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Kentucky Gives Motorcyclists the Green Light to Run Red Lights

Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Lexington, KY report on Kentucky’s new safe-on-red law.

Anyone who rides motorcycles knows the frustration of sitting at a red light for minutes at a time without getting a green light to go.

This can happen when traffic light sensors underneath the roadway fail to detect a motorcycle, because the bike doesn’t weigh enough or the rider did not pull directly over a loop of copper beneath the pavement installed to control the light.

Under Kentucky’s new safe-on-red law that took effect July 15, motorcyclists have permission to proceed through a red light if they’ve come to a complete stop and waited two minutes or through two light cycles without getting a green light, according to a news report on npr.org.

Kentucky becomes the 15th state to enact a safe-on-red law, allowing motorcyclists to move through a non-responsive red light after they’ve waited for the light to change. The legislature passed the measure earlier this year, and Gov. Steve Beshear signed it into law in early April.

Safe-on-red laws have become popular in the last decade nationwide. Yet the burden remains on the motorcyclist to proceed with care through the intersection only after checking to make sure that there is no traffic coming and the intersection is clear. When the light is red, the motorcyclist still must yield to oncoming traffic.

Motorcyclists sought the change. Kentucky Motorcycle Association member Tim Hammons says motorcyclists often have trouble tripping the sensors on many lights unless large groups of bikers are bunched up together at intersections.

Too often, Hammons says bikers wind up running red lights and risk getting ticketed for a moving violation.

No more, though, under the new law.

While this new law will enable motorcyclists to move through red lights without long waits, it could make motorcycling more dangerous than it already is.

Motorcycles are inherently dangerous because the design provides no protection for the rider in the event of a crash.

Too often, the drivers of passenger vehicles are not attentive for motorcycles and fail to see them. This is especially true at intersections.

Crashes involving motorcycles claimed 87 lives in Kentucky in 2013, a significant decrease from 106 the previous year.  During the last five years, Kentucky has averaged 89 motorcycle fatalities a year, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More than likely, a safe-on-red law wouldn’t be a good excuse for a motorcyclist accident at an intersection, because motorcyclists would be required to proceed with caution and yield to other vehicles and pedestrians, according to an article on BikeBandit.com.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash, contact a motorcycle accident attorney experienced with handling these types of personal injury claims. You’ll need someone to help you navigate the legal system to ensure you receive an award you deserve to cover property damage, injuries, mental anguish and even lost work time.

Enjoy your ride, but proceed with care, especially if you find yourself at a sluggish red light.