Oregon Passes Red Light Bill for Motorcycles

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Motorcycle at red lightWe’ve all been there. Waiting at a light that just won’t change. Your bike won’t trip the sensor in the road, and the truck behind you is very confused why you’re motioning for them to come closer. Thankfully another state just did something about this common issue us motorcyclists face far too often.

Oregon now joins 16 states including Illinois, Indiana, and Oklahoma regarding “dead red” lights for motorcyclists and bicyclists. In summary, the bill states that if you are at a red light and after 1 full cycle you motorcycle is not detected, you may proceed with caution through the intersection. The full Oregon bill is located here.


It’s a commonly circulated myth that weight triggers the sensors at stoplights. It’s really a sensor that picks up metallic objects. Sometimes you can see on the pavement where the sensors are, due to the cuts and markings on the pavement. Not being in the center can help. These are what’s known as “demand-triggered” lights.

The other main type of light timing is much easier for motorcycles, as these are “timed” lights. They cycle on a timer whether there is anyone there or not. If you’ve ever wondered why a light changed for nobody, it’s most likely a timed light.


Some states are moving to a newer type of detection: video detection.  This is to better detect and serve traffic flow than the older sensor and timed systems. This allows for changes during peak times better, and is better at detecting motorcycles. As with all upgrades, the change will take time.

Have you ever been stuck at a red light, with no relief in sight? What are your thoughts about “dead red” laws?

Jason Channell is HD Forum's most Texan contributor. He likes long rides in search of Texas brisket, playing Led Zeppelin at absurd volumes, and creating graphs that go up.

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