Kansas House passes “dead red” stoplight bill for motorcyclists, bicyclists

by on February 25, 2011
in Commentary

Have you ever been on the bike, sitting at a red light and anticipating the green, only to sit there… and sit there… and sit there… for minutes on end, realizing that the light is on a sensor and hasn’t detected you? And worse yet, it’s obvious no one’s coming in either opposing direction… but you’re stuck because the only option seems to be to run the light?

Have you ever gone ahead and run the light?

In today’s culture and political climate, you’re more likely to see a personal liberty taken away than restored. That’s why I’m astounded that the Kansas House of Representatives actually approved a measure recently allowing motorcyclists, at their personal discretion, to run “dead red” stoplights.

That’s right, the government decided that motorcyclists were capable of making a decision affecting their own safety.

Here’s a link to the story as run at KMBC, the local ABC news affiliate in Kansas City.

Even more surprising to me is that the state of Missouri has had this provision in place since 2009. Perhaps other states already do as well.

Of course, with such a provision comes the responsibility to use it the way it’s intended. It would not, in my opinion, give bikers the right to treat the light as a stop sign (“stop, look, and go if it’s safe”). It would, however, allow you proceed through an intersection where you’ve been waiting and it has become obvious that the light’s sensor doesn’t detect you.

I would certainly support such a measure were it proposed in the legislative bodies here in my home state, and I’ll be watching with interest to see what happens to the measure in Kansas going forward.


Stoplight photo above is from the Flickr stream of Kris_who.

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4 Responses to “Kansas House passes “dead red” stoplight bill for motorcyclists, bicyclists”
  1. Pam says:

    I believe the state of Minnesota allows for motorcycles to go through an unresponsive red … at least that was what my instructor said in class!!

  2. Rhonda says:

    I have been so there, I remember one particular light in Kansas (funny that it happened to Kansas), I was in a left turn lane and I waited and waited, backed the bike up, went forward, repeat… I edged as far up as I could without going into another lane, hoping the car behind me would get the hint and creep up, but they didn’t move, guess they didn’t want to get to close to that crazy biker chick. I finally gave up, took the left (after the all clear of course), the car moved up and bang, the light changed. I wish all states had that provision.

  3. Twitch says:

    This has happened to me so many times, especially at night when there are just no cars around. Eventually I think we all go anyway, but it’s great that some people have realised our predicament and are finally letting us do it legally in some places.

  4. Billy Jones says:

    As a rider I understand the frustration of these dead lights. Hell, I can’t even get out of my own neighborhood due to one of these lights but it appears to me that we’ve taken a wrong turn. Instead of making it legal to run these lights we should be demanding that the companies that sold our various state and local governments the faulty technology come up with a solution that addresses the Billions in tax payer Dollars that have been spent on a system that has never worked the way it was supposed to work.

    But no, we get the laws changed so the fat cats don’t have to pay back what they ripped-off.

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