Have you ever gone for a bicycle ride only to wait at a red light that never changes for you because it doesn't sense your presence? I have and I'm guessing you have too. Well, Kansas took a common sense approach to this problem and passed a bill that allows bicyclists and motorcyclists to run a red light if the signal "fails" to turn green after a "reasonable period of time."
The bill leaves the discretion for when to run the light in the hands of the cyclist, but is aimed at ensuring riders don’t get trapped in perpetuity at intersections because of signals that either malfunction or don’t detect the motorcycles or bicycles.
Motorcycle riders testified that their bikes were often not big or heavy enough to trigger the sensors that cause red lights to switch. For fear that riders would have to choose between being stuck on the Kansas tundra or running a light and risking a ticket, they urged the legislature to approve the so-called “Dead Red” bill giving them a free pass. The riders testifying in support of the bill belonged to a group known as ABATE, or A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments.
So, how is this applicable to South Carolina? Those of us that live in the state know that it is full of rural areas where the stoplight sensors are unlikely to be triggered by any other traffic. Additionally, due to our temperate climate many cyclists live in our state and travel our roadways on a regular basis. I think a law of this type would work perfectly in South Carolina. If you do as well, I encourage you to contact your local representatives to urge them to pursue a similar common sense bill here in our great State.
Adam W. Howell, Esquire