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Washington Considers Letting Motorcyclists Run Red Lights


stop lights

Riders in Washington state who’ve experienced the frustration of sitting at stop lights while the trigger ignores them might not have to wait any longer. A bill has already passed the state Senate that would allow motorcycle riders to run a red light if they’ve sat through one complete cycle waiting for the green.

The argument is that in such a scenario, when there are no other cars to trip the sensors, the motorcycle can treat the signal like a four-way stop sign and proceed when it’s safe. It also makes life easier for motorcycles that are first in line for the intersection with cars behind them whose drivers are getting increasingly frustrated because the bike-blind sensor is holding everyone up.

The Washington State Patrol is against the bill. The WSP says the law will increase accidents and confuse other drivers. But at least seven states already have similar laws on the books. Until yours is one of them here’s what you can do to cut down your wait time at stoplights.

As you slow down for a stop light scan the pavement ahead of you for a series of cuts in the road surface that have been sealed over with tar. This is where the wiring for an inductive loop sensor is buried. The wires create a magnetic field that’s altered when a large object like a car passes through it––think of a metal detector set to detect cars. Some motorcycles and scooters are often too small to activate the sensor. The trick is to stop your bike over or alongside one of the buried wires for maximum disruption of the magnetic field.

The Washington state bill is now on its way to the House, where it’s expected to pass.


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