The Red Light Won’t Turn Green – What Can A Motorcyclist Do?

Motorcycle leather glove on hand brake Harley Davidson

If you ride a motorcycle, you have probably had this happen to you: You come to an intersection and stop for the red light. There are no other cars or vehicles stopped at the light with you, so you patiently sit alone at the light and wait — and wait — and wait even longer. The light will just not turn green. You try rolling back a little, then forward a little, but nothing happens.

As a team of avid motorcyclists, our attorneys from Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci know how frustrating this situation can be. You think to yourself: “Do I wait for a car to come up behind or next to me to trigger the signal, so it turns green?” “How long do I have to wait?” “Should I run the red light? If so, will I get a ticket?”

All of these are valid questions. The problem is that some traffic lights, especially those in rural areas or lightly travel roads, operate by detectors called inductive loops that are built into the asphalt to sense when a vehicle is present. But inductive loops do not always sense the presence of a motorcycle due to its lighter weight, and therefore does not trigger the light to change. So, what can a motorcyclist do?

In Missouri, the law (RSMo. § 304.825) states that any motorcyclist or bicyclist is allowed to enter or cross an intersection against a red light if:

  • Motorcyclist or bicyclist has completely stopped;
  • An “unreasonable” amount of time has passed in waiting;
  • System defects or an inductive loop trigger seems to be the cause of the unreasonable wait; and
  • No other vehicle or pedestrian is approaching the intersection to risk a crash as the motorcyclist or bicyclist enters.

Unfortunately, the law does not define what is an “unreasonable” period of time. Is it a minute? Seven minutes? Close to an hour? You have to use your discretion and better judgment to make that decision.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest waiting at least one minute. Wait even longer if there is a lot of traffic crossing the intersection from other directions. Most importantly, make sure no other vehicles or people are approaching so near that there could crash into you when you cross. If the light is green in their favor and red in your direction, you will almost certainly be at fault if there is a wreck, but even worse, you or someone else could be injured. Be safe and always wear a helmet.

When you need legal guidance or representation for a motorcycle accident claim in Missouri, choose our law firm first and foremost. We are known far and wide for our commitment to our clients and our extensive history of successful case results. Call (833) 600-0125 to schedule a free initial consultationtoday.


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