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How old does a child have to be to ride a motorcycle in Michigan?

January 21, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

I recently received a common question as to the legal age a child must be to ride a motorcycle or ride on an adult’s motorcycle.

Q. What age does a child have to be to ride on their parents’ motorcycle? There are too many laws!

A. Well, there may be too many laws, but the point of this law in particular is it is to protect you and your child. (Of course, that certainly WAS NOT the intent when our state repealed the motorcycle helmet requirement law, but I digress).

In Michigan, there is no minimum age for a child to ride on a motorcycle as a passenger, subject to one exception based on size rather than age:

MCL 257.658a states “A passenger shall not ride on a motorcycle unless his or her feet can rest on the assigned foot rests or pegs except…due to a permanent physical disability.”

As for applying for a motorcycle endorsement, teens must be at least 16 years old, and:

  • Possess a valid Level 2 or Level 3 Graduated Driver License.
  • Successfully complete an approved motorcycle safety course.
  • And pass the written knowledge test administered at a Secretary of State office.

For more info, take a look at our blog post on minors on motorcycles.

As an attorney who has probably litigated more motorcycle accident crashes than any other in this state over the past 20 years, I would advise parents to use caution on what age to allow their kids to ride powerful motorcycles. The statistics – especially with younger and more inexperienced riders who are attracted to SuperSport, or “crotch rocket” motorcycles – show a far greater risk of serious injury or death. It’s a subject I’ve been interviewed about by national news. In my opinion, there’s no substitute for experience and judgment.

And that, dear parents, most often comes with time.

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