A bill by state Rep. Chuck Hoskin that would reduce the number of motorcycle deaths each year has been cleared by a House committee.

House Bill 1795 would allow motorcyclists and bicyclists to cross an intersection if the traffic control device did not change for them. The intention, according to Hoskin, D-Vinita, is to clarify when motorcyclists and bicyclists can cross, so that they do not cross in a way that would put them or others in danger.

“The intent of this bill is to keep Oklahomans safe, reduce

the number of fatalities and maintain traffic flow in the state,” Hoskin said. “We can’t expect motorcyclists and bicyclists to wait at a light if it won’t change for them. By clarifying that in those incidences they must come to a complete stop first and see no traffic in their path, we ensure that they do wait when it is important to do so.”

Hoskin said that high-traffic intersections often use traffic control devices that are designed to sense a vehicle at the intersection and change accordingly.

“Some of the smaller motorcycles and most bicycles do not register to these traffic lights,” Hoskin said. “So either the motorist is stuck waiting until a larger vehicle pulls up next to them or they choose to bend the law a little. We are simply strengthening the law to provide for times that they would need to cross on red and clarify when it would be safe and when it would not be.”

Hoskin pointed out that the bill specifically states that motorcyclists and bicyclists cannot claim they believed the light wouldn’t change for them, if it is not designed to take traffic into consideration.

“The light is either set to spot vehicles or it is not,” Hoskin said. “Motorcyclists and bicyclists are only allowed to cross if it is set to change when vehicles are present.”

House Bill 1795 now heads to the House floor for debate and a vote.