The “Ride on Red” Law: Enhancing Road Safety
The “Ride on Red” law, also known as Act 101, was enacted in Pennsylvania in July 2016 and has been in effect since September of that year. Designed to address issues faced by motorists when encountering unresponsive or malfunctioning red lights, this law provides a solution that promotes safety and efficiency.
Initially, the law primarily targeted motorcycles and bicycles, as these vehicles often go unnoticed by traffic signal weight sensors due to their smaller size and weight. However, recognizing the broader need for such a law, it has been expanded to include all vehicles, even those as unique as horses and buggies. The inspiration behind this legislation stems from the increasing number of drivers experiencing prolonged waits at traffic lights, particularly those driving smaller vehicles. This issue tends to be more prevalent in rural areas and during late hours, when fewer heavy vehicles are on the road.
Leading the charge in introducing this law was Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), who played a pivotal role in addressing the concerns raised by motorcycle organizations. Recognizing the widespread nature of this problem, Representative Bloom proposed changes to ensure practical solutions that prioritize safety. Importantly, it’s essential to note that this law does not endorse reckless disregard for traffic signals.
How does this process function?
When encountering a malfunctioning traffic signal, it is important to know what steps to take. Here’s a guide:
- Green or Yellow Light: Proceed with caution. Exercise awareness of your surroundings.
- Red or Unlighted Light: Treat it like a stop sign. Come to a complete stop, check for incoming traffic, and then proceed when it is safe to do so. Think of it as giving way, just like at any other stop sign.
Remember that there is no specific waiting time mentioned by law for the light to change. The key is to fully stop, allow the light to cycle, and grant you a green light. If your turn is skipped, you may proceed. It is essential to treat the malfunctioning light like a stop sign, ensuring the safety of yourself and others.
It’s worth noting that this law does not apply to lights with longer timer durations.
Previously, it was possible to go through an inoperable traffic light. However, recent legislation has introduced a provision regarding lights equipped with technology such as vehicle sensors. This newer technology caused issues when lighter vehicles failed to activate the sensors, leading to the light staying unchanged indefinitely. To address this, cautious drivers are now allowed to proceed through the intersection after a reasonable waiting period.
For those who want a full understanding of the law, it can be found in the Pennsylvania Code, Title 75, Section 3112, linked here.
In case you come across a malfunctioning traffic signal, remember these steps: fully stop, exercise caution, and proceed only if the light is genuinely not functioning properly. It is also crucial to report the faulty light to city hall or the local police department.
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