Friday, July 5, 2019


If you’re a cyclist in Wisconsin, then you should know about 346.37(1)(c)4. It’s a provision in our statutes that allows you to proceed through a red light under these circumstances:

“Notwithstanding subd. 1., a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle facing a red signal at an intersection may, after stopping as required under subd. 1. for not less than 45 seconds, proceed cautiously through the intersection before the signal turns green if no other vehicles are present at the intersection to actuate the signal and the operator of the motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle reasonably believes the signal is vehicle actuated. The operator of a motorcycle, moped, motor bicycle, or bicycle proceeding through a red signal under this subdivision shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicular traffic, pedestrian, personal delivery device, bicyclist, or rider of an electric personal assistive mobility device proceeding through a green signal at the intersection or lawfully within a crosswalk or using the intersection. This subdivision does not affect any authorization for a bicyclist under subd. 2.”

This very situation presented itself to me earlier this week and, knowing the law, I took advantage of it. I was the only person waiting to travel straight west through an intersection. A motorcyclist on my left was waiting to turn south. A couple of automobile drivers behind him also were waiting to turn south. There was no eastbound traffic. With only my bike and the motorcycle foremost at the intersection, the red light wasn’t getting triggered to change. We waited and waited. I even used hand signals to encourage the nearest motorist to move closer to the motorcyclist, hoping he would recognize the situation, but he refused.

Oh, well. Having tried to help everybody, it was time to help myself. When I knew that it was safe to proceed, I did so … prompting a southbound driver to honk a horn at me from a block away. In the driver’s mind I had done something wrong. That’s an unfortunate part of being a cyclist: even when you know you’re right, you’re still wrong if only because you’re something other than a car.

So, does anybody who isn’t a cyclist know about 346.37(1)(c)4? I’m not going to let that question stop me when I have a rare occasion to use it, and I’m ready to defend myself if anybody objects.

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