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Illinois Governor Signs Law that Allows Bikes to Run Lights


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Posted on Jul 11, 2012

Last Friday, July 6th, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved and signed legislation for a new law that allows motorcycles to ride through a red light with a clear roadway “after a reasonable time of not less than 2 minutes has passed without a change in the light,” the Chicago Tribune reports. This new law, which takes effect immediately, finally answers the definition of “reasonable time” that the previous law didn’t specify.

The previous law, filed and signed by Illinois State Representative Dan Beiser in late December 2011, was meant to have the waiting time as 120 seconds but that limit was not defined in the bill’s writing, legally making it up to the operator’s discretion. Governor Quinn vetoed the bill, wanting it rewritten with the time, but lawmakers overruled him, promising to address the issue “in the upcoming season,” CBS Chicago had reported.

As it turns out, the issue has been addressed and the law modified.

Motorcycles as well as bicycles, which are considered motor vehicles and must follow the same if not similar laws as automobiles, are not always detected at stop lights that change at the presence of a car due to their significantly lighter weight.

As per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s May 2012 Wisconsin Motorcyclists’ Handbook, motorcycles may proceed through a red light if the rider reasonably believes the stop lights are not timed and have waited at least 45 seconds with no other vehicles to activate a change and yielding the right-of-way to vehicles that have the green light and pedestrians and bicycles in the crosswalk or intersection. Wisconsin passed this law in 2006.

The personal injury attorneys of Hupy and Abraham are tremendously supportive of motorcyclists' rights and heavily involved in the biking community, including A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois and ABATE of Wisconsin as well as a decades-long campaign to "Watch for Motorcycles."

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham

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