If you ride a motorcycle, you’ve been there at some point in your travels: You approach a red light, stop, and patiently wait for the light to turn green again – and you wait and wait and wait.
Minutes go by. The sun beats down on you, and the engine heat makes your calf feel like a bratwurst on the grill at Octoberfest.
Or, just as bad, you forgot your rain suit, and the firmament has opened the floodgates over your head. You just want to get somewhere dry, but the bloody light won’t turn green!
The problem lies with something called an inductive loop detector, the thing that’s supposed to let the light know you’re there waiting for it to turn green.
But ILDs don’t always sense smaller vehicles – like motorcycles and bicycles. So, the light doesn’t change, and you’re stuck.
The good news is, if you’re in Illinois, you don’t have to wait until you drown or burst into flames before moving forward, unless you’re in Chicago.
Under the Illinois Vehicle Code, a motorcycle rider may, after waiting a “reasonable period of time” (at least two minutes), proceed through the stuck stoplight by treating it like a stop sign and properly yielding to all traffic facing a green signal. The statute, however, does not apply to “municipalities with more than 2,000,000 inhabitants,” which is the long way of saying “Chicago.”
But what if there’s a red-light camera at the intersection, just waiting for you to make a false move? So long as you’re not in Chicago, you shouldn’t be issued a “red-light camera” ticket for proceeding through a red light as provided above.
That’s because, under Illinois law, counties, and municipalities (with less than 2,000,000 inhabitants), may not use an automated traffic law enforcement system (red light camera) to issue violations to a motorcyclist who proceeds through a red light when the traffic signal fails to turn green within a reasonable time due to a malfunction or failure to detect the motorcycle. Again, a “reasonable time” is at least two minutes.
However, none of the above will necessarily prevent you from getting a ticket. But under the law, you have a solid defense if you do, provided you’ve complied with the statute.