A new bill introduced in Pennsylvania’s legislature aims at changing the current laws for motorcyclists and pedalcyclists in regard to red lights. Introduced by Representative Stephen Bloom (R- Cumberland), the motorcycle law has yet to be voted on in either house and is still sitting in committee.
House Bill 950
The name of House Bill (HB) 950 is, “An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes, in general provisions relating to the operation of vehicles, further providing for traffic control signals.” While the act’s name might by a mouthful to handle, the purpose of the bill is relatively simple: the act would allow motorcycles and bicyclists to pass through red lights when safe. As such, the bill has become known as the “motorcycle ride on red bill.”
The Logic Behind House Bill 950
According to the bill’s sponsor, the logic behind the bill is that many intersections in the state, especially in rural areas, utilize vehicle detection systems to initiate a light change. The light weight of a motorcycle might not trigger the light. As such, motorcyclists are often stuck at red lights until a heavier vehicle arrives. As mentioned, in rural areas this can make adhering to the law very difficult, especially if the biker is traveling at night during low traffic periods.
When would motorcyclists be permitted to proceed through red lights?
Again, according to the bill’s sponsor, motorcyclists and pedalcyclists would be permitted to proceed through a red light if “the rider has come to a full and complete stop.” The Pennsylvania motorcyclist would then proceed with caution after making sure it’s safe to continue. Of course, the motorcyclist is the one taking the risk when riding through a red light and even more so if s/he chooses not to wear a helmet. Be mindful of what happens when a motorcyclist suffers brain injuries from an accident in which s/he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
What’s happening with HB 950?
HB 950 has yet to be passed. As of April 10, 2015, the bill was introduced to the Transportation Committee. However, the committee has yet to vote. As a note, the bill is supported by the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Pennsylvania or ABATE. The Alliance is a non-profit organization that focuses on motorcycle safety in the state.
Safe Motorcycling in Pennsylvania
While HB 950 still has a long way to go, if it does pass, it could have a significant effect on motorcyclist safety. Since Pennsylvania does not require adult riders to wear helmets, bikers must take extra precautions when driving around other vehicles. If you have questions about motorcyclists’ rights in the state following an accident, contact Cordisco & Saile LLP at 215-642-2335.