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Proposed law would let motorcyclists run red lights [w/poll]

Posted Feb 15th 2013 10:59AM


There is a new law being proposed that would allow motorcyclists to drive through red traffic lights, if the riders have already waited at least two minutes for the light to change. This situation happens more than non-cyclists may realize, say advocates of the proposed law, as some traffic sensors that help coordinate the lights are not triggered by lightweight motorcycles as they are by cars and trucks.

The bill (proposed by Nebraska state Senator Paul Schumacher) stipulates that if there are no other cars around, and if the biker has waited for at least two minutes, it should be legal for them to violate the normal red light provision. Proponents say that this will keep riders from either sitting at a light for long periods of time, sometimes in adverse conditions, or from simply breaking the law out of convenience. Those opposed, including Nebraska's Sheriffs' Association, say that it will be nearly impossible to keep track of the two-minute time, and therefore a difficult law to enforce.

Call us pessimistic, but we've got to wonder how many bikers are sitting at red lights for more than two minutes, with no one else around, right now? Some law-abiding folks there in the American Cornhusker State, we suppose.

Actually, similar laws have been considered elsewhere in North America, already. Back in 2011 the state of Illinois considered a similar measure, for cities with less than two million in population. What say you? Should bikers be allowed to run a red after waiting two minutes? Check in with our poll below after finding out the full story in the following video.

Should motorcyclists be allowed to run red lights after waiting?
Yes276 (36.3%)
No389 (51.1%)
Not Sure20 (2.6%)
Who waits?41 (5.4%)
Don't Care35 (4.6%)

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This type of language, "run red lights" is somewhat inflammatory. Clearly they motorcyclist must still stop, it does not allow them free pass to treat the red like a green. It should read "proposed law would allow motorcyclist to proceed through unchanging red light"

February 19 2013 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd like to see this proposal passed or every single sensor fixed to detect bikes. The former would be cheaper and is not any more dangerous. It simply gives riders a legal means of getting around unchanging red lights. I'd like to hear from the people who voted no to this... seriously, why?

February 16 2013 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SG Newman

"Call us pessimistic, but we've got to wonder how many bikers are sitting at red lights for more than two minutes, with no one else around, right now? "

You're wrong, Autoblog. I have been in this position many times and it's heartbreaking because I want to follow the law but at the same time I know that the light is never going to change because I don't weight enough to trip the change.

For anyone voting "no" to this, I doubt that you actually understand that lights are often controlled by weight-sensing pressure pads on the road, and I would like to see you sit there for several minutes without wanting this rule to change.

I have actually gone through the ridiculous scenario of walking myself and the bike backward, and then doing a right turn, just so I could do a U turn, then another right turn to get back to where I wanted to go.

February 15 2013 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SG Newman's comment

Lights don't use weight, they use inductive ground loop sensors, which detect changes in the magnetic field when a vehicle is above it. The problem is that motorcycles have very little ferrous metals on them, or will stop right in the middle of the loop, not above the sensor.

Makes me wonder if carbon fiber cars have this issue...

February 19 2013 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But everyone, again everyone can do it ...when no one is around...This can\'t be a law!

February 15 2013 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Ferguson

I completely agree with this as well. It seems silly at first but it makes a lot of sense. I usually have to get off my bike and physically push the crosswalk button to get the light to change. I have run red lights before in this situation making sure the coast was clear. I didn't like that I had to do that but no one was in danger and no one was around.

February 15 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I fully support this. As a motorcyclist in Ontario; there have been numerous occasions where I have sat at lights for extended periods of time on my bike waiting at red lights to turn. Often times late at night in less busy/populated areas, in some instances no cars were in the perpendicular lanes, so I was waiting for no one. There have also been similar instances where again, late at night little to no traffic, my bike alone couldn't trigger the ground sensors. However there were cars behind me lined up so I would have to signal the driver behind me to squeeze up behind me, often the are understandably confused, or perhaps nervous.

February 15 2013 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

What about drivers of cars with compatable acceleration as motrbices? Creating exceptions in the law doesn\'t makes it better...And I protest in this regard about the way AB ask the poll question. This guy from Nebraska doesn\'t have my support. There should be more public discussions, at least in Canada!

February 15 2013 at 11:24 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hemusbull's comment

Wow. Just... wow. Go and read the article again as you clearly have no concept of what this proposal is about.

February 16 2013 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply