Monday, September 9, 2013
Harleys Can Run Red Lights ... Really
Where you can do it. So far North Carolina, Wisconsin, Idaho, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin have joined the red-light running party with laws permitting red light running (and the state of Washington is also considering similar legislation). Wisconsin's red-light running statute, passed in 2006, is pretty typical. Under that statute, motorcyclists and bicyclists can disregard red lights if they (1) believe traffic signals aren't picking up their presence, (2) the intersection is free of cross traffic and (3) they've waited at least 45 seconds.
Why? These laws are derived from a technical problem. Devices that trigger red lights have difficulty "reading" the presence of motorcycles and bicycles. Cyclists are often left standing for long periods, or until a car approaches. Of course, legislators could save a lot of time and paperwork if they handed out one of these to everyone who applies for a motorcycle license. (Here's where to go for more on state motorcycle laws.)