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Left Turn on Red for Motorcycles in Illiniois

  • If a bill sitting on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk gets signed soon, motorcyclists sitting at red lights that won’t turn green will be able to proceed as if at a stop sign — if no other cars are nearby or going through the intersection, of course.

    Many of us have been at a red light that won’t turn green, but it’s far more likely for those on a motorcycle because the stoplight sensors can’t always tell a vehicle of that size is present.

    Traffic manager Tom Szabo of the Kane County Transportation Department kept a close eye on the bill, HB-2860, as it worked its way through the Illinois House and Senate, which amended it to apply only to cities of less than 2 million people.

    Szabo said the size and weight of some motorcycles makes it difficult to trigger the “loop detector” at intersections that change the signal.

    “The detectors are embedded in the pavement and use magnetic fields to determine the presence of a vehicle,” Szabo said. “Some other intersections use video detection.”

    Failure of a signal change isn’t a major problem in Kane County, Szabo said, but he admits it does occur occasionally.

    “Bicyclists are actually more of an issue, and we want more pedestrian push-button signals for them, but bicyclists tend to not use those anyway,” Szabo said. “There are newer technologies coming to make things safer for motorcycles and bikes.”

    Motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and bicycles don’t weigh enough nor have enough metal to trigger the sensors, so lawmakers felt those vehicles should be able to proceed at a red light “within a reasonable period of time.”

    For motorists and law officials, that could become a bit of a judgment call.

    Not particularly enamored with the thought of something that could cause accidents or allow people to ignore red lights, Geneva Police Cmdr. Julie Nash said she would be “stunned” if the bill is signed into law.

    reprinted from the Daily Herald
    - Story by: Dave Heun

Comments

3 comments
  • Lucky
    Lucky I think this a great, because I for one hate sitting at those lights that just won't change. And I know that as soon as I decide to go through one, the flashing lights will come on behind me.

    Just be sure if you do have to pass through a red light that...  more
    August 3, 2011
  • MiParamedic
    MiParamedic That would scare the daylights out of me. I understand the train of thought behind it, but you ever ridden in Detroit?????
    August 10, 2011
  • midlifecrises
    midlifecrises It only makes sense to stop and then proceed after a reasonable wait if the light is not changing.
    September 28, 2011