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New law allows motorcyclists to pass through red lights

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Updated: 9/25/2013 6:10 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Under a new law about to take effect in Nevada, motorcyclists will be allowed to go through red lights.

Traffic light sensors don't always detect motorcycles and riders can find themselves waiting for a car to trip the sensor.

Some don't wait.

They run the right light and now they have the law on their side.

No one likes waiting at red lightsm but for motorcyclists, a 60-second red light can turn into a three or four minute wait.

But starting Tuesday, riders will be allowed to ignore the red light as long as they've waited at least two light cycles.

The roaring engine of a motorcycle is the sound of freedom for Jeff Mattison.

When Mattison jets around the city on his motorcycle, traffic signals sensors don't always detect his bike waiting at a red light.

“It's Las Vegas and when it's 100 degrees or 110 degrees and you have to wear helmets, you get a little hot, the bike is kicking out heat, yeah it gets frustrating,” Mattison said.

When Dennis Haecke finds himself stuck on his motorcycle at a red light, he gets creative.

“Most of the time if you're by yourself late at night, I end up getting off my bike, walking over and hitting the walking button,” Haecke said.

Starting next week, Haecke and other motorcyclists won't have to trigger a green light to pass through an intersection or make a turn.

Under a new law people on motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, and tri-mobiles can wait for two traffic light cycles and then legally move through the intersection when the light is red.

“I love it. There’s a lot of lights that don’t change in this town,” Haecke said.

When David McDonough isn't fixing or selling bicycles at broken spoke bike shop, he's out on the open road.

“Right now, the cyclists a lot of times will wait, one or two times and then they just run it anyways,” McDonough said. “You can get a ticket for it and I’ve had a friend actually get a ticket for that. I think it was close to a couple hundred dollars for it.”

Under the new law, which takes effect October first, riders must come to a full stop before entering the crosswalk or intersection
Assemblyman Richard Carillo co-sponsored the bill and says it comes down to safety.

“Now at least we can go, and go safe on red, without concerns of it being illegal and also again, making sure it’s a safe approach before we go through the intersection,” Carillo said.

As for how this new law will be enforced, Metro police say an officer must observe the violation in order to issue a ticket if a person disagrees with the violation, they can take the case to court.

As for Nevada Highway Patrol, they say it may be a challenge to prove someone didn't wait through two light cycles before running a red light.

-- Kelsey Thomas, KSNV News 3
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