Motorcycle bill might invite more accidents
Monday, February 04, 2013 10:00 AM
A bill before the Indiana House is an accident waiting to happen ... Literally.
Anyone who drives a vehicle has sat frustrated waiting for a red light to change. For motorcyclists and other riders of two-wheel vehicles, the wait can be even more frustrating.
That's because many traffic signals change when a weight sensor is activated, the motorcycles and scooters don't have enough weight to trip the sensor and change the light.
The legislation which has been introduced by Rep. Mike Karickhoff authorizes the operator of a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motor scooter or bicycle to proceed through the red light if they wait 120 seconds. The law requires the operators to yield the right-of-way to other traffic and use caution when proceeding through an intersection.
The bill has been assigned to the Roads and Transportation Committee of the Indiana House.
Anyone see a problem here?
As one would expect, motorcycle proponents support the legislation. They argue that it is frustrating to sit waiting for a light to change when nobody is around. But car drivers experience the same frustration.
Here are some of our concerns:
If an accident were to happen would the state prosecute the other driver?
Could a police agency legally charge a rider with disobeying a traffic signal if an accident were to occur - even if the rider waited two minutes?
If the driver of a car proceeds through a red light after waiting two minutes, would the driver receive a citation?
Steve Luce, executive director of the Indiana Sheriffs' Association agreed that the new law would be difficult to enforce.
"This would be difficult to enforce and very hard to decide when a violation occurs," Luce told the Associated Press. "We do recognize there are many who use bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles as a means of their transportation."
We know most motorcycle riders are responsible and would respect the law. But we fear that for some riders that 120 second would become 90 seconds, then 60 second and eventually little more than a rolling stop ... after all, nobody would be around to see it, right?