http://www.wtae.com/news/pennsylvania-law-lets-drivers-run-malfunctioning-red-li

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look out
Member
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Oh man, now these idiots are going to try to use that as an excuse for running red lights! Riders, beware even more so !!


Marko82
Participant
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Link: http://www.wtae.com/news/pennsylvania-law-lets-drivers-run-malfunctioning-red-lights/40833866

HARRISBURG, Pa. —A new Pennsylvania law is giving drivers the green light to run red lights — under certain circumstances.

The bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf takes effect Sept. 18. It allows drivers to proceed through red lights if the light has a sensor that appears to be malfunctioning, preventing the light from turning green.

Republican state Rep. Stephen Bloom, of Cumberland County, introduced the bill at the urging of motorcyclists though it applies to all vehicles. Motorcycles are sometimes too light to trigger the weight sensors embedded in pavement that prompt lights to change.

Bloom says a driver must come to a complete stop and make sure it’s safe to continue before running a stalled red light.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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You’re referring to 75-3112c2.
“Run” might be too strong a word, and if someone is rolling through it at speed, that’s not legal or safe. You’re supposed to treat a malfunctioning red as a stop sign, and proceed when safe to.

As a cyclist, as well as a motorcyclist, I regularly encounter lights that do not detect my presence. By definition, they are malfunctioning. I will go when traffic is clear.

That is not illegal.

This is illegal:


jonawebb
Participant
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You can often trip a traffic light by riding right on the line embedded in the road, which is often visible. I didn’t realize this for a long time; the sensor is usually magnetic (not based on weight as the article says) and the metal in your rim or frame should be to set it off if the sensor’s adjusted properly. You don’t need to have steel rims, aluminum will do.
It’s a nice feeling to have the traffic light flip just for you. But it’s also nice to know that if it won’t flip, you can legally proceed.


edmonds59
Participant
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I thought passing through a red light that seems to be malfunctioning was already part of the law?


jonawebb
Participant
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I read that motorcycle riders have been ticketed for doing that. When they go to court, they can get the ticket voided, but of course that takes their time etc. So they lobbied for this change in the law, to make it clear.
I think we would do well to find issues where motorcyclists and bicyclists have common cause, and work together. Because they seem to have a fair bit of political power.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Some traffic lights work well, some do not. Either end of Perrymont, it cannot detect a motorcycle let alone a bicycle. But the light coming out of Northway Mall to cross Babcock regularly detects my bicycle.

So whether it’s the sensitivity of the original equipment, its configuration, or tuning parameters, it will vary widely by traffic light.


Eric
Member
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I think this law was just a clarification so motorcycles don’t get tickets.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The law is unnecessary. 75-3112c2 already covered it. But hey, I don’t suppose there’s any harm in making things clearer.

I can already think of an exception, though. After 25 years of living at the same address, with the same traffic light at the end of the street, and five years of getting in that left turn lane on a motorcycle on McKnight late at night, I know darn tootin’ well that it’s not going to turn green for me. So if I see that northbound McKnight already has a green, and there’s nobody coming southbound, I see no reason to stop. If the left turn lane (with the malfunctioning sensor) wasn’t there, it would simply be a left turn on a green light with no oncoming traffic.

In daylight, this happens less often because there’s more traffic.


Mick
Participant
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I use this law.

If I’m at a red light and there is threatening traffic (i.e. motor vehicle traffic) behind me, but none coming on the street I’m stopped for, then the light is obviously malfunctioning.

What I do is sanctioned by the law.


Steven
Participant
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75-3112c2 refers to when a “traffic-control signal is out of operation or is not functioning properly”.

Police might reasonably think that a sensor that was never designed to detect anything smaller than a car is functioning properly, since it’s working as designed.

In fact, to me it seems a bit of a stretch to assert that “properly” really means “how it should have been designed to work”, even if some judges have bought that argument. It seems to open some undesirable possibilities. “Yes, your honor, I ran the red, but the light should have been set to cycle more quickly on weekends, and was therefore not functioning properly.”


Mick
Participant
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I’m thinking that any situation where it realistically appears safer to go through a light than wait at it? Is a good rationale for going through.

If I get fined for it, I’d probably pay the fine instead of arguing to a judge.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Well, I myself was rear-ended in broad daylight while sitting out an unnecessarily long light — Federal St southbound onto North Commons — so I totally agree with that. I now treat that light as a stop sign. That morning, after the crash, I called 911 four times and they never responded.


Mick
Participant
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@stu
I called 911 four times and they never responded.

WTF?

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