Nebraska state Senator Paul Schumacher has proposed a bill that would allow motorcyclists to drive through red traffic lights, if the riders have already waited at least two minutes for the light to change. This situation happens more than non-cyclists may realize, say advocates of the proposed law, as some traffic sensors that help coordinate the lights are not triggered by lightweight motorcycles as they are by cars and trucks.

The bill stipulates that if there are no other cars around, and if the biker has waited for at least two minutes, it should be legal for them to violate the normal red light provision. Proponents say that this will keep riders from either sitting at a light for long periods of time, sometimes in adverse conditions, or from simply breaking the law out of convenience. Those opposed, including Nebraska's Sheriffs' Association, say that it will be nearly impossible to keep track of the two-minute time, and therefore a difficult law to enforce.

Similar laws have been considered, and passed, elsewhere in the country already.

Call us pessimistic, but we've got to wonder how many bikers are sitting at red lights for more than two minutes, with no one else around, right now? Some law-abiding folks there in the Cornhusker State, we suppose.

Actually, similar laws have been considered, and passed, elsewhere in the country already. Back in 2011 the state of Illinois proposed a similar measure for cities with less than two million in population. That proposal became law at the start of 2012. In 2008, South Carolina passed a law that allowed motorcyclists to proceed cautiously through a red light that was not sensing the bike and rider, as well. In fact, according to a report from USA Today, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Idaho, Arkansas, Tennessee and Minnesota have similar regulations, all being applied to the law books in the last decade or so. Clearly, Sen. Schumacher is not alone in his thinking here.

But if our own recent poll regarding motorcycles and lane splitting is any indication, the larger issue of allowing two-tiered laws, for motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles, is rather hotly contested. Autoblog readers came out to a virtual, eh, split, on the lane splitting issue: 45 percent of respondents saying that it made sense as a policy, and 49 percent claiming it a dangerous practice.

What say you? Should bikers be allowed to run a red after waiting two minutes? Check in with our poll below after finding out the full story in the following video.





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  • 452 Comments
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anyone who says "no" to this is an idiot that has never ridden a motorcycle. Most lights are fine, but some older setups that haven't been updated in forever will not be triggered by the motorcycle. This is not the fault of the motorcyclist, and having a bike as my daily driver for about 16 years now please tell me what you think the good alternative is? Its 3AM and I'm coming home from work... should I wait 30 mins for another car to pull up behind me? Should I make an illegal U-Turn at the light and try to find some route home that doesn't involve traffic lights? Common sense people... fix the lights, or legalize running a red after waiting 5 mins without a signal change.
        Ducman69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        And just to add to that, yes, I understand budgets are tight and we are talking about a crapton of lights all fixed at a union-labor speed and wages (millions of dollars and years to get to all of them). Legalizing this costs *nothing* and fixes the issue immediately, and this is really only an issue when traffic is very light anyway (if the intersection were crammed with vehicles, one of the other cars would trigger it for the bike).
      Rayvan
      • 1 Year Ago
      So, 62% of the votors thing that the motorcyclist should simply sit there until.......???? Really?
        Curtis
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rayvan
        I can only assume that these people think motorcyclists are just "running" the lights, rather than treating them like stop signs after a reasonable amount of time waiting. Nobody is rolling through lights without regard, no motorcyclist would do such a dumb thing if they valued their life.
        mostchillininsc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rayvan
        It's an auto site with many folks who don't appreciate or even in some cases, hate motorcycles. I'm not surprised one bit frankly. Disclaimer -- life long motorcycle rider, collector and lover of all things with with wheels and a motor...
      RobGcf
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is another perfect example of both the ignorance and selfishness of motorists. If you've never ridden a motorcycle, you really have NO CLUE what it's like to deal with red lights. Most of the time it's not a big deal; they change when they're supposed to. But sometimes you find ones that just won't cooperate. It's because the sensors in the road don't pick up the bike for whatever reason. In these situations, your only real choice is to run the light. In fact, in the Basic Rider Course that most people take to get licensed, this situation is covered. They even say that if the light goes through two cycles without changing, run it. All this proposed Nebraska law is trying to do is provide a little bit of help to the motorcyclist in case a cop wants to be an ass.
      carboy55
      • 1 Year Ago
      All of the people who voted \"no\" have obviously never been stuck at light that operates on a trip switch riding a bike that isn\'t heavy or metallic enough to trip it - with nobody coming for hundreds of yards in either direction.
      Poe
      • 1 Year Ago
      We've had this law in SC for a few years now and believe it or not, it hasn't resulted in chaos... no increase in accidents... no outlaw bikers recklessly running lights just for he heck of it. It HAS allowed riders like myself to avoid getting stuck at lights whose inductive loop triggers don't detect motorcycles. It's a good law... it works well in SC and should be passed in NE.
      domingorobusto
      • 1 Year Ago
      My vote would be yes. Every rider has found that one light that won't pick up a bike, so you just sit there waiting for nothing for 10 minutes until you get fed up and run the light. I've encountered lights that seriously will NEVER change for a bike. You shouldn't be forced into the choice of literally waiting forever for the light to change when it won't ever change or potentially getting a ticket because of a failing inherent to the equipment. Yes, enforcement is going to be very difficult, but SOMETHING needs to be put in place, because this is a widespread and repeated issue.
      Arturo Rios Jr.
      • 1 Year Ago
      This happens to me mostly everytime when I want to make a left turn in a light. If there is no car behind or ahead of me, the light will never turn green. I have indeed run plenty of red lights but I am always careful that no cars are coming my way. Waiting at the lights for a long period is pretty frustrating. I a glad someone is bringing the issue up.
        cdwrx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Arturo Rios Jr.
        This is what common sense riders would do. The problem it solves is when Johnny Letterofthe Law fines you, not because he should, but because he can.
          mail4warding
          • 1 Year Ago
          @cdwrx
          don't like the law, vote out your legislator, or else leave the jurisdiction.
      Adam
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think its a slippery slope but I still think that the law should be allowed. If the bike doesnt trigger the sensor and they aren't on a timer they are supposed to sit there for hours? As long as its treated as a stop sign i dont see the problem.
        EXP Jawa
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Adam
        Here, what instructors teach is to turn right on red, then turn around, and turn right on red again if necessary. Not as convenient as treating the red light as a stop sign, but it does allow the rider to circumvent the issue in a legal manner. As a former motorcyclist and frequent bicyclist, I run across this issue all the time. In fact, there\'s an intersection on my ride to work that the combination of me and my Surly never trip the light on - even if I push the crosswalk button - so I typically have to wait for a clearing and just pedal through...
      Ryan Schneider
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a motorcyclist, the law is pointless either way. If I'm sitting at a red light and know that my bike isn't tripping the sensor and there is no traffic around, though it I go. Now if we could only get lane splitting legal in more states, including here in FL....
      Neez
      • 1 Year Ago
      Something needs to be done about this. They design roads with only cars in mind, it's more than just an annoyance. I'll admit i've broken the law numerous times after waiting over a minute at a light, i'll go ahead and run it.
      graphikzking
      • 1 Year Ago
      Guys - funniest story ever.. my buddy got a ticket for going through this one red light at like 2 in the morning.. so at that intersection we never ran it again. About 6 months after, I stopped and put the bike in neutral and waited. I seriously waited probably about 30 seconds.. cop drove by.. and then I kept waiting and I think I dozed off.. about 7-8 minutes went by... and I see flashing lights. The cop must have went and got coffee (1:30AM) came back and saw me still there, asked me why I didn't move. I told him, "my buddy got a ticket here not long ago and I didn't want one so I'm waiting". His response - "all of us know this light doesn't change, wonder what a**hole gave him that ticket" and then he said a cops name. I'm not sure if that was the one that gave him a ticket, but he told me to go, so I went. Just stupid. People that vote down on this haven't read the article OR have never ridden a bike. I'd honestly say less than 2 minutes if it's 2 lane crossing or less. If it's more than 2 lanes, then wait 2 minutes. Usually if you follow the law everyone should be safe and happy. In this case if we wait possibly hours, then we could run out of fuel waiting for a light.
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't this same law already in effect in Illinois? All this says is that if a motorcycle or bicycle fails to trip the sensor and there are no other cars around, the driver can treat the light as a stop sign and proceed with caution. People here seem to be imagining bikers running red lights and causing accidents, but all it is doing is making something legal that many probably already do and would probably never get ticketed for: proceeding with caution at an empty intersection when a small vehicle doesn't trip the sensor.
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