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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Indiana Becomes the Latest To Allow Motorcyclists To Run Red Lights

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Last month Indiana joined several other states with the passing of a law you might not have heard of – “dead red” law. The bill allows motorcycle, moped, and bicycle riders who fail to trigger a traffic signal at an intersection to drive through a red light, as long as the rider first stops for two minutes and then proceeds cautiously. Until now, motorcyclists left waiting at a light that had not triggered because of a signal malfunction or the signal failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle because of its size or weight, were left with a few choices, according to State Representative Mike Karickhoff (R).

  • Disregard the signal
  • Wait for a car to pull up behind them and get on the scale. But, this meant the motorcyclist had to pull into the intersection to make room for the car.
  • Make a right turn and drive out of their way until they could turn and go back the other way.

Other states that have made it legal for cyclists to proceed through a red light if the signal doesn’t properly cycle include:

Allowed to proceed with caution, after coming to a full and complete stop

  • Arkansas

Allowed to proceed after 1 cycle of signal

  • Idaho
  • Washington

Allowed to proceed after 2 cycles of signal

  • Kentucky
  • Nevada

Allowed to proceed after 45 seconds

  • Wisconsin

Allowed to proceed after 90 seconds

  • Utah

Allowed to proceed after 2 minute wait

  • Illinois, except in Chicago
  • South Carolina

Allowed to proceed after a 3 minute wait

  • North Carolina

Allowed after 2 cycles of signal or 2 minutes

  • Virginia

Allowed to proceed after a “reasonable” time period

  • Kansas, except in Wichita
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri

Allowed to proceed “when safe”

  • Tennessee

Allowed to proceed after making a complete stop and if no other motor vehicle or person is approaching the roadway

  • Oklahoma

What happens if a motorcyclist runs a red light and hits someone? Obviously the intersection wasn’t clear and the biker should not have proceeded. The “dead red” law would not be a valid excuse and the motorcyclist would be liable for damages.

What do you think about “dead read” laws? Are they allowing motorcyclist to take unnecessarily risks? How do you think it will affect the safety of all motorists?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.