Illinois New Law Lets Motorcycles and Bicycles Run Red Lights: Sounds Good, But There are Risks


Illinois New Law Lets Motorcycles and Bicycles Run Red Lights: Sounds Good, But There are Risks

Motorcycles are dangerous for those who ride them on Illinois roadways, but there are many people living in Indiana and Illinois and elsewhere that love their motorcycles and believe that riding a motorcycle offers a kind of freedom that cannot be found elsewhere.  For motorcycle riders everywhere, there’s a new law in Illinois that may sound very, very good: now, in Illinois, motorcyclists (and those on bicycles, too) can run red lights.

Run That Red Light in Illinois.  It’s Legal Now.

Effective January 2012, in Illinois a new law has been passed that allows those riding on motorcycles and bicycles to run a red light, but there’s a hitch.  They do have to wait a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.  (Police are suggesting that “reasonable” means two minutes.)

Now, the Illinois Legislature had its reasons.  Motorcycles and bikes will be allowed to run red lights after a “reasonable” time because they don’t weigh enough to be recognized by the the traffic-light sensors.  Which means, until now, they could just sit there at a red light until a car or truck or some sort of vehicle that had enough weight to trigger the sensor pulled up.  Or they could run the red light and hope for the best.

The new law states:

After stopping, the driver of a motorcycle or bicycle facing a steady red signal which fails to change to a green signal within a reasonable period of time because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle due to the vehicle’s size or weight, shall have the right to proceed subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign as required by section 11-1204 of this code.

This is a good thing, makes sense.  It does mean that riders need to be even more vigilant before pulling out into the roadway against that red light.  Motorcycle accidents are often the cause of serious injury or death to the motorcyclist and by taking advantage of this statute, a defense attorney may try and argue in the future that the motorcycle rider bore the risk of his injuries or wrongful death even though a car or truck crashed into him, so the insurance company doesn’t have to pay a claim.

Be careful out there.

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