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Friday, August 21, 2009

Bicycles can run some red lights in Missouri

Starting next Friday, Aug. 28, bicyclists and motorcyclists can legally run -- well, sort of run -- some red lights in Missouri.

The so-called "Dead Red" law (PDF file) signed last month by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to proceed through red lights under these conditions:
  • They come to a complete stop first.
  • The signal continues to show a red light for an “unreasonable time.”

  • The signal is malfunctioning or failed to detect a bicycle or motorcycle.

  • Traffic on the cross street doesn’t pose a hazard.

The Kansas City Star says Missouri will be one of eight states that have similar laws, which are intended to address occasions when motorcycles or bikes aren’t detected by traffic signal sensors in the road.

I live in one of the 42 states -- Illinois to be precise -- that doesn't have the law. It seems like a commonsense approach to me. There are simply a lot of intersections where there's no way my aluminum bicycle with only a small number of steel parts is going to trigger magnetic traffic sensors.

I proceed through those intersections following the steps described above. It sure would be nice to be able to do so legally.

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