How motorcyclists can run red lights for Bike Week in Myrtle Beach area. What SC law says

With Bike Week only months away, here is one law bikers are allowed to break while in the Myrtle Beach area.

South Carolina is one of many states with a “dead red” law. A dead red law allows people on motorcycles, mopeds or bicycles to run red lights if they have been stuck at a red light for at least two minutes.

The Myrtle Beach area is home to several annual motorcycle rallies, including Spring Bike Week in May and Black Bike Week in Atlantic Beach that happens over Memorial Day weekend.

In South Carolina, if a person on a motorcycle, moped or bicycle sits at a red light for at least 120 seconds and the light does not turn green, they are allowed to treat it like a stop sign. This means that they can lawfully go forward or turn left, provided it is safe to do so.

States enact dead red laws because vehicle detection systems sometimes fail to pick up people not driving regular-sized vehicles. A motorcycle may be stuck there until another vehicle drives up and sets off the traffic light sensor.

Traffic lights have difficulty picking up motorcycles because of the lack of metal on them, according to motorcycle gear website RevZilla. Many traffic lights, such as the ones in Myrtle Beach, rely on an electromagnetic loop that detects when a vehicle is on top.

The electromagnetic field reacts to the metal on a vehicle, changing the frequency of the electric current, according to RevZilla. The frequency change informs the traffic light that a vehicle is on the pavement, waiting for the light.

But when a motorcycle pulls up, it may not have enough metal to change the electric current, so the light does not detect a vehicle is waiting at a red light.

There are at least 10 other states, including North Carolina, that have enacted “dead red” laws to help motorcyclists get around this issue.