Fourth of July weekend marked the effective date of the “dead red” law, passed by the Kansas Legislature in April 2011. The law allows motorcycles to drive through a red light after waiting a reasonable period of time for the light to change.
The law is aimed at keeping motorcyclists from getting stuck at lights that won’t change because their bikes aren’t heavy enough to trigger the light sensors in the street. The law went into effect statewide but the city of Wichita has not adopted the law as part of its municipal code. This means that motorcyclist in Wichita are still subject to getting ticketed if caught driving through a red light.
Lt. Doug Nolte of the Wichita police stated that officers are expected to take a “common sense approach” to enforcement. Nolte further added that officers do not expect motorcyclists to sit at a red light for 20 minutes:
“We have to give people the opportunity to go through,” Nolte said.
Officer Nolte has had experience with “dead reds” from riding his own motorcycle. He usually waits until he is sure the signal has gone through a full cycle before he proceeds carefully through the intersection – which is the basis of the new law.
“Dead reds” are considered a diminishing problem in Wichita with the city’s increased use of motion-sensing cameras to trigger signal lights. Biker Mike Benson says he has encountered plenty of dead reds, including two near his home.
Rider Elliot Funk, said that “dead reds” are also dangerous. If a rider sits still in traffic for an extended period, drivers of cars and trucks might not notice a stationary cycle increasing the chance of an accident.
“Being able to run it, if it’s not picking you up, is probably a good move for safety,” he said.
Metier Law Firm – Denver Accident Attorneys