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mscuddy 02-23-2011 11:19 AM

Kansas allows bikes to run red lights
Kansas House Approves Bill Allowing Motorcycles to Run Red Lights

Published February 23, 2011
A red light camera setup is shown Wednesday Sept. 29, 2010 in Los Angeles. An audit by the Los Angeles city controller finds that red-light cameras haven't shown to improve public safety. The audit released Wednesday blames police for not adequately compiling statistics at the 32 intersections where red light cameras are installed, making it difficult to conclude whether they are effective. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Ever been itching to run a red light that just won't change? Kansas lawmakers think motorcycle riders should be able to do just that.

The Kansas House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow bikers to run a red light if the signal "fails" to turn green after a "reasonable period of time." The proposal leaves the discretion in the hands of the motorcyclist, but is aimed at ensuring riders don't get trapped in perpetuity at intersections because of signals that either malfunction or don't detect the motorcycles.
Motorcycle riders testified this month that their bikes were often not big or heavy enough to trigger the sensors that cause red lights to switch.

For fear that riders would have to choose between being stuck on the Kansas tundra or running a light and risking a ticket, they urged the legislature to approve the so-called "Dead Red" bill giving them a free pass.

The riders testifying in support of the bill belonged to a group known as ABATE, or A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments.

"Cars and trucks have no problem with it, but motorcycles have always been an issue," Crawford County Sheriff's Deputy Bob Peters said, according to Fox 14. "You may be on a section or roadway where you may wait for five minutes and there may not be other traffic along to trigger the sensor."

Though Peters supported the bill, it was opposed by Kansas police organizations that want their officers, not motorcycle riders, to have the discretion. One Republican lawmaker unsuccessfully tried to strip the red-light provision, saying, "I see no skeletal remains of motorcyclists sitting at red lights that never change," according to The Wichita Eagle.

The bill passed the House Tuesday as part of a broader road safety package. The other component in the package would prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing extra fines on drivers for seat-belt violations. The bill kept the statewide fine at $5 -- that would eventually rise to $10 or $60 depending on the severity of the violation.
The language in the motorcycle bill also covered bicycle riders.

Easy Rider 2 02-23-2011 04:36 PM


Originally Posted by mscuddy (Post 256093)
Kansas House Approves Bill Allowing Motorcycles to Run Red Lights

Ever been itching to run a red light that just won't change? Kansas lawmakers think motorcycle riders should be able to do just that.

You would think that somebody would pick up on the obvious in what sounds like and extended discussion like this but you never know.

MOST states already have a law on the books that allows vehicles to treat a malfuctioning traffic control device as a stop sign......and proceed when it is prudent and safe to do so. That applies to ALL vehicles. Maybe Kansas doesn't have that but I'd be somewhat surprised if it doesn't. Early electro-mechanical stop lights were prone to "stick" with some regularity.

Morbo the Destroyer 02-24-2011 06:40 AM

My friend Mike and I took a side-street on our bikes early one Sunday morning. We came to the light and waited. And waited. Virtually no traffic in either direction. We waited easily 5+ minutes. Finally I told Mike, "I'm just going to run it."

We waited till there were no cars in sight, eased through the light, and started heading for the Turnpike. Got about 2 blocks and we were pulled over. That cop was the stupidest waste of meat I ever spoke to; I kept saying "you must have seen us waiting there." All he would say was "you ran right through that red light!

Finally he calls his boss, who comes along with yet another cop car. We stood in the church parking lot going around and around for half an hour. Finally the genius Sargent decided to "let us go."

pplassm 02-24-2011 07:05 AM

Yes. Unbelieveable as it seems. In some states (VA is one), if you treat a signal that will not respond to your bike as broken, you are still guilty of running a red light. Happen freequently on my DRZ400.

There is a similar bill here in VA headed for the governor's desk for signature.

I haven't been as lucky as Ken with getting tickets for it, but I've ridden through my share of "broken" lights.

schizuki 02-24-2011 07:07 AM

On my "good ideas that I never get around to actually doing" is this: copying the relevant section from the state's traffic laws that deal with faulty signals. I've got several sensor-tripped lights on my nightly commute that I treat as stop signs. I really should have a laminated copy of the law to show Officer Friendly.

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