Motorcyclists allowed to stop and go red lights

Motorcyclists allowed to stop and go red lights »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Attention all drivers: A new state law went into effect last week that could start causing more accidents. Motorcycles can now run red lights after a certain amount of time. KEPR looked into the details of this new law and what it could mean for you.

Kyle Ruby has been riding motorcycles for over two decades. He loves the excitement and the thrill riding gives him, but he's never been a fan of waiting at traffic lights.

"Motorcycles just do not trigger it," he said.

The small lightweight vehicle doesn't set off most sensors. Kyle says some lights are worse than others.

"It's frustrating," he said.

One motorcyclist told KEPR he waited eight minutes at the corner of West Lewis and 20th in Pasco. He says he not only became frustrated himself, but he felt bad for the cars that pulled up behind him.

But that all changed. Just days ago, a new law went into effect in the state of Washington. Motorcyclists are now allowed to run red lights if the light does not turn green after one full cycle.

"If you do it safely, then you'll be fine, just like coming to a stop sign on a road and you check both ways and make sure it's clear for you to go," said Charles Riley, the owner of Full Throttle in Kennewick.

Washington isn't the first state to pass this law. Over a dozen other states have similar regulations, including Arkansas, Idaho and Illinois.

But the new law has its critics. One Washington State Patrol captain doesn't see the need for such a dramatic change. He says there are ways to report faulty traffic lights and that the decision was made based on anecdotal stories from around the state.

Kyle says the new law will make him a more conscious and aware driver, and he hopes the same for others.

"I'm going to take my time and look both ways and be really sure, because there is a potential for an accident," he said. "if you're running a red, then someone else's light is a green, so it's really going to be up to the individual motorcycles to really make sure that no one's coming."

It's important to note this new motorcycle regulation is effective in Washington and Idaho, but not Oregon.