This article originally appeared on Pittsburgh’s Action New 4 by Bob Mayo on July 22nd, 2016.
Have your found yourself stopped at a red light that seems to take forever to change — and wondered if it’s broken? A change that’s coming in Pennsylvania law may give you a legal alternative.
“To be stuck at a red light for a long period of time when there’s not a need to be, there’s nobody else coming towards you, I would rather be able to go,” said Beth Cassidy of Point Breeze.
A bill sponsored by Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland County, was passed by state lawmakers and signed this week by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. It would allow you to stop, but then proceed with caution if your red light is malfunctioning, stuck on red and not responding.
Motorcyclists have the problem more often than car drivers because traffic sensors may not detect their lightweight bikes. The change is a new alternative.
“Instead of saying, OK, you just have to stay there forever until somebody with a heavier vehicle comes up behind you — if it’s 2 o’clock and that might not happen — but be careful,” Wolf said Friday. “It still requires every motorcyclist to make a very smart decision and be safe when they make those decisions.”
“I think it’s a great idea because at that time if the sensor’s not working and you’re stuck, rather than just waiting there forever, let the person be cautious, be nice about it, be careful about it and then let them go through,” said Sanjay Chopra, of Gibsonia.
One motorcycle shop owner said he agrees with the change for motorcycles — to an extent — but he’s wary about what impatient car drivers may do, given the opportunity.
“Of course, I wouldn’t want to be traveling at a green light and worrying about someone coming through a red light because they wanted to hurry up and get through it,” Nicholas Schoeb, owner of Norm’s Cycle Center in Homestead.
The change in the law takes effect on Sept. 18.