It's not as dangerous as it might sound: A proposed law would let cyclists proceed (if it's safe) after their bike fails to trigger a sensor that would give them a green light.

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Lawmakers want bicyclists to be able to run red lights?

Plenty of radio and television chatter this morning focused on a bill in the state Legislature that would allow bicycles to proceed through some traffic signals.

But before the stop-pandering-to-cyclist crowd gets their fenders bent out of shape — it might not be so scandalous once you read the fine print.

The bill would only allow bicyclists to move through a red light if the light is operated by an “inoperative vehicle detection device” and if he/she has waited for a full cycle of the traffic signal.

What does that mean?

Some traffic signals require drivers or bikers to trigger a sensor hidden in the roadway. Many of these sensors are designed to detect metal. If the sensor doesn’t work, cyclists can move on “after exercising due care.”

These sensors aren’t perfect: Detection can depend on where cyclists stop and the kind of bike you’re riding (for example, entirely carbon-fiber bikes would not trigger sensors.)

Motorcycles already have the privilege of running red lights if they’ve waited a full cycle because lawmakers last session passed a nearly identical bill for them. A similar bill is working its way through the Oregon statehouse.

State law already requires traffic-detection sensors be adjusted so they “routinely and reliably detect motorcycles and bicycles.” The sensor’s detection zone must also be marked if a vehicle needs to be at a certain spot on the road to be detected.

Part of Seattle’s Master Bike Plan involves testing sensors’ sensitivity for bikes and exploring “new detection technologies such as infrared or video sensors that can tell the difference between bicycles and motor vehicles.”