Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IL Legislators Pass Bill to Allow Bicyclists to "Run" Malfunctioning Red Lights

House Bill 2860 has passed both houses in Illinois and goes to Gov. Quinn for signature. If Gov. Quinn signs the bill it would allow for bicyclists to essentially treat red lights as stop signs in certain circumstances. The goal of the bill was to account for situations where a motorcyclist or bicyclist stopped at a red light that did not change because it was malfunctioning or the weight of the cycle was not enough to trigger the red light to change colors. HB 2860 allows for a cyclists to proceed through the red light after a "reasonable" amount of time and after making sure that traffic was clear. The law requires the cyclist to come to a complete stop at the stop light, just as is required for a stop sign. This law would also NOT apply to the City of Chicago.

The problem with this bill is not in its intent but in the vague concept of a "reasonable amount of time." It would make sense to put in a specific period of time, if for no other reason than to give a guideline to the cyclist. What is reasonable to one rider may not be reasonable to another. Similarly, what is a reasonable amount of time on a desolate, rural roadway may not be reasonable on a crowded suburban intersection during rush hour.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. All initial consultations are confidential and free.