The general rule for bicyclists on the roadway is they must follow the exact same rules as other vehicles. This means you must stop at red lights and stop signs, obey traffic signs and adhere to any restrictions.
The Virginia Department of Transportation explains there is an exception to this rule when a bicyclist can go through a red light. There are five rules you must adhere to for a legal right to go through a red light.
Come to a full stop
Before proceeding through a red light, you must always come to a complete stop. You must sit at the light for at least two minutes. If the light’s cycle is short, then you need to sit for at least two full cycles.
You cannot go through the red light unless you determine it is completely safe to do so. This requires making sure no other vehicles are coming and there is nothing impeding your move through the light.
You must yield to other vehicles before moving through the light. They will have the right of way, so you need to stop and remain there until they proceed through the intersection.
Treat like a stop sign
All the rules for a stop sign would apply in this situation. You need to use the red light as you would a normal stop sign.
Take due care
When going through a red light, you must make sure you use due care. You need to ensure it is safe and that you will not put anyone at risk of an accident if you move through the light.
The red light rules actually apply to all vehicles on the roadway, not just bicycles. It is part of the state’s motor vehicle code.