Mini bikes are tiny versions of the larger motorcycles they replicate. A popular version of the mini bike, called a pocket bike, is smaller than a standard mini bike and is popular with young riders. Michigan regulates the use of all types of mini bikes on public roads by determining whether they are "street legal." Street legal machines must meet state requirements for safety and require specific equipment.
Your mini bike, or pocket bike, must have engine displacement of 50 cc's or less and produce braking power of no more than 2 horsepower to be classified as a street-legal moped under state law. In addition, your bike's top speed must not exceed 30 mph and the machine must automatically shift gears to be classified as a moped. If the mini bike fails to meet moped standards, it's illegal to use on the road. For mini bikes with engine displacement of more than 50 cc's, the vehicle must meet motorcycle classification requirements before legally taking to the street.
Your mini bike is classified as a moped if it's designed for a single rider and includes a headlight at least 24 inches above the ground. Handlebars are required 15 inches from the top of a permanently attached regular seat. The bike must have front and rear brakes, a brake light and a horn. Additional equipment must include a muffler and rear-view mirror.
You must acquire a registration decal from the secretary of state and display it on the rear bumper. Mopeds cannot operate on a sidewalk or along a bike path. The state does not require a title or insurance for a mini bike classified as a moped. Mini bikes classified as motorcycles because of their engine size require insurance and a title issued by the secretary of state.
Anyone operating a motorized bike classified as a motorcycle must wear a crash helmet. A crash helmet is necessary if you are under 19 years of age, riding a mini bike categorized as a moped and operating on a public roadway.
Helmets must meet safety standards specified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). You can identify qualified helmets by locating a DOT symbol on the outside of the headgear. Riders should be aware that DOT labeling may be missing from used helmets and should take additional steps to ensure the headgear can provide proper protection.