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Travis Baker blogs about the problems and idiosyncrasies of Kitsap highways and byways.
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Motorcyclists get relief from balky red lights

April 17th, 2014 by travis baker

The in basket: From time to time I hear  from motorcyclists who wonder what they legally can do when traffic is light and they are stuck at a red light because the traffic detection equipment isn’t sensitive enough to react to their presence and no larger vehicles show up to trip the light.

I heard on TV news the other day that a new law has been passed and signed by the governor making it legal for motorcyclists to go through a red light after they have waited one complete cycle of the light that didn’t include a green light for them.

The out basket: It’s true, according to the state Legislature’s Web site, and the law will be effective June 12. The new law requires that the movement be made cautiously.

The bill didn’t get through in 2013 but was reintroduced this year and passed.

I’ve always figured if  I was a motorcyclist caught in such a pickle, I’d make a right turn, being careful to signal, especially if I had to pull out of a left turn pocket, then make a U-turn on the cross street and return to the signal. There I could make either a right on red if that’s the direction they wanted to go, or hope the detection equipment is stronger on that side if the signal isn’t still green for that street.

But come June 12, motorcyclists will have the option of waiting a full cycle of the light and proceeding (cautiously) if other strategies fail them.

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5 Responses to “Motorcyclists get relief from balky red lights”

  1. Sam Iam Says:

    Question is, will this new law apply in the City of Bremerton? Will Bremerton’s Police Chief notify REdflex Inc, the foreign, for profit company that owns and operates the automated infraction cameras? Will City Attorney Lubovich take this in consideration or will he continue to push for the profitability of the red light cameras even though they only operate in “color” of law or some such bull $&@$ like the fake judge they hired?
    I have a feeling a few motorcyclist will be sent a few red light tickets and even Chief STRACHAN won’t give a $&@$ about the law because it means big profit for the city and RedFlex Inc despite the law.

  2. Brian Says:

    Well, thank goodness for this. I don’t ride anymore but less than a week ago I saw a motorcyclist leave his bike running in the middle of a left turn lane while he ran across to a crosswalk button and hit it in an attempt to make the light change. I don’t think it would have been legal for him to make a right turn from a left-most turn lane, either.

  3. Grog Says:

    So if there is no traffic and the lights don’t cycle, it would still be illegal to turn (this is the scenario I’ve encountered most frequently). Generally it would be better to be able to treat the lights as non-functioning and proceed when safe yielding to all other traffic.

    Making a right turn from the left lane, or even proceeding straight, isn’t possible in many intersections that have barriers.

  4. Gary Says:

    I can see where this will be abused, much the same as bicyclists who zip through intersections despite pedestrian or vehicle traffic. The intent is good, but as alweays, there will be those who just plow through without waiting a cycle.
    Besides, if the lights are timed, won’t there always be a green light as part of the light cycle?

  5. Grog Says:

    Not all lights are timed, some only cycle if they sense a vehicle. The worst scenario is sitting in a left turn lane, I’ve been stuck for several cycles only to have to turn against a red arrow when it was safe to do so.

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