Legislation Would Let Some Legally Run Red Lights

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January 20, 2006
A red light means stop, but it could soon mean pause. A bill in the South Carolina Senate would allow drivers to go through a red light legally if they’re riding a motorcycle. But as News 12 reports, bikers in Aiken don’t think this is such a good idea.

A new law could mean South Carolina motorcycle drivers can go through a red light. It’s more convenient, but it could also be more dangerous.

The coolest ride on the road may become even cooler with the ability to break the rule of the red light.

The problem is motorcycles aren’t heavy enough to trigger some traffic lights to change from red to green.

“The motorcycle really doesn’t have a lot of steel on it. Nowadays it’s a lot of plastic and aluminum and nowadays it just doesn’t see the motorcycle,” Bob Hinds said.

Bob Hinds is a motorcycle safety instructor. He rides about 100 miles a day and runs into plenty of lights his bike won’t trigger.

“The most direct route to work for me has one of those lights on it,” Hinds said.

But Bob is against the proposed law. He doesn’t think it’s safe.

“There are other ways to work around the issue,” Hinds said.

When Bob’s bike won’t trigger a light, he takes a right turn, takes a different route, or even calls the city to fix the light.

Under the new law, bikes would be required to stop for at least 20 seconds and could only go through the red light after looking around for a clear intersection. But that still doesn’t sit well for some car drivers.

“I really think it’s a bad idea. As a matter of fact, South Carolina needs to address the issue of having motorcyclists wear helmets,” said Karen Lehrhaupt, driver.

“A red light means a red light. If you’re gonna have a law, stick to it,” said Robert Cook, driver.

The red light bill has support from Republicans and Democrats, but hearings to discuss this proposal in the senate have not yet been set.