May 20, 2010

MN Cyclists get Red Light Law

Fuck Yeah!!!

This is so rad, of course there are rules as this law was originally written for motorcyclists and not bicycles.

Here is the info from

Unchanging Red Light Law

On April 16th the Governor signed a bill that included bicycles in the Unchanging Red Light Law. However, it is not legal for bicyclists to run red lights!!! If you choose to enter or cross an intersection against a red light you have an affirmative defense with the police or court if necessary (they can dismiss or not charge you) if you:
1. Stop!
2. Wait!
3. Determine the light is not going to change.
4. Look both ways and yield to the traffic with the green light!

the exact language is as follows: Minnesota Statutes - 169.06 SIGNS, SIGNALS, MARKINGS.
Subd. 4.Obedience to traffic-control signal or flagger; presumptions. (a) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device applicable thereto placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer, subject to the exceptions granted the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in this chapter.
(b) No provision of this chapter for which official traffic-control devices are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation an official device is not in proper position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person. Whenever a particular section does not state that official traffic-control devices are required, such section shall be effective even though no devices are erected or in place.
(c) Whenever official traffic-control devices are placed in position approximately conforming to the requirements of this chapter, such devices shall be presumed to have been so placed by the official act or direction of lawful authority, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
(d) Any official traffic-control device placed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and purporting to conform to the lawful requirements pertaining to such devices shall be presumed to comply with the requirements of this chapter, unless the contrary shall be established by competent evidence.
(e) A flagger in a designated work zone may stop vehicles and hold vehicles in place until it is safe for the vehicles to proceed. A person operating a motor vehicle that has been stopped by a flagger in a designated work zone may proceed after stopping only on instruction by the flagger.

Subd. 9. Affirmative defense relating to unchanging traffic-control signal. (2010 changes underlined)
(a) A person operating a bicycle or motorcycle who violates subdivision 4 by entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light has affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:
(1) the bicycle or motorcycle has been brought to a complete stop;
(2) the traffic-control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;
(3) the traffic-control signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the bicycle or motorcycle; and
(4) no motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.
(b) The affirmative defense in this subdivision applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action.
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment (April 16, 2010).

This is a huge step in the right direction towards changing a system that was not intended for cyclists. I have often been asked by other cyclists why I feel it's okay to proceed through red lights. Their argument is that it makes us all look bad. My argument is that I refuse to operate my bicycle in accordance with a system of traffic laws that was not designed for us and whose rigid adherence to greatly diminishes both the practicality and enjoyment of my chosen conveyance. In short, bicycles are freedom and I will not be tethered by a set of antiquated laws that were designed for 3000lb dehumanizing wrecking balls instead of my elegant humaninzing 20lb machine.

Rather than operate my vehicle according to traffic laws, I operate my bicycle according to: respect for others (not putting them or myself in danger), experience, and common sense. This new law is a huge step forward for being able to operate a bicycle using common sense while still being in accordance with the law.

1 comment:

Rodrigo Abagge Santiago said...

Do you have an e-mail for contact?