Senate Bill 533 Permits Smaller Vehicles to Pass Through Stop Lights

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On Tuesday the 10th, Oregon Senate passed a bill that will allow cyclists and motorcyclists to move through red lights as long as they follow certain guidelines which essentially state that cyclists or motorcyclists must wait for one full stoplight cycle before proceeding with caution.

These guidelines stem from the way traffic lights operate. Under the concrete just in front of the stoplights lie sensors that send signals to change the lights from red to green. The sensors only work as long as a certain amount of weight lies on the sensors. Not surprisingly, the amount of weight needed is approximately the same weight as a car. Often times, lighter vehicles will not trigger the sensors.

About 6 percent of commuters in Portland go by bike, which increases the support for Senate Bill 533. (Photo: Wikipedia) About 6 percent of commuters in Portland go by bike, which increases the support for Senate Bill 533. (Photo: Wikipedia)
About 6 percent of commuters in Portland go by bike, which increases the support for Senate Bill 533. (Photo: Wikipedia)
About 6 percent of commuters in Portland go by bike, which increases the support for Senate Bill 533. (Photo: Wikipedia)

However, the problem with cyclists not triggering stoplights has already caused similar laws to be implemented in other states. And now, it seems well underway to being implemented in Oregon.

But even if the law doesn’t pass the House of Representatives, the city of Portland is taking steps to ensure cyclist safety.

Tiny blue lights have been implemented on some Portland traffic lights which sense when bikes or motorcycles are in the correct zone and the turn on. If the rider is not in the correct zone the light will remain off.

The lights are helpful to signal cyclists no matter what happens with the law. While cyclists do gain an upside with the possible implementation of this law, they are now liable for any collision with a vehicle proceeding through a green light.