Traffic light sensors may not detect bicycles, making for unreasonably long waits at intersections where few cars show up to trigger the signal. So bicyclists (and motorcyclists) may take it upon themselves to run the red light anyway, which has always been illegal — until now.
A new law that took effect July 1 allows cyclists to run an unresponsive red light after waiting through two cycles or two minutes, whichever is shorter. Virginia Code 46.2-833 says:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a driver of a motorcycle or moped or a bicycle rider approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic light, the driver or rider may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light only if the driver or rider (i) comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter, (ii) exercises due care as provided by law, (iii) otherwise treats the traffic control device as a stop sign, (iv) determines that it is safe to proceed, and (v) yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction.
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