Are e-bikes allowed on Mackinac Island?

In a word, no. E-bikes are not allowed on Mackinac Island.

But there is an exception: Visitors with a qualifying “mobility disability” may operate Class 1 electric bicycles on Mackinac Island.

You can wade through the legalese of city code to find Mackinac Island’s definition of “mobility disability” and what counts as a Class 1 electric bicycle on Mackinac Island. But here’s the gist:

Mackinac Island has electric bicycles or e-bikes available for rent or you can bring your own on the ferry.

Mackinac Island E-Bike Rules

  • Under Mackinac Island city code dealing with e-bikes, a mobility disability means “a physical impairment that substantially limits the ability of the individual to pedal a bicycle.” As an example, a person who can’t walk 200 feet without stopping to rest. Or a person who can’t walk without the aid of an assistive device. Likewise, certain health conditions also are considered mobility disabilities.

 

  • A Class 1 electric bicycle is a two-wheeled bicycle or three-wheeled tricycle. It has an electric motor of not more than 750 watts. And the motor kicks in only when the rider is pedaling, known as pedal-assist. The bike may not exceed a speed of 20 miles per hour.

 

  • Class 2 electric bicycles with a throttle that operates the motor even when the rider is not pedaling are not permitted on Mackinac Island. Neither are Class 3 electric bicycles that can exceed 20 miles per hour.

RELATED: Get answers to more questions about e-bikes on Mackinac Island

You may wonder why Mackinac Island has such detailed e-bike rules. The goal is to preserve the charm of car-free Mackinac Island while still enabling people with mobility disabilities the chance to explore and enjoy Mackinac Island’s incredible natural beauty.

The terrain on Mackinac Island can be challenging. After all, the high bluffs are what attracted the British to move Fort Mackinac here in the first place! Establishing rules to allow e-bikes for the visitors who need them helps everyone experience the amazing sights and historic landmarks. At the same time, it protects the motor-free character that’s a big part of what has made Mackinac Island so special for more than 100 years.

Mackinac Island has thousands of bicycles on the streets including e-bikes which are permitted for some people.

The e-bike rules are the same within Mackinac Island State Park, which makes up more than 80% of Mackinac Island.

If you have a qualifying “mobility disability” as defined by Mackinac Island city code, then you may ride a Class 1 electric bicycle on Mackinac Island. Otherwise, you can get around on car-free Mackinac Island via three other forms of transportation:

Getting Around Mackinac Island by Bike

Rent a bike on Mackinac Island or bring your own on the ferry boat. Explore All Things Bikes on Mackinac Island.

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Getting Around on Mackinac Island by Horse

Hail a horse-drawn taxi or enjoy a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour. You also can take the reins of a drive-it-yourself carriage or saddle up and ride horseback. Explore All Things Horses on Mackinac Island.

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Horse and carriage is a popular way of getting around Michigan's historic, car-free Mackinac Island.

Getting Around on Mackinac Island on Foot

Mackinac Island is very walkable, particularly in town along the waterfront. Wheelchairs also are available. Explore By Foot on Mackinac Island.

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