Laws

The Michigan Capital Building in Lansing

Nearly all laws related to bicycling are defined at the state level. State law gives local communities limited abilities to regulate bicycles differently through local ordinance, however those regulations must be clearly signed otherwise it is not enforceable.

Detroit bicycle laws?- The?Detroit Greenways Coalition is now maintaining a web page devoted to the bicycle laws within the city of Detroit.

Act 51 of 1951: Section 247.660k Act 51 defines how Michigan’s state fuel tax is distrbuted and used. Counties and cities (but not townships) receiving substantial road funding from this source. One condition is they must spend 1% of that funding on non-motorized transportation such as sidewalks and bike lanes. Unfortunately that spending is not audited by the state. Citizens are able to request that information from their counties and cities to see where the money is being spent.

Michigan’s Uniform Traffic Code (UTC) These are road laws that supplement the Michigan Vehicle Code (MVC). There are drafted by the Michigan State Police and based on the national Uniform Vehicle Code. The State recommends local communties include the UTC in their local ordinances.

Michigan’s Highway Exception How does it apply to bicyclists? A VeloNews article by Robert Mionske JD

Michigan Supreme Court Decision Supreme Court defines/limits scope of exception to governmental immunity

Act 283 of 1909 Public Highways and Public Roads: a large portion of the original provisions have been repealed.

County Road Law: Part of Act 283 of 1909

Excerpt — 224.21 (2) A county shall keep in reasonable repair, so that they are reasonably safe and convenient for public travel, all county roads, bridges, and culverts that are within the county’s jurisdiction, are under its care and control, and are open to public travel.

Act 359 of 1947 The Charter Township Act: allows the regulation of usage for streets, alleys, bridges and public places

Act 170 of 1964 Governmental Liability for Negligence a.k.a. Government Immunity Act

Excerpt — Sec. 2 (1) Except as otherwise provided in section 2a, each governmental agency having jurisdiction over a highway shall maintain the highway in reasonable repair so that it is reasonably safe and convenient for public travel. A person who sustains bodily injury or damage to his or her property by reason of failure of a governmental agency to keep a highway under its jurisdiction in reasonable repair and in a condition reasonably safe and fit for travel may recover the damages suffered by him or her from the governmental agency. The liability, procedure, and remedy as to county roads under the jurisdiction of a county road commission shall be as provided in section 21 of chapter IV of 1909 PA 283, MCL 224.21. The duty of the state and the county road commissions to repair and maintain highways, and the liability for that duty, extends only to the improved portion of the highway designed for vehicular travel and does not include sidewalks, trailways, crosswalks, or any other installation outside of the improved portion of the highway designed for vehicular travel.


The following are highlighted excerpts from Michigan’s compiled laws that regulate bicycles and bicycling. It is by no means complete and cycling may be also be regulated through local ordinances:

MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE — Act 300 of 1949
257.4 “Bicycle” defined.“Bicycle” means a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having either 2 or 3 wheels in a tandem or tricycle arrangement, all of which are over 14 inches in diameter.
257.606 Regulation of streets or highways under jurisdiction of local authority…(1) The provisions of this chapter shall not be considered to prevent local authorities with respect to streets or highways under the jurisdiction of the local authority and within the reasonable exercise of the police power from:(i) Regulating the operation of bicycles and requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee.(3) An ordinance or regulation enacted under subsection (1)(a), (d), (e), (f), (g), (i), or (j) shall not be enforceable until signs giving notice of the local traffic regulations are posted upon or at the entrance to the highway or street or part of the highway or street affected, as may be most appropriate, and are sufficiently legible as to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. The posting of signs giving the notice shall not be required for a local ordinance which does not differ from the provisions of this act regulating the parking or standing of vehicles; nor to ordinances of general application throughout the jurisdiction of the municipalities enacting the ordinances which prohibit, limit, or restrict all night parking or parking during the early morning hours, if signs, approximately 3 feet by 4 feet, sufficiently legible as to be seen by an ordinarily observant person, giving notice of these ordinances relating to all night parking or parking during the early morning hours, are posted on highways at the corporate limits of the municipality.
257.605 Applicability and uniformity of provisions; local laws and regulations; payment and allocation of civil fines; issuance of more than 1 citation; equipment violations; definitions.(1) This chapter and chapter VIII apply uniformly throughout this state and in all political subdivisions and municipalities in the state. A local authority shall not adopt, enact, or enforce a local law that provides lesser penalties or that is otherwise in conflict with this chapter or chapter VIII.(2) A local law or portion of a local law that imposes a criminal penalty for an act or omission that is a civil infraction under this act, or that imposes a criminal penalty or civil sanction in excess of that prescribed in this act, is in conflict with this act and is void to the extent of the conflict.
257.648 Signals for stopping or turning; violation as civil infraction.(1) The operator of a vehicle or bicycle upon a highway, before stopping or turning from a direct line, shall first determine that the stopping or turning can be made in safety and shall give a signal as required in this section.(2) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (5), a signal required under this section shall be given either by means of the hand and arm in the manner specified in this section, or by a mechanical or electrical signal device that conveys an intelligible signal or warning to other highway traffic.

(3) When a person is operating a vehicle and signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the operator shall signal as follows:

(a) For a left turn, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm horizontally.

(b) For a right turn, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm upward.

(c) To stop or decrease speed, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm downward.

(4) When a person is operating a bicycle and signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the operator shall signal as follows:

(a) For a left turn, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm horizontally.

(b) For a right turn, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm upward or shall extend his or her right hand and arm horizontally.

(c) To stop or decrease speed, the operator shall extend his or her left hand and arm downward.

(5) A commercial motor vehicle, other than a commercial motor vehicle in transit from a manufacturer to a dealer, in use on a highway shall be equipped with, and required signal shall be given by, a signal lamp or mechanical signal device when the distance from the center of the top of the steering post to the left outside limit of the body, cab, or load of the commercial motor vehicle exceeds 24 inches, or when the distance from the center of the top of the steering post to the rear limit of the body or load of the commercial vehicle exceeds 14 feet. The measurement from steering post to rear limit applies to a single vehicle or combination of vehicles.

(6) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

257.656 Violations of 257.656 to 257.661a as civil infractions; duty of parent or guardian; regulations applicable to bicycles and motorcycles.(1) A person who violates any of sections 656 to 661a is responsible for a civil infraction.(2) The parent of a child or the guardian of a ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this chapter.(3) The regulations applicable to bicycles under sections 656 to 662 shall apply when a bicycle is operated upon a highway or upon a path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated in sections 656 to 662.
257.657 Rights and duties of persons riding bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating low-speed vehicle.Each person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped or operating a low-speed vehicle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to the provisions of this chapter which by their nature do not have application
257.658 Riding on seat of bicycle, motorcycle, or moped; number of persons; crash helmets; rules; requirements for autocycle.(1) A person propelling a bicycle or operating a motorcycle or moped shall not ride other than upon and astride a permanent and regular seat attached to that vehicle.(2) A bicycle or motorcycle shall not be used to carry more persons at 1 time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
257.660a Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding close to right-hand curb or edge of roadway; exceptions.A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows:(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.(b) When preparing to turn left.

(c) When conditions make the right-hand edge of the roadway unsafe or reasonably unusable by bicycles, including, but not limited to, surface hazards, an uneven roadway surface, drain openings, debris, parked or moving vehicles or bicycles, pedestrians, animals, or other obstacles, or if the lane is too narrow to permit a vehicle to safely overtake and pass a bicycle.

(d) When operating a bicycle in a lane in which the traffic is turning right but the individual intends to go straight through the intersection.

(e) When operating a bicycle upon a 1-way highway or street that has 2 or more marked traffic lanes, in which case the individual may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

257.660b Operation of bicycle upon highway or street; riding more than 2 abreast.Two or more individuals operating bicycles upon a highway or street shall not ride more than 2 abreast except upon a path or portion of the highway or street set aside for the use of bicycles.
257.660c Operation of bicycle upon sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk.(1) An individual operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.(2) An individual shall not operate a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is prohibited by an official traffic control device.(3) An individual lawfully operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk.
257.660d Parking bicycle on sidewalk, highway, or street.
(1) An individual may park a bicycle on a sidewalk except as prohibited by an official traffic control device.(2) An individual shall not park a bicycle on a sidewalk in such a manner that the bicycle impedes the lawful movement of pedestrians or other traffic.(3) An individual may park a bicycle on a highway or street at any location where parking is allowed for motor vehicles, may park at any angle to the curb or the edge of the highway, and may park abreast of another bicycle.(4) An individual shall not park a bicycle on a highway or street in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.(5) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an individual parking a bicycle on a highway or street shall do so in compliance with this act and any local ordinance.
257.661 Carrying package, bundle, or article on bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle.A person operating a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, moped, or motorcycle shall not carry any package, bundle, or article that prevents the driver from keeping both hands upon the handlebars of the vehicle.
257.662 Bicycles or electric personal assistive mobility device; equipment; violation as civil infraction.(1) A bicycle or an electric personal assistive mobility device being operated on a roadway between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.(2) A bicycle shall be equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make the braked wheels skid on dry, level, clean pavement.(4) A person shall not sell, offer for sale, or deliver for sale in this state a bicycle or a pedal for use on a bicycle, either of which was manufactured after January 1, 1976, unless it is equipped with a type of reflex reflector located on the front and rear surfaces of the pedal. The reflector elements may be either integral with the construction of the pedal or mechanically attached, but shall be sufficiently recessed from the edge of the pedal, or of the reflector housing, to prevent contact of the reflector element with a flat surface placed in contact with the edge of the pedal. The pedal reflectors shall be visible from the front and rear of the bicycle during the nighttime from a distance of 200 feet when directly exposed to the lower beam head lamps of a motor vehicle.

(5) A person shall not sell, offer for sale, or deliver for sale in this state a bicycle manufactured after January 1, 1976 or an electric personal assistive mobility device unless it is equipped with either tires which have reflective sidewalls or with wide-angle prismatic spoke reflectors. If the bicycle or the electric personal assistive mobility
device is manufactured with reflective sidewalls, the reflective portion of the sidewall shall form a continuous circle on the sidewall, and may not be removed from the tire without removal of tire material. If the bicycle is equipped with wide-angle prismatic spoke reflectors, the reflectors of the front wheel shall be essentially colorless or amber, and the reflectors on the rear wheel shall be essentially colorless or red. Reflective sidewalls or spoke reflectors shall cause the bicycle to be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet when viewed under lawful low beam motor vehicle head lamps under normal atmospheric conditions.

(6) A person who violates subsection (1) or (2) is responsible for a civil infraction.

257.679a Limited access highway; pedestrians and certain vehicles prohibited;bicycles permitted on paths; violation as civil infraction. (1) A person shall not operate a motorcycle with less than a 125 cubic centimeter engine, moped, farm tractor, or other self-propelled farm implement, nor shall a pedestrian, bicycle, except as provided in this section, or other nonmotorized traffic be permitted on a limited access highway in this state. Bicycles shall be permitted on paths constructed separately from the roadway and designated for the exclusive use of bicycles.(2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.
257.732 Record of cases; … entering abstracts on master driving record; exceptions;(16) Except for controlled substance offenses described in subsection (4), the court shall not submit, and the secretary of state shall discard and not enter on the master driving record, an abstract for a conviction or civil infraction determination for any of the following violations:(d) A pedestrian, passenger, or bicycle violation, other than a violation of section 703(1) or (2) of the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1703, or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to section 703(1) or (2) of the Michigan liquor control code of 1998, 1998 PA 58, MCL 436.1703, or section 624a or 624b or a local ordinance substantially corresponding to section 624a or 624b.
TOWNSHIP ORDINANCES — Act 246 of 1945
41.181 Adoption of ordinances by township board.(1) The township board of a township, at a regular or special meeting by a majority of the members elect of the township board, may adopt ordinances regulating the public health, safety, and general welfare of persons and property, including, but not limited to ordinances concerning fire protection, licensing or use of bicycles, traffic, parking of vehicles, sidewalk maintenance and repairs, the licensing of business establishments, the licensing and regulating of public amusements, and the regulation or prohibition of public nudity, and may provide sanctions for the violation of the ordinances. The township shall enforce the ordinances and may employ and establish a police department with full power to enforce township ordinances and state laws. If state laws are to be enforced, a township shall have a law enforcement unit or may by resolution appropriate funds and call upon the sheriff of the county in which the township is located, the department of state police, or another law enforcement agency to provide special police protection for the township. The sheriff, department of state police, or other local law enforcement agency shall, if called upon, provide special police protection for the township and enforce local township ordinances to the extent that township funds are appropriated for the enforcement. Special township deputies appointed by the sheriff shall be under the jurisdiction of and solely responsible to the sheriff. Ordinances regulating traffic and parking of vehicles and bicycles shall not contravene the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.1 to 257.923.