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Why Motorcycles in Kentucky Can Get Away With Running Red Lights Now


"Stop, look and listen."

Photo credit: Shutterstock

You've probably experienced the frustration of waiting for an absurdly long red light, even adjusting the position of your car in case you need to trigger the light to change. Now, imagine the struggle of motorcyclists who can't force the triggers due to lack of weight or metal.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

That's why several states have passed laws to allow motorcyclists to run red lights and Kentucky just joined them.

The law HB 370 went into effect Wednesday in Kentucky "[establishing an affirmative defense for an operator of a motorcycle for a violation of entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic signal against a steady red light; establish criteria for an affirmative defense; provide that the affirmative defense shall not constitute a defense to any other civil or criminal action."

WSAZ-TV reported that motorcyclists still are required to stop at such lights and have to wait two minutes before picking up their heels and taking off when safe to cross the intersection.

"Stop, look and listen. Go back to the old saying we learned in school. Stop, look and listen before you do it," Donald "Sly" Green with the Kentucky Motorcycle Association told the news station. "Make sure you're safe and make sure you don't cause an accident."

While some might be wary of the safety aspect of allowing motorcycles to go through red lights, Green told the news station it might actually save some bikers' lives. He explained that some motorcyclists waiting for the light to change have been killed by cars that don't see them before they stop.

"Killed by sitting, just sitting there," Green told WSAZ. "It's a big problem now — very dangerous."

What's more, he said that in the hot summer being able to keep moving as opposed to sitting for long lights will help keep motorcyclists cool.

According to WSAZ, Kentucky is the 15th state to enact this type of law for motorcyclists. has a list of those other states with "safe-on-red" laws.

Watch the news station's report:

(H/T: NPR)

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