Pennsylvania has joined 16 other states in recognizing that motorcycles often do not trip the sensors that activate stop lights, mostly in rural areas. The new bill, called "Ride on Red," has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf. It allows drivers to proceed through a red light after pausing to make sure it is safe to proceed without infringing on anyone else’s right-of-way. Now, when a traffic signal is unresponsive to a driver, the driver can legally drive through the red light, rather than waiting at the intersection.
The bill was initially only for motorcycle riders, but was expanded to include other vehicles to allow drivers to legally proceed on a red light safely if their vehicle is not detected by sensors. It was signed into law on July 20 and takes effect around September 18, 2016.
The author of the bill, Rep. Stephen Bloom, said, "Governor Tom Wolf Wednesday signed into law legislation, including provisions, to give motorcyclists and other drivers the option to proceed with caution through an intersection when trapped at an unresponsive traffic light.”
“If the vehicle detection system fails to recognize the vehicle and the driver has come to a complete stop, the driver must then make sure it is safe to continue, and only then would they be able to lawfully proceed with caution through the intersection,” Bloom explained.
“This law does not give drivers a free pass, but ensures a safe and legal option to avoid the danger and inconvenience of being trapped in perpetuity at a locked red light,” Bloom said. “This issue is more common than many people realize, especially on rural roads or during late hours when long periods often elapse before a heavier vehicle comes along to finally trip the unresponsive light.”
Pennsylvania joins a growing number of states, most recently Indiana, that are passing laws to remedy the problem of stop light sensors not recognizing all vehicles.