The Other Vehicle – The Perplexing Intersection of Motorcycle Law & The Michigan No Fault Act

Michigan rounds out the top 10 in the country regarding the number of registered motorcycles per state with just over 300,000. Of the remaining nine states in the top 10, only Florida (#2 overall) and New York (#8 overall) have mandatory no-fault laws. 

Adjusting for population (Florida and New York have nearly twice the population of Michigan), Michigan has the most motorcycles per capita of all states requiring no-fault insurance with close to one registered motorcycle per 30 persons. 

Of the top 10 motorcycle states that require no-fault insurance, only Michigan allows motorcyclists to claim no-fault benefits from the involved motor vehicle regardless of fault.  Michigan’s no-fault priority statute dictates that when a motorcyclist is injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, the motorcyclist first looks to the no-fault insurer of the motor vehicle (or its operator) before looking to the motor vehicle insurer of the motorcyclist owner or operator (before looking to the Michigan Assigned Claims Facility if none of these options are available).  In other words, as long as a motor vehicle is involved, the motorcyclist has access to no-fault benefits.

As it stands, Michigan motorcyclists are required to pay into the MCCA at the same rate per policy as motor vehicles but do not have to pay for no-fault insurance itself despite having access to no-fault benefits in the majority of motorcycle accidents.  This raises the question of whether motorcyclists should be required to purchase no-fault insurance at higher premiums to offset the frequency with which their claims meet the MCCA threshold or whether they should just be required to pay a higher flat fee to the catastrophic claims fund.  For the time being, Michigan motorcyclists should enjoy this advantage as the no-fault reform pot continues to stir.

For a more comprehensive analysis of when motorcyclists are entitled to no-fault benefits please click here

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