A new state law that allows motorcyclists to run red lights under certain conditions makes sense. But bikers have to be extra cautious in using the privilege.
Motor-cyclists have long complained that they have been stalled at stoplights because their motorcycles are not heavy enough to trip the devices that trigger green lights. The weight- and mass-sensitive devices are set to respond to the presence of a car or truck, not a lighter-weight motorcycle or scooter.
The change in the law, which took effect May 27, is similar to ones in effect in several other states. The law allows bikers to proceed through a stoplight after waiting two minutes and making sure traffic is clear.
Bikers say the law will be especially useful at night, when traffic often is lighter, and they are caught at a red light on a lonely street. We suspect that many auto drivers have run red lights under the same conditions, even though their vehicles are heavy enough to trip the green-light mechanism.
We also suspect that many bikers won't wait the required two minutes, and that some will fail to look both ways before proceeding through a red light. That could have serious consequences.
The change in the law calls for increased vigilance on the part of all drivers. Bikers need to make absolutely sure the coast is clear before running a red light, and drivers of cars and trucks need to be on the lookout for any two-wheeled vehicles when going through an intersection.
It seems likely that this law will simply legalize what most bikers are doing already. And, as long as everyone is careful, it shouldn't drastically increase the road hazard.
Motorcyclists need to use extra caution when taking advantage of new red-light law.