Mackinac Island, Michigan – over 115 years without cars

Experience the incredible attractions at one of Michigan’s top tourist destinations, Mackinac Island. Where no motor vehicles are allowed and horses and bicycles are the main form of transportation.

Bike culture has recently been booming in the U.S. But there’s a little place in the north that’s been in love with bikes for generations: Mackinac Island, Michigan, a historic tourist destination on the Straits of Mackinac, between Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Because motor vehicles have been banned here since 1898 – more than 100 years – everyone has used bikes for everything a bike can be used for, and for more than you might imagine. Along with multi-season commuting, it’s a place where everyone socializes on bikes, from teens to guys in sports coats.

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In 1898, when cars began to arrive on the streets of America, some cities moved to ban them. As time went by, though, restrictions were lifted and cars took over the country. Except for one place: a quiet town of 500 residents called Mackinac Island, Michigan. In the summer, more than 14,000 tourists invade the town, eager to take a break from busy lives spent next to endless roads and cars. Aside from a couple of emergency vehicles, Mackinac Island is a pleasant place for such a getaway. The city needs to hear a deep-felt “thank you” for its wonderful stubbornness.

When a Mackinac Island resident first saw cars, he called them “mechanical monsters” and soon after, on July 6, 1898, the Mackinac village council outlawed the automobile before these creatures had a chance to spread: “Resolved: That the running of horseless carriages be prohibited within the limits of the village of Mackinac.”

The city has the nation’s only carless highway, the M-185, which stretches 8.3 miles along the picturesque coastline and has no parking lots or gas stations. Jeff Potter in an article about Mackinac, “The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer.” That is true, not to mention the amount of money that residents save by not driving.

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