- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Citing the annoyance of having to endlessly wait for a green light while on a bike or motorcycle, Oregon House lawmakers unanimously passed legislation Wednesday allowing them to turn at a red light if sensors under the pavement don’t flip the signal to “go.”

“On my way home I sat at a light for, OK I’m exaggerating, 17 hours. I sat for a long time, being a law abiding citizen, waiting for the light to change and it would not change, I hated it, it drives me crazy,” said Rep. Bill Post, a Keizer Republican.

Many intersections are embedded with inductive loops, and those use electromagnetic fields to detect when cars are present. But the loops need to be set specifically for bicycles and motorcycles in order to sense them, and most jurisdictions in the U.S. don’t bother with that, said Krista Nordback, a research associate at Portland State University.

So cyclists or motorcycle riders can sometimes find themselves waiting for several minutes at a light while other lanes get the green to go ahead.

Under this bill, they would be able to proceed cautiously through an intersection if they’ve waited through a full cycle of lights without getting a green.

“If you go through one full cycle and the light does not change, you may proceed cautiously through the intersection or make your left turn, or make your right turn, without having to sit there indefinitely for the rest of your evening,” said Republican Rep. John Davis, who carried the bill in the House.

He said research from Idaho shows there hasn’t been an increase in motorcycle or bicyclist deaths since a similar law was put in place.

Similar measures, sometimes known as the “dead red” or “safe red” laws, have been passed in 16 other states, including Washington state in 2014.

House lawmakers approved the measure 55-0 on Wednesday. It now heads to the governor for her signature.


SB 533

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