Mackinac Island's car-less road gets a speed limit

Mackinac Island (Amber Ainsworth/FOX 2)

A road that you can't even drive a vehicle on now has a speed limit.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Monday that adds a speed limit to Mackinac Island's M-185. Under the new law, electric bicycles and regular bicycles cannot exceed 15 mph.

Visitors can get around Mackinac Island by bicycle, horseback, horse-drawn carriage, or on foot. E-bikes are allowed only for people with mobility issues or health concerns, and they can only be Class 1 bikes.

Class 1 e-bikes are equipped with a motor that assists the rider while pedaling, which shuts off if it reaches 20 mph. Class 2 e-bikes with a throttle that operates the motor even when the rider is not pedaling are not allowed. Class 3 e-bikes that can exceed 20 miles per hour are prohibited as well. 


Electric bikes in Michigan allowed on state park trails, other natural surface paths under new order

Two classes of electric bikes would be allowed on trails currently reserved for mountain bikes, though with special permissions.

Though the island has an ordinance preventing certain types of e-bikes, electric bicycles that can reach 20-28 mph have posed safety concerns.

Sen. John N. Damoose (R-Harbor Springs), who sponsored the bill, said it would help keep people safe on the island.

"I spoke with Mackinac Island officials and worked out agreeable terms prior to formally introducing the legislation earlier this year. This was an important update that had bipartisan support all the way to the governor’s desk," he said. "The newly signed law will maintain access for those with limited mobility but will also make sure visitors and residents on the island stay safe and are able to enjoy the unique Pure Michigan opportunities that Mackinac Island has to offer."

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