Last month we reported on a number of new Illinois laws going into effect. Another interesting new law of note is one that, in certain situations, allows motorcycles and bicycles to run red lights. The law provides that some motorcyclists and bicyclists can, after a reasonable amount of time, proceed through a red light. Although the concept of a “reasonable amount of time” hasn’t been defined, State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) explains what it means in this CBS Chicago article:
A reasonable amount of time, which was not defined in the bill, will be 120 seconds, says Beiser. So two minutes, that’s what we’ve come to agreement on and that was part of the governor’s concern.”
The law is not applicable everywhere in Illinois, however. The law only applies to municipalities with populations with less than 2 million people. So means that Chicago motorcyclists and bicyclists do not fall under the ambit of this new law and may not run red lights.
You might be wondering why Illinois would pass a law such as this one–one that sounds like it will do nothing but increase the likelihood of car accidents. Well, there’s actually a good reason for this law. As explained in the CBA Chicago article, the impetus behind the passage of the law was a flaw in the recognition systems of most traffic lights:
Motorcycles and bicycles often aren’t big enough to trigger magnetic sensors that switch traffic lights from red to green, WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports.
That could mean the riders either break the law and run the red light, or wait until another vehicle comes along.
Let’s hope that Illinois motorcyclists and bicyclists exercise their newfound ability to drive through red lights with great care. Because their vehicles are smaller than cars, it is sometimes more difficult for other motorist to see them. The last thing Illinois needs is an increase in collisions between cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Hopefully all Illinoisans will drive carefully, keeping this new law in mind while keeping their eyes on the road and looking out for those driving through red lights.