2012 IL law allowing motorcyclists to "run" red lights?

New motorcycle law allowing motorcyclists to essentially treat a non-responsive traffic signal as if it were a stop sign if needed.

This law is going to be a substantial convenience to any of us who have sat at lights for extended periods with no other traffic to trigger the sensor. Many of us (myself included) alter routes regularly to avoid traffic signals or the dreaded "Left Turn" lights. During normal traffic, this isn't going to change a thing. In rural areas, or even urban areas on weekends or during the evening hours, it's gold. But there is an amazing amount of confusion out there -- so let's shine the light of clarity here, as there is SO much bad reporting and crazed misinformation out there.

A) This law does NOT allow motorcyclists to "run" a red light -- It allows them to treat it as a stop sign after a "reasonable amount of time" (which, to wit, will be clarified as 120 seconds at the next assembly).

** The motorcyclist MUST STOP COMPLETELY at a red light, as usual. Some, including many reporters, are under the impression that motorcycles are just going to be able to *ignore* a red light completely and blindly ride out into busy intersections. Totally not true. While some motorcyclists thrive on chaos, panic and disorder, we're not out to get ourselves killed by ignoring a stop light.

B) This law does not apply to municipalities of over 2 million inhabitants.

** In Illinois, this means "this law does not apply to Chicago." Chicago can't simply ignore a State law, so the law was written to non-specifically exclude the City of Chicago. Or any any other 2-million inhabitant municipality that may pop up. This gives Gilberts and Pingree Grove something to shoot for.

C) This law *prevents* a county, or a municipality of under 2 million inhabitants from using automated traffic enforcement (a.k.a., red-light cameras) from issuing a violation to a motorcycle entering the intersection while the light remains red.

The language is as such: Provides that a county, or a municipality with less than 2,000,000 inhabitants, including a home rule county or municipality, may not use an automated traffic law enforcement system to issue violations… (SNIP)

** That one sentence is causing a lot of confusion. So read it this way -- [A county] or [a municipality of under 2 million inhabitants]. Many are under the impression that the law doesn't apply to Cook County (as it's inhabited by significantly more than 2 million). Not the case -- The comma means something.

"Let's eat, grandma!" vs. "Let's eat grandma!"

The law DOES apply to Cook County, as stated. It prevents [any county] or [any municipality under 2 million inhabitants] from issuing automated violations. This protects the motorcyclist from red-light camera violations. Again, much confusion because of simply ignoring the comma (hence, my bracketed clarification above). It's mis-read and mis-quoted as "A county or municipality of less than..." as opposed to the actual language which is "A county, or a municipality with less than 2 million..." This simply clarifies that no COUNTY red-light cam, nor any MUNICIPAL cam (in cities of less than 2 million) can be used to issue a violation to a motorcyclist that entered the intersection after stopping (again, for a "reasonable amount of time").

This law is similar to others already enacted in other states and more are popping up all over this year. It's OUR responsibility as motorcyclists to understand it and to not "abuse the privilege" -- The law giveth, the law can taketh away. Use it well, use it safely, see you at the stoplights.