Dead Red Bill

February 24 2011

When we first heard about the Dead Red Bill we thought it was a less popular spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood. The term actually refers to Bill HB2192, which is currently awaiting approval from the Kansas State Senate.


A common frustration for motorcyclists on both sides of the 49th parallel is the automatic sensor used to change – or not change in the case of motorcycles – a red traffic light to green. It’s an all too familiar scenario for motorcyclists who stop at a red light and are required to wait indefinitely for it to change to green. The problem is often traced to a motorcycle’s magnetic footprint being too small to activate the sensors that are often buried in the road surface. The problem is so widespread, some manufacturers offer gadgets that are designed to trip the red light sensors and are attached to the underside of a motorcycle.


If passed, the proposed Dead Red Bill would allow motorcyclists in Kansas to proceed through a red light, providing the signal sensor had failed to activate a green light. Proponents of the Bill, which encompasses scooter and bicycle riders along with motorcyclists, refer to a similar law that has been in effect for several years in the State of Missouri.


It’s unlikely that similar provisions will be made for Canadian motorcyclists. Our lawmakers, more often than not, are motivated by political agendas that punish rather than aid the interests of motorcyclists. When we contacted our local Ministry of Transportation and asked about the red light sensors that ignore the presence of a motorcycle, we were told that they were adjustable and that riders should report the intersection in question. It could be worth the effort to report a problematic intersection that you travel through on a regular basis, but it’s an unrealistic solution for those that you’ll only use once. In the meantime we’ll stick with our combination of making a right turn at offending red lights and then using a u-turn to catch the green going the other way.

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