In Kansas, driving a motorcycle might come with one less annoyance. Lawmakers approved a bill that would allow motorcycle riders to go through red lights if their vehicles aren't heavy enough to trip the weight sensors under the street that change the signal.
It's a better plan than dropping the kickstand and running over to hit the crosswalk button.
The "Dead Red" law passed by the state House this week, reads:
The driver of a motorcycle or a person riding a bicycle facing any
steady red signal, which fails to change to a green light within a
reasonable period of time because of a signal malfunction or because the
signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle
because of its size or weight, shall have the right to proceed subject
to the rules stated herein.
The Wichita Eagle reports that the law wasn't universally
embraced. The paper writes that Rep. Owen Donohoe (R-Topeka)
tried to pull the red-light part out of the law, saying: "I see no
skeletal remains of motorcyclists sitting at red lights that never
Maybe if riders have to wait long enough he will.
For obvious reasons, cyclists were thrilled at the news that they might not have
to risk a fat ticket just to get through an intersection. Jim
Lepisto, owner of Cyclops Cycle in Shawnee Mission, gave KMBC Channel 9 the best quote of
all: "I'm not going to sit there and wait a fortnight for the
light to change. That's looney tunes," he told the station. Fortnight!
Looney tunes! Let this guy run red lights!
The Eagle notes that the bill passed in conjunction with a law
that would prevent local municipalities from slapping drivers with large
fines for failing to wear a seat belt (the current statewide fine is
$5). That has some supporters a little skeptical of its chances in the
Senate. Cyclist lobby group ABATE's John Faber told the paper
that the Senate is "a little more moderate as far as seat belts go,"
which could be the demise of the Dead Red bill. Missouri and a
handful of other states have similar laws.