Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Allow Cyclists To Ride Through Unresponsive Red Lights

640px-Atlanta_CyclingCreative Loafing reports on the various bills that Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed this year, and it includes a bill that we highlighted here back during the legislative session that would allow cyclists and motorcyclists to ride through unresponsive red lights.

Here’s Governor Deal’s reasoning according to CL…

Veto Number 1

SB 76 Senate Bill 76 would allow motorcycle and bicycle operators to enter an intersection without providing a definitive regard to the traffic signal in instances where the lightweight nature of their vehicle will not activate a traffic-control device. While I am sympathetic to the concerns and causes of motorcyclists and bicyclists, this legislation does not provide an adequate solution and presents a confusing exception to motorists. Furthermore, Senate Bill 76 would eliminate the current 15-inch height restriction placed on motorcycle handlebars. Motorcycles equipped with handlebars more than 15 inches in height pose a safety hazard due to the increased difficulty in steering and decreased control. In 2014, crashes involving motorcycles and bicycles accounted for 13 percent of the fatalities on Georgia roads, and I do not see how this legislation will enhance roadway safety. Therefore, in the interest of providing the necessary roadway safety Georgians deserve, I hereby VETO Senate Bill 76.

Photo “Atlanta Cycling” by Tim – Flickr: Canyon. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

22 thoughts on “Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Allow Cyclists To Ride Through Unresponsive Red Lights”

  1. Imagine if every bill was held to this standard … “In 2014, crashes involving automobiles accounted for 99 percent of the fatalities on Georgia roads, and I do not see how this legislation will enhance roadway safety. ”

    I am not sure how this is a “confusing exception to motorists” given the proviso that there can be no oncoming or cross-traffic for 500 feet. So what motorists is it confusing to?

    1. I’m going to take the Charles Murray civil disobedience approach to this one. If the intersection is obviously clear, I’m going through, even if the light is red. They can’t arrest or ticket everyone.

      1. That was exactly my thought: In light of the Governor’s actions, I guess everyone will have to go back to exercising common sense like they were before.

      2. Shouldn’t this apply to cars as well? If we advocated this law for the bicycles, then why not the cars?

    2. Only possible confusion I could imagine would be for driver sitting next to cyclist – if not paying attention to the light might take cyclist’s movement as a cue to start into intersection.

      1. There would not be an automobile next to anyone in the specific language of the bill. It is precisely because there is no other vehicle to trigger the light the law was developed.

        1. Which specific language? What I read seems to require cyclist to observe red light if vehicles are coming from other directions but doesn’t mention vehicles coming from same direction. Sometimes even heavier vehicles won’t trigger a light change (or the delay is so long that the mechanism appears to be malfunctioning).

  2. i don’t see what the big deal is—everytime my scooter’s at one of those tonnage triggered traffic lights they always change for me.

    oh, wait . . .

    1. What’s really funny is no one informed the governor that traffic signal sensors don’t use weight, they are an electric loop that triggers the light when broken.

  3. Important to note that the bill required that the biker would still have to come to complete stop – not “ride through”.

  4. Does the same apply for an automobile? I’ve been looking through state code and it looks like the only legal course is to park forever in the intersection.

  5. You could always order an Uber to arrive next to you and trigger the light.

    What empty roadways are ya’ll travelling on anyway? If I don’t see a car in 30 seconds in ATL metro I just assume it’s the Rapture.

  6. Does anyone even think that Deal has been on a bicycle in the last 30 years? I’m surprised that his car doesn’t run on steam.


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