Motorcycle season brings new ‘red light’ law, new safety campaign

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INDIANAPOLIS – For motorcyclists across the state, it’s time to get those engines revving.

“When the weather gets nice, that’s when people get out on their motorcycles,” said BMV commissioner Don Snemis.

But sometimes it’s no joy ride. In 2012, there were more than 4,000 collisions involving motorcycles in Indiana, and 151 fatalities.

This year, the BMV is launching a new safety campaign – and there’s also a new law going into effect.

Motorcyclists stuck at a red light will be able to go through the light after two minutes, if their bike isn’t heavy enough to trip the sensors in the road.

“It allows motorcycle operators to essentially treat a stop light like a stop sign,” said Governor Pence, who held a ceremonial bill signing Thursday on Monument Circle, as part of a pre-summer safety rally.

“In the past these people had to sit there indefinitely or violate the law,” said Jay Jackson, executive director of ABATE Indiana, an advocacy group for Hoosier motorcyclists.

“I’ve sat at a light longer than two minutes debating on whether or not to break the law,” said motorcyclist Joey Mitchell.

“I think in the long run, it will be a little bit safer,” said biker Garry Kenworthy.

And Mitchell agrees it can be safer – as long as his fellow bikers follow the rules.

“There may be an accident that happens, somebody might not be paying attention, sitting at a red light, whether they wait 2 minutes or 2 seconds they’re going to pull out there,” Mitchell said. “I just pray that it doesn’t happen that often.”

The new law goes into effect in July. Officials said 16 other states had similar laws on the books already.