Why South Carolina and Other States Have Red-Light Laws for Motorcycles

The state of Nebraska is debating whether to allow motorcyclists to proceed through red lights when sensors can’t detect their presence on the road. Nebraska’s bill, LB 85, is in response to the reality that traffic weighing less than 1,000 pounds may not trigger the magnetic reaction that directs traffic lights to change.

Nebraska State Senator Paul Schumacher proposed this bill, which would permit riders to drive through red lights after waiting at least two minutes. In addition, Schumacher recommends that no other cars be present before any motorcycle moves through a red traffic signal.

The bill has received criticism because opponents feel the law would be difficult to enforce. According to those who disagree with the bill, police officers would not be able to monitor the two minute time requirement.

However, Nebraska is not the only state that has proposed such a law. In fact, South Carolina has given motorcyclists this type of discretion with red lights since 2008.

South Carolina’s Law

South Carolina enacted S.C. Code 56-5-970, which lets drivers of motorcycles, mopeds and bicycle riders advance through intersections with steady red lights under two conditions. First, the driver must come to a full stop at the intersection for at least 120 seconds. Second, the operator should treat the traffic control device as a stop sign and show care before continuing down the street or road.

South Carolina is among several states that have created red-light laws for motorcyclists. Other states include North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri.

General Criticism of Red-Light Laws

Although a number of states recognize red-light laws for motorcycles, critics have voiced concern for making such an exception in traffic laws. The concern is that allowing motorcycles to bypass red lights could lead to an increase in traffic accidents. During the first nine months of 2012, 113 people died in motorcycle accidents in South Carolina, an increase of more than 10 percent from a year earlier, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Liability may be more difficult to prove when a motorcycle runs a red light and a collision occurs. Since there is no proof that the motorcyclist waited the required amount of time for a light to change, it might be problematic when it comes to deciding fault.

Need Legal Help?

Motorcycle accidents can occur in a split second, especially at intersections and if a motorist is not paying attention. If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Carolina motorcycle accident due to somebody else’s negligence, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm.

Whether you need guidance on accidents involving traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or some other type of injury, call 888-594-7738 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.