Mackinac Island reminds visitors: No cars, no trucks ... and no electric bikes

The Detroit News

Mackinac Island officials have a message for visitors hoping to ride electric bicycles on an island famous for being vehicle free: You can't.

"The Mackinac Island Police Department would like to remind visitors, residents, employers and employees that Electric Bicycles are prohibited on the island with the exception of those used as mobility devices for those with mobility disabilities as outlined in the Americans With Disabilities Act," officials said in a statement April 2.

The backside of the Mackinac Bike Barn, on Mackinac Island, July 26, 2020.

All bicycles on the island must be licensed; the island, a top tourist destination in the state, has an e-bike ordinance, and violations can result in a $110 civil infraction citation along with impounding, according to the release.

According to the island website, visitors can use an electric bike "if you are a qualified person with a mobility disability and only if the E-Bike is a Class I electric bicycle."

A Class I electric bicycle is defined as having an electric motor of not more than 750 watts, limited to a top speed of 20 mph and the electric motor must only engage when the rider is pedaling, according to a list of frequently asked questions the police department has compiled. 

The island Police Department and ferry boat operators "will not be issuing licenses for e-bikes outside of the parameters outlined in the Americans With Disabilities Act," officials said.

They noted the island is a top tourist destination from April through November, and its leaders work to keep the locale safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"We also strive to maintain the atmosphere and cache of the island which has been defined over the years both by tradition and state and local statute with the absence of motorized traffic," the officials wrote. "The presence of an ever-growing number of E-Bikes on the island precludes us from providing the safe and enjoyable experience that visitors and residents expect."