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“Can a Motorcyclist Run a Red Light in North Carolina?”

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  November 4, 2021   |  

Can a Motorcycle Rider Run a Red Light in North Carolina - Riddle & BrantleyYou might think that it’s always illegal for motorcyclists to run a red light in North Carolina. In fact, this is incorrect. In very rare situations, it’s actually legal for a motorcycle rider to drive through a red light in North Carolina. Since 2007, motorcyclists in North Carolina have been allowed to run a red light in order to improve safety.

This law is commonly known as a “safe on red” law.

“Wait… Why Would a Motorcyclist Running a Red Light Increase Safety?”

Consider what happens when a motorcyclist is stopped at a red light. Sometimes they must wait an eternity before they’re able to proceed. This is because in some cases, the sensor fails to recognize the motorcycle, and the light does not change. This can also affect mopeds, scooters, and bicycles. When a traffic light sensor does not recognize a motorcycle, there are limited options for the motorcyclist, each one presenting potential dangers:

  • The motorcyclist may decide to run the red light
  • He or she may get off their motorcycle to hit the crosswalk button
  • The motorcyclist may try to signal to cars to pass them to try and trigger the sesnor

These options can be dangerous. Without a “safe-on-red” law, motorcyclists could be put in unnecessary danger. This is why under certain circumstances in North Carolina, it’s actually legal for motorcycle riders to ride through a red light.

When Can a Motorcycle Run a Red Light in North Carolina?

Due to the dangers outline above, according to a 2007 North Carolina law, a motorcyclist is legally allowed to run a red light in North Carolina after meeting the following requirements:

  1. The motorcyclist must stop completely and wait at least three minutes
  2. If the light stays red and no other motorists or pedestrians arrive at the intersection, the motorcycle rider may carefully drive through the red light

So… if you’re a North Carolina motorcyclist, next time you’re stuck waiting at a red light (for more than three minutes), know that it might be legal for you to ride through the red light. Just make sure you meet the requirements above.

Injured in a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, the North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers at Riddle & Brantley may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. The consultation is free and there are no upfront costs or attorney fees unless we win your case and you receive compensation.

Call 1-800-525-7111 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney. We would love to help however we can.