ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
​Constantine, Mi. 49042

​Phone: 269 435-2058

Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976

            I hope that everyone enjoyed the hot Summer that Mother Nature has provided us with to ride and looking forward to a hospitable and colorful Fall.  The weather this time of year provides not only an opportunity to ride our motorcycles but also to ride other vehicles such as mopeds.  I wanted to use this opportunity to be sure that all readers who own both motorcycles and mopeds understand the legal difference between the two for purposes of Michigan’s No-Fault law, in case you are in an accident with one or the other.

            A motorcycle is defined under MCL 500.3101(3)(g) as “a vehicle that has a saddle or seat for the use of the rider, is designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, and is equipped with a motor that exceeds 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement. For purposes of this subdivision, the wheels on any attachment to the vehicle are not considered as wheels in contact with the ground. Motorcycle does not include a moped or an ORV.”

            MCL 257.32b defines a moped as a “2- or 3-wheeled vehicle which “is equipped with a motor that does not exceed 100 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface.” and “Its power drive system does not require the operator to shift gears.” 

            The reason such a distinction is important for purposes of the Michigan No Fault law is because if a rider is operating his/her own motorcycle and the motorcycle is not insured, the rider is disqualified from receiving no fault benefits in the event he/she is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.  However, Michigan law provides that a moped is not required to be insured.  MCL 257.801e(1).  Thus, if a rider is operating his/her own moped, and is involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, such rider is entitled to no fault benefits regardless of whether the moped is insured or not.

            The practical effect of this is I have had multiple cases where my client has been injured while riding what may look like a motorcycle but is legally categorized as a moped.  In some of these cases, the no fault insurance adjuster has advised the rider that the vehicle he/she was operating was a “motorcycle” and denying the rider no fault benefits for failing to have insurance on the vehicle.  Riders who don’t understand the legal difference between a moped and a motorcycle may not understand the categorical error that the adjuster is making and will thus go without the no fault benefits they are otherwise entitled to. 

            Thus, it pays to understand the legal definition and differences between a motorcycle and a moped, so you will understand your legal right to no fault benefits if you are injured while riding a moped.     

As always, if anyone has any questions or if I can be of legal assistance to you or anyone you know dealing with this issue or who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I deal with these types of claims on a daily basis on behalf of injured motorcyclists statewide.

Further, if you would like to have me come out to your Region to speak or give a presentation on the legal rights of an injured motorcyclist or on any specific topic that your region may be curious about, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (248-569-4646) or shoot me an e-mail at Dondi@buckfirelaw.com.  I give presentations to Regions state-wide and there is never a charge associated with having me out.  I enjoy having the opportunity to come out and meet motorcycle enthusiasts from all parts of our State!  

shifting gears

Dondi Vesprini dondi@buckfirelaw.com

Phone: 248 569-4646