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September 23, 2014

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New law lets cyclists go through stalled red lights

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AP Photo/K.M. Cannon

Motorcyclists drive past Harrah’s casino in Laughlin on the final day of the River Run motorcycle gathering April 28, 2002.

A law taking effect Tuesday allows riders of bicycles and motorcycles — which don’t always activate sensors that change traffic signals — to proceed through stalled red lights when it’s safe.

But authorities insist it’s not a free pass to blow red lights.

The Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 117 this year to fix a problem bikers and cyclists were experiencing with new traffic signals.

Motorcycles, bicycles, scooters and three-wheeled vehicles lack the metal surface area of cars and trucks and don’t always trigger sensors to activate signals, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson said.

Here’s how the new law works:

Drivers of two- or three-wheeled vehicles must make a complete stop at a red light. If two complete signal cycles occur without a green light, the drivers can proceed straight or turn left while yielding to pedestrians and other traffic.

Bikers and cyclists may not proceed or turn left if other signs at the intersection prohibit motorists from doing so, authorities said.

Assemblyman Richard Carrillo said the law was necessary to accommodate a growing number of people using bikes, motorcycles and scooters because of high gas prices. About 12 other states have similar laws, he said.

“We feel this law will alleviate their frustration while allowing them to travel more efficiently, more responsibly and without unnecessary delays,” Carrillo said.

The Nevada Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety have embarked on a campaign called “Safe on Red” to educate motorists about the law change. Eighteen billboards in Las Vegas will carry the message.

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