VERIFY: Can bike riders legally ride through red lights and stop signs?

VERIFY: Can bikers ride through stop signs and stop lights?

MINNEAPOLIS - Bikers are becoming a growing presence on Minnesota roadways. With that, drivers and bikers are having to share the road and abide by traffic laws.

Bikers are legally obligated to stop at stop signs in Minnesota. However, the answer to whether or not bikers can ride through red lights is somewhere between yes and no.

”You have to stop. Running means you don't stop and you have to wait a reasonable amount of time to determine that it is not going to turn green," said Dorian Grilley, the Executive Director of the Bike Alliance of Minnesota.

The Alliance worked on changing the law in 2010 to be in accordance with motorcycles. Most stop lights have electromagnetic sensors under the pavement which indicate a car waiting in the intersection and triggers the light to change.

Bikes and motorcycles, however, typically do not trigger the sensors. According to Minnesota Statute 169.06, bike riders and motorcyclists are able to ride through a red light if they stop and are waiting at the light for a reasonable amount of time and the light does not cycle from red to green. Riders must also yield to all oncoming traffic before going through the intersection.

"I think most police officers are aware of the rule and would give you the benefit of the doubt if you yielded to oncoming traffic," Grilley said.

So do bicyclists need to stop at red lights? The answer is yes. But they do have an “affirmative defense” and have a legal right to ride through a red light so long as they follow the rules of the law.

Sources: Bike Alliance of Minnesota and The Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes

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