Law allows motorcyclist to run stale red lights

By: rexmitchell
January 7th, 2012
8:55 am

Law allows motorcyclist to run stale red lights

In a victory for riders in Illinois, motorcyclists and even bicycles will now be allowed to run a red light when their vehicle fails to trip the sensor. According to CBS news in Chicago, Illinois joined a growing number of states to adopt laws in favor of this solution to an ongoing problem. This issue has been a catch 22 for riders since motorcycles fail to trigger the sensor to change the light quite often. Instead of now being forced to run the red light illegally or wait until another vehicle approaches, motorcyclists will be able to legally run the red light after 2 minutes of waiting. The law does have a catch however; it only applies to cities with under 2 million people, meaning Chicago would not be covered under this law. Hopefully the rest of the 50 states will follow in passing similar laws to ensure riders never get stuck at red lights anymore.

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15 comments on "Law allows motorcyclist to run stale red lights"

  • Dodsfall
    January 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

    You won't have to wait too long for a car to come up behind you at a light in Chicago.

    I'm glad they passed that law here. The arbitrary two minute time limit that will be enforced, but not spelled out in the law, is kind of silly.

    There are very few lights that I have had trouble with, but they are out there.

  • rexmitchell
    January 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Originally Posted by Dodsfall
    You won't have to wait too long for a car to come up behind you at a light in Chicago.

    I'm glad they passed that law here. The arbitrary two minute time limit that will be enforced, but not spelled out in the law, is kind of silly.

    There are very few lights that I have had trouble with, but they are out there.
    I imagine the two minute rule was put into place so that people wouldn't ride up to a red light, stop and then ride through it and say that it wasn't going to change. Otherwise it would make a red light like a stop sign.

  • markk53
    January 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Absolutely. Few light cycles are over 2 minutes here in the Columbus area and those that are have enough traffic you wouldn't have trip issues, except at night and then the trips wouldn't be any issue based on the laws in Ohio.

    In Ohio there isn't a law like Illinois per se, but the revised code requires a trip must pick up any motorvehicle and when you sit over 2 minutes or the ligth actually cycles through without working for your lane, you can treat the light as a stop sign, going through it with caution and yielding right of way to traffic.

    I learned that from an extrememly respected knowledgeable ODOT traffic control engineer (my father and the comments were confirmed at his calling hours by numerout ODOT and ODOT related people), plus I looked it up.

  • Inn_Keeper87
    January 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    My town of Encinitas CA, the # of lights, with sensors that wont pick up bikes, isn't too bad. However, when you do get a light that wont change, prepair to wait, because they wont change until you have a car come and trip a sensor for you.

    There are a couple of tricks you can do to trip the sensors in my town:

    If you ever pull up at a red light, take a look on the ground and see circular cuts in the pavement. That would be a sensor and I believe (If i'm mistaken, please let me know) That picks up electronic impulses from engines. Sometime motorcycle engines aren't big enough to trip these.


    What to do? I have a list of these that i read in someone's blog taht worked for me (Link at the bottom)

    Throw the kick stand down while the bike is running in neutral (if its in gear, most bikes engines will shut off because of a kill switch on the kickstand). Position the bike's kick stand over the circular cut in the pavement (Not in the circle, not out of the circle, but on the line) while the engine is running. This will better trip the sensor and always works for me.

    You Can Rev your Engine, Sending wild amounts of Elcrtonic pulses can trigger a light, I dont use this too often, but sometimes works.

    Call your Street Department and complain. Working at a hotel, the power of complaints is huge. SO KEEP CALLING THEM !!! Fix those lights.

    Flash your Brights Sometimes works if street lights are outfitted with a sensor that'll pick that up... Works well with my gixxer because it has a "pass" trigger button that makes it really easy to rapidly flash the brights.

    If your local area is a real problem, i suggest buying a Red light changer. they are about 30$ I am about to purchase one, so i dont have a review about them.

    I got many of there tips from Friends/Family and this guys blog !! (((Please message me for the link, I'm not yet allowed to post link)))

    (This was suppose to be a small reply, but it seems the i extended it. I might even repost this once in another trend in the forum)

    Get 'em Red Lights !!!!!

  • rexmitchell
    January 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Some sensors are pressure activated while others are magnetic. So far nothing has worked 100% of the time that I have found. I have tried the kickstand method for the magnetic ones with no luck.

  • MikeK77
    January 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Originally Posted by rexmitchell
    The law does have a catch however; it only applies to cities with under 2 million people, meaning Chicago would not be covered under this law.
    So we have to memorize population stats now? LOL

  • rexmitchell
    January 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Originally Posted by MikeK77
    So we have to memorize population stats now? LOL
    I was thinking the same thing. Why the heck would it matter how many people lived in the city in question

  • Dodsfall
    January 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Chicago is the only city in Illinois even near 2 million. The next biggest is Aurora (a suburb of Chicago) at less than 200,000.

  • Nitelord
    January 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I suppose they have to quantify it somehow. With 2 million, there likely isn't going to be a 2 minute wait for another vehicle to trip the light. Also, I'm sure it has some wording in there that says when the way is clear. With 2 million people, you aren't likely going to have a long enough wait to chance pulling out in front of someone.

    Just a guess.

  • croz
    January 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Just the other day I learned there are traffic signals that use a camera as the sensor. I called to report signal that was malfunctioning only in the morning. Turns out it uses a camera and this time of year they sometimes have trouble at that intersection with sun glare on one of the cameras. The traffic engineer said they set up a "box" and when x amount of pixels change in the "box" that is the trigger. He also said they sometimes set up a box within the box just for motorcycles if the regular box is not picking us up. This does not have anything to do with the law, but I just thought it was interesting. Until I called I had no idea that any signals used cameras as the sensors. The engineer told me the cameras need less maintenance than the in-ground sensors.



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