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With New Law, Illinois Motorcycles May Run Red Lights


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Posted on Feb 28, 2012

Some riders get stuck at a red light that is set to turn green once magnetic sensors detect a vehicle. Bicycles and some motorcycles, however, may not weigh enough to be detected, so the rider has to wait until another vehicle comes along and sets off the sensor—or run the red light and risk getting ticketed.

Late last year, after hearing testimony from a motorcycle advocacy group lobbyist, the Illinois legislature passed a new law for motorcyclists and bicycles. As of January 1, 2012, when stopped at a red light, a motorcycle or bicycle may proceed through the intersection. The law pertains only to municipalities with fewer than two million people, so Chicago is notably excluded.

Unfortunately, the Illinois motorcycle law doesn’t specify just what a “reasonable amount of time” is.

According to news reports, Governor Pat Quinn tried to veto the bill, saying it was dangerous to motorists because of its vagueness. The Governor was concerned that a “reasonable amount of time” could mean different things from one county to another and even from one person to another. He urged a change in the language of the bill to include a specific amount of time. The House and Senate both overrode his amendatory veto and passed the bill as originally written.

State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) says, “A reasonable amount of time, which was not defined in the bill, will be 120 seconds. So two minutes, that’s what we’ve come to agreement on and that was part of the governor’s concern.”

The personal injury lawyers the Gurnee office of Hupy and Abraham advise you to use extreme caution when exercising your rights under this law.

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