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The Dead Red Exception

Let's hope that you're all enjoying a great riding season! Did you know that there is a newer law (2017) that all riders may not be aware of? It is referred to as the Dead Red Exception and pertains to intersections with traffic signals that are not usually triggered to change by bikes.

Dead Red Exception: Ohio’s “dead red” exception permits a cyclist at a red light to stop, then safely enter the intersection on “dead red” which occurs only when a red light malfunctions or doesn’t trip to green when failing to detect a bicycle’s presence (many intersections only detect motor vehicles). The cyclist must make sure it is safe to go, since the cyclist won’t have the right of way because the oncoming traffic light will still be green. Allow enough time to be sure the light will not change.

This is not a law that allows cyclists to proceed through red lights unimpeded. Don’t become a “dead” red statistic by misinterpreting this law! Please – each rider is responsible to make sure the intersection is clear before proceeding. Unlike the sheep in the cartoon, do not follow the leader without looking. We are all responsible for our own safety.

The “Dead Red Exception” is explained in the Ohio Revised Code: Section 4511.132

This law is also covered in Ken Knabe’s book Cycling Rights: Bicycles, E-Bikes & Micro- Mobility Devices 

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