller than 125 cc are not allowed on freeways or limited access highways.
Safety Equipment on the Motorcycle
Your motorcycle must have the following equipment, which must be in good condition: front and rear wheel brakes, headlight, taillight, stop-light, muffler, horn, rear-view mirror, and permanently attached seat.
Your motorcycle handlebars must be positioned so that there are no more than 15 inches between the lowest point of the (unoccupied) seat to the highest point of the handle grips.
Signaling is both a courtesy and a legal requirement. Before stopping, turning, or changing lanes, see if it is safe. Then, communicate to other drivers by giving the required signal, either by using your left hand and arm or an electrical turn signal device. Start your signal at least 100 feet before you turn. In heavy traffic or on freeways, signal sooner so drivers behind you have time to change their speed or position. Make sure your turn signal light has stopped blinking after you have turned.
The proper hand and arm signals are: left arm and hand bent up for a right turn; left arm and hand straight out for a left turn; and left arm and hand bent down for a slow or stop.
Michigan law now allows motorcyclists to decide for themselves, if certain conditions are met, whether or not to wear a helmet.
To legally not wear a helmet, a motorcycle operator must:
- Be at least 21 years old.
- Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits.
- Have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.
The law also allows for motorcycle passengers to not wear a helmet. Passengers also may not wear a helmet as long as they:
- Are at least 21 years old.
- Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance in addition to the insurance that is required of the motorcycle operator.
A person younger than 21 years old still must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation when operating or riding on a motorcycle. The requirement that an individual younger than 19 years old must wear a helmet if operating a moped on a public roadway is unchanged.
- Check your insurance policy for how much coverage you have for any custom parts and equipment (CPE) you have added to your bike.
- Make a list of all those custom parts and keep all receipts in a safe place. The insurance company may ask for proof of the improvements you have made before they are willing to pay.
- Take photos and keep them with the receipts.
- If you are unsure as to how much your policy will cover, call your insurance company. You don’t want to come up short if you get into an accident and your bike is damaged.
- If the value of your CPE is greater than the amount of coverage you are carrying, then purchase additional insurance.
Having adequate insurance for your bike will give you peace of mind as you enjoy the open road. Most importantly, stay safe!
Motorcycle Rider Skills Test
Safe riding requires knowledge and skill. To earn your endorsement, you must pass both a knowledge test and on-cycle skills test. These tests cover information, practices, and ideas from the Michigan Motorcycle Operator Manual. For example, you will be tested for your ability to:
- Keep yourself and your motorcycle in safe condition
- Accelerate, brake, and turn safely
- Help others see you and to help you see and communicate with them
- Adjust speed and position to changes in traffic and riding conditions
- Stop and turn quickly to cope with problems while riding.
To take the rider skills test, you must have a legally equipped and registered motorcycle. If you ride the motorcycle to the test, you must have a valid motorcycle temporary instruction permit and be under the constant visual supervision of a licensed motorcycle operator at least age 18. A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet is required to be worn during the test.
Passing the Rider Skills Test
The motorcycle operator skills test authorized by the Secretary of State has exercises to test your ability to handle a motorcycle. You do not drive on the road. The 3-wheel rider skills test is different than the 2-wheel rider skills test. The exercises may include:
- Engine stall: This is scored during the entire test. Points are assessed each time you stall the engine during any exercise.
- Cone weave: You must weave though a series of cones.
- Right turn from a stop: You take off from a stop making an immediate right turn.
- U-turn: You must make a left U-turn in a marked area.
- Quick stop: You accelerate along a straight path. At the end of the path, which is marked by cones, you must stop your motorcycle as quickly and safely as possible.
- Obstacle swerve: You accelerate along a straight path. At the end of the path which is marked by cones, you must swerve to avoid an obstacle line and then swerve again to avoid the sideline.
In Michigan, all driving skills tests are offered through a statewide network of public and private third party testing organizations approved by the Secretary of State. The Michigan Department of State is committed to assuring that tests are given only by qualified persons trained to administer the tests in a fair, honest, and reliable manner.