Motorcyclists who have faced the frustration of sitting at “dead red” lights in Colorado have reason to celebrate! The Colorado State Legislature has passed a bill allowing bikers to proceed through malfunctioning lights. The law takes effect on August 2, 2019. However, as with all laws, there are important details that bikers should be aware of in order to take advantage of this new law properly.
I spoke with Bruce Downs, State Coordinator for ABATE of Colorado, about this new law. Bruce has been an advocate and champion for new red light laws in Colorado and he has many insights about this new legislation.
(If you want to understand this issue better, read an article I wrote about it earlier this year.)
Why Are Dead Red Laws Necessary?
Not only is it annoying for bikers to wait at dead red lights, according to Bruce, it can also be dangerous.
“As we pointed out in testimony, if you’re stuck at a left-hand turn lane and you finally go ahead and make the turn, you’ve made an illegal turn. The other option can be even worse. Sometimes, we have to take a right-hand turn, go down that road and make a U-turn where it’s legal, then go back the other way to cross the intersection. This exposes us to much more danger.”
Senate Bill 19-144
Senate Bill 19-144, titled “Concerning Allowing a Driver of a Motorcycle to Proceed Past a Malfunctioning Traffic Control Signal,” was sponsored by Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D). Bruce summarizes the law like this: “If a light doesn’t recognize a motorcycle, the driver may proceed as though it is a four-way stop or a blinking yellow.”
I wrote a more in-depth article about this new law for Rider Justice, the motorcycle advocacy arm of my law firm, for Colorado motorcyclists.
I am thrilled that bikers now have safer options when stuck at a dead-red light in Colorado. But I’m also curious to know if this law is enforced properly. If you receive a ticket after proceeding through a malfunctioning signal, call or text me today. (303-388-5304) I’d love to hear your story.