'Dead Red Law' in effect; few of us know about it
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:00 AM
A new law that gives Hoosier motorcycle, motorized bike, motor scooter and bicycle riders a break at stop lights is drawing little attention so far, in fact, most motorists are not even aware it exists.
House Bill 1080, known as "The Dead Red Law," took effect July 1. It allows people who operate those vehicles, which usually aren't recognized by the sensors that turn red lights to green, to advance through a red light without breaking the law.
The law will work only if everyone realizes that it isn't intended to allow motorcycle or scooter operators to zip along ignoring traffic lights.
In most cases the issue is motorcycles either are not heavy enough, or don't hit the sensors correctly, to trigger traffic light changes, which can leave riders sitting for long periods at an intersection.
Personally, we don't see what the rush is.
The law states that if one of the modes of transportation approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic control signal, the operator may proceed through the intersection on a steady red signal only if the operator comes to a complete stop at the intersection for at least 120 seconds and exercises due caution as provided by law and determines that it is safe to proceed, much like a stop sign.
Another issue is - until the law is better publicized - how other drivers will respond when they see motorcycle riders going through red lights.
State and local law enforcement need to step up the awareness of this new law.