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It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Michigan. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here).

This is a general overview of Michigan’s bicycle laws. To see them in their completion, please visit Michigan’s Department of Transportation. Feel free to reach out to Bike Law’s National Director Rachael Maney for further information.

Right to the Road

Bicycles are not defined as vehicles but generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers.

Where to Ride

  • Bicyclists are required to ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, when riding at a speed less than traffic.
  • Full lane use is allowed when traveling at the normal speed of traffic or there is no traffic, preparing for a turn, overtaking and passing, avoiding hazards or unsafe conditions, traveling in a lane too narrow to share, and avoiding a mandatory turn lane.
  • Bicyclists may, but are not required to, utilize any usable path for bicycles that has been provided adjacent to a roadway.
  • Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks but bicyclists must yield to the right-of-way of pedestrians and give an audible signal when overtaking and passing pedestrians. Check local ordinances for variations on this rule. 

HOW TO RIDE

  • Bicyclists shall not ride more than two abreast.
  • Bicyclists are required to slow down and come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic devices signaling red.
  • Bicyclists must signal when turning or coming to a stop.

Bicyclists Overtaking Cars

Bicyclists on roadways must exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.

Cars Overtaking Bicyclists

Motor vehicle drivers are required to pass bicyclists with at least three (3) feet of clearance. In cases where three (3) feet is impracticable or in a no passing zone, the motor vehicle driver must pass at a safe speed and distance.

Equipment

  • At night, a bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet away and a rear red reflector visible from 100 to 600 feet away. Additionally, a rear red lamp, visible from 500 feet, may be used.
  • Every bicycle must have brakes which enable the bicyclist to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

Prohibitions

  • Clinging to motor vehicles while bicycling is not permitted.
  • A bicycle may not carry more than the number of persons for which it is designed.
  • A bicyclist may not carry a package that prevents both hands from remaining on the handlebars.
  • Bicyclists may not ride on limited – access highways.
  • Bicyclists may not park their bicycles on a highway or street in a manner which obstructs the movement of legally parked vehicles.