If you've ever ridden on two wheels, the following scenario might sound familiar: You pull up to a red light on your motorbike, scooter, bicycle, what-have-you, and you wait for it to change. And you wait, and wait and wait. The problem is likely that your wheels haven't triggered the sensor embedded in the pavement. So what do you do? Sit and wait some more, knowing that the light won't change? Or go through the red light and risk getting a ticket?

Well, a law under consideration in the state of Illinois could rectify the problem. While some municipalities are working at installing other types of sensors to accommodate two-wheelers, the state legislature is also debating a bill that would allow riders to simply go through the red light in question.

The proposal has been amended to include only cities with less than two million inhabitants, and appears to leave the matter of how long is a "reasonable" amount of time to have waited at the light before proceeding up to interpretation. Of course, traffic conditions would have to allow it as well, but as far as the law's concerned, well... that could be about to change for bikers in the Prairie State.

So what do you think – good idea or bad idea? Cast your vote in the poll below.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 128 Comments
      Wolf
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, this poll question is horribly written. Written as it is, I'd be inclined to say no. However, after reading the full article, it isn't as black and white. It isn't saying that bike riders can just run a red light. Instead, it is really asking if they should be able to go through a non-changing red light when it is safe to do so. For that, I say yes.
        Nevadarain72
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Wolf
        @Wolf: Agreed. Noah, I appreciate that you wrote a post about this, but between the article title and post question, it can be fairly misleading to the folks that don't actually read the post. "It's mostly the guys on sport bikes though. They're the ones that always seem to feel the need to "stunt" down the highway, or see how quickly they can hit 60 (or higher) from a stop sign/light on a residential side street." @Jason: Thank you for generalizing sport bike riders. I REALLY appreciate being lumped in with a small group of idiots. By all means, ignore the fact that there are plenty of responsible sport bike riders, or even that there are similar small groups of cruiser or Harley jerks. /s From the sport bikes to family sedans to pickups, dumbasses drive vehicles of all shapes and sizes...
      Phillip
      • 3 Years Ago
      anybody voting no does not ride a motorcycle. I live in Lake City, Fl and there are several lights that do not sense a motorcycle. Sometimes I make a right on red and make a U turn or turn left into a parking lot to turn around and go where I want to go other times I sit there until traffic backs up behind me. Let them be as aggravated as I am Either let me treat a red light as a stop sign or fix your sensors...
        Anton
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Phillip
        I second that, I live in Champaign IL, sometimes on my way home I have to either make right turns or wait and try to wave some one in a car to pull up close enough to activate the light... This is highly frustrating at 2am in the morning when I get off and the lights are set permanently on red.
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Phillip
        Phillip, I'm from Lake City, FL. Funny thing. I'm living in Korea now. Motorcycles and scooters can run redlights whenever they want here in Korea and never get pulled over for it. Most people who ride motorcycles know that if a car hits them the car will be fine and the motorcyclist will be in serious pain. For this reason, most people are responsible about running redlights. I've fun a million of them and never had a close call due to it. Driving in someone's blind spot is infinitely more dangerous.
      Me
      • 3 Years Ago
      it is funny how people who ride are making reasonable statements and the cagers(people who drive cars) are just make snide comments btw, cager for 35 years, rider for 2 months
      WhoMeWhere
      • 3 Years Ago
      Saying, "riding through a redlight" is a little misleading of a title AB. But using them like 4-ways stop is a good idea at given times. Like empty intersections that refuse to see motorcyclists. Might as well make legal what every motorcyclist is already doing when no one is looking
      Kevlar
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a motorcyclist, one thing I can actually really appreciate about Michigan is that, late at night, many intersections switch from their standard traffic pattern to flashing yellow for the major roadway, and a flashing red for the cross-street (something I rarely, if ever, saw in NC or FL). Cars and bikes alike can cruise down the main thoroughfare without stopping for cross-streets without traffic, and both can likewise do a quick stop and go on the cross-street. Works out better for everyone.
      Dissident
      • 3 Years Ago
      There is a difference between "riding through a red light" and "treating a malfunctioning traffic signal as a stop sign" and that is exactly what a signal light that doesn't pick up a motorcycle is; malfunctioning. If you are in a car and a light doesn't respond, are you going to sit there until a city worker comes to fix it?
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dissident
        actually Dissident, thats not true, the sensors "sense" metal mass....and I regularly stop right on top of the damn things and sit there forever if there is opposing traffic I need to turn across ( left ), and unfortunately the Culprit is right where I get my groceries....it will NOT change until a car pulls up behind me....
          Dissident
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          Pretty sure the sensitivity on them is adjustable, however. There are some that have no problem picking up my supermoto, and others you could park an FJR1300 over that wouldn't even register it...
      Matt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Riding in Alabama I've actually been stuck at a red light on my bike with a cop monitoring the intersection. I sat there for a while because he was in the lot on the corner and I didn't want to run it right in front of the officer, and he eventually flicked his lights on and waved for me to run it. I think most cops understand the problem, especially bike cops, but it's still nerve wracking to have to worry about getting a ticket for something stupid like that. I have to imagine Illinois is passing this law just to clarify the [mostly] understood position that it's ok to treat a light like a stop sign when it's clearly not going to change. The rider will simply take responsibility and liability away from the light, just like a two way stop.
      Stephen Smalling
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe how many No's there are. Clearly many of you don't ride. I don't know if it's legal or not in VA but I know which lights won't change for me on my bike around town so I just treat them like a stop sign unless I see a car coming in my lane that can trip the light. Not going to waste my time. And screw making a right and a U-turn.
        Devonblue4u
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Stephen Smalling
        "Illinois considers letting bikers ride through red lights " Just look at the way Autoblog worded it.. It's worded to make it seem like bikers would ignore the signal and sail through the intersection, and not treat it like a stop sign or delayed traffic control light. I've noted as of late that the articles for bikes have been increasing. And sometimes putting bikes and cars at odds with each other. Like there's a frustrated bike guy on staff.
      Devonblue4u
      • 3 Years Ago
      Up here in Canada, the rule is if it does not change, it is assumed to be broken. It does not assume that we are breaking the law for no reason. Also how would those of you who voted no like to be delayed with those who get stuck on one of these lights? I remember having to wave to people in cars to initial the sensor years ago when they were worse than they are today.
      Sergio A.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wording of the article title and poll is a bit vague and sensationalist. A better option would have been "Illinois law to help motorcycles at red lights". As a rider myself, I have come across this scenario more times than I'd like to count. Thankfully, city/state laws where I live already allow a rider to "run" the red if I've come to a stop, ensured it is safe to proceed, and waited a "reasonable" amount of time. When the city/state is faced with the option of either: A. Changing the hardware and infrastructure to properly support motorcycle detection at lights, or B. Let riders responsibly choose when to proceed through an intersection, it becomes a much simpler decision to make. Especially in the current economic climate.
      SAM
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've run red lights before out of necessity. And by necessity, I mean getting skipped in the light rotation and it has always been while waiting at a left turn signal. There are three options: 1. wait there for eternity and also hold up traffic behind as those cars will be to far back to trip the sensor 2. go straight thereby breaking the law by changing lanes in an intersection and also having to make a U-turn which is more dangerous 3. cut across the lanes to the right to make a right hand turn (which is an illegal maneuver) and then make a U-turn (again, more dangerous than a left hand turn). I'll go with option #1 which is the safest.
      wutname1
      • 3 Years Ago
      We have the Law in minnesota already, basically it states you have to wait a reasonable amount of time and if no cars around your ok to go through the red light.
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