Local Politics

Bill Would Give Bikers Green Light to Run Red Lights

Posted June 20, 2007 6:08 p.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2007 9:34 a.m. EDT

— State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow motorcyclists to go through red lights without penalty under certain conditions.

Many traffic lights, especially those on little-traveled side streets, are linked to sensors embedded in the pavement that turn the light green when a vehicle rolls up. Because motorcycles rarely have enough iron close enough to the ground to trigger the sensors, state Sen. Austin Allran, R-Catawba, introduced a bill to give bikers the green light to run a red one.

Senate Bill 1359 would allow a motorcycle driver, at an intersection with what are technically known as inductive loop sensors, to go through a red light after waiting at least three minutes.

Kristie Holsclaw, who manages the Steel Dreams motorcycle shop in Fayetteville, said she has had to wait 15 to 20 minutes for a light to change. She said she sometimes has no choice but to rev right through an endless red light.

"I mean, what do you do? Nobody pulls up behind you, (and) you got to go somewhere," Holsclaw said.

The Senate has already passed the bill, and it awaits action in the House. If signed into law, it would take effect Dec. 1.

Motorcyclist Gerald Anderson said he doesn't like the red-light idea.

"What's going to happen, a motorcycle is going to come up to a stoplight, and no matter how long they sit there, they can just look both ways and run it," Anderson said. "We're going to have motorcyclists running stoplights all over town."

The law wouldn't apply to cars or trucks, but motorcyclist Brian Brick said that's fair.

"The lights are flipping for them as they're sitting in their air-conditioned car. They're not in 98 degrees or sitting in the sun or the rain," Brick said. "We're getting stuck at every light."