Dead Red for motorcycles & bicycles passes (again)

SB 368, the "Dead Red" law that allows bicycles and motorcycles to proceed through traffic signals when they fail to change as they should, has passed the Missouri General Assembly (again) on the final day of this year's session.

Update: Governor Jay Nixon signed this bill into law on July 9th, 2009.


KY3.com gives this summary of the legislation:

Under the bill, those on bikes [motorcycles or bicycles] would have a defense for running a traffic signal that has been red unreasonably long.

To qualify, the rider must have come to a complete stop and the intersection would need to be clear. It also needs to be shown that the traffic signal was malfunctioning or failed to detect the waiting vehicle.

So keep in mind that this is not carte blanche to just blow through red lights to your heart's content.

Nor is it license to proceed through red lights after stopping briefly.

This is really just for those cases when the light is supposed to change for you and just isn't doing it. In that case you can proceed through the intersection, when safe.

This should also bolster our case for getting cities, counties, and MoDOT to fix traffic signals so that they properly detect bicycles and motorcycles. Almost all traffic signals can be adjusted to detect bicycles--Columbia has been doing it routinely as part of the GetAbout Columbia project.

A quick message or email thanking Senator Bill Stouffer, sponsor of the bill, for including bicycles in this legislation would be very appropriate (phone (573) 751-1507 or email bstouffer [at] senate.mo.gov).

(The bill previously passed as part of an over-arching Transportation Omnibus bill, HB 683. However legislators like to pass non-controversial bills like this as separate bills if they can, to avoid any technical problems--or a possible veto--of the much larger omnibus bill.)

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