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Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: Should Bikers be Allowed to Run Red Lights When Stopping at a red light for a reasonable amount of time?

Several states have adopted legislation that allows motorcyclists to run red lights, and it looks like others may soon follow suit. Though it sounds dangerous and somewhat silly at first, the law would actually make a lot of sense: Many motorcycles aren’t big enough to trigger the sensor which some places use to change a light from red to green. Because of this, riders are often forced to sit and wait at a light until a car or other larger vehicle comes along before they can continue on their way.
“Cars and trucks have no problem (with the sensor at stop lights), but motorcycles have always been an issue,” said Bob Peters, the Sheriff’s Deputy of Crawford County Kansas, where running red lights is legal. “You may be on a section of roadway where you may wait for five minutes and there may not be other traffic along to trigger the sensor.”
The laws have been controversial nearly everywhere they were proposed, with some people saying that whether or not it was legal to run the light should be decided by the police in the event that someone gets pulled over, and others arguing that the new law would only cause more accidents.
“I see no skeletal remains of motorcyclists sitting at red lights that never change,” one Republic lawmaker told The Wichita Eagle.
Overall the idea seems to have the support of lawmakers, and it certainly has many proponents in the motorcycle community. I know that there have been times in small towns where I’ve waited at lights for nearly ten minutes waiting for another vehicle to come and let me through, and most of my friends who ride have been in similar situations.
Even though the law has passed in several states, there are some provisions that limit where and how it can be used. For instance, in Illinois, the law only applies to municipalities with fewer than 2 million people, meaning it wouldn’t affect larger cities like Chicago. Also, in most states, although it’s stated directly in the law, legislators have stated that they believe a reasonable amount of time to be two minutes. The law would also apply to bicycles and scooters.
If you happen to live in a state where this law has been enacted, it’s important not to abuse it: Make sure you wait the full two minutes at the light, and give proper attention to the intersection you intend to cross; otherwise the consequences could be severe.
Share your thoughts – do you agree with these new laws?
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