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When your bike won't trip the signal light


onmyrt

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My RT does a pretty good job of tripping most signal lights (maybe 8 out of 10).

 

But when I can't trip it, I'll usually let the lights go through a complete cycle, then run it.

 

I know that this practice is probably going to end up costing me, but, what's a fella to do frown.gif.

 

What do you do ???

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What do you do?
Same, if the light won't trigger on your bike it is broken and should be treated as a four way stop. Call the city where this occurs or better write them and keep a copy as evidence. In one city where I used to live (Concord, CA) they were very good about adjusting the sensitivity of the detectors when I complained.

 

I have found that approaching the light Very slowly (2-3mph) in the left hand side of the lane usually triggers even the more reluctant ones (the left side is sometimes more sensitive with the electronic detectors, they dumb down the right side in turn lanes to keep it from triggering by vehicles going straight)

 

Fortunately there is not a single stop light in the county that I live in now grin.gif

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Assuming you're talking about a left turn signal, another option is to get out of the turn lane, go down the road a bit and turn around. Obviously this isn't always possible, but often enough it can be done and might be preferable to sitting out a light cycle and then running it.

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ShovelStrokeEd

After 15 minutes I'll be "proceeding with caution" about 10 miles down the road. I give 'em 3 minutes to find me and then I'm gone. If a LEO stops me, I'll offer to take him back and prove that the detection device is defective.

 

I normally will not run directly but rather, do a right on red and then a U-turn. Seems to create less attention.

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WeirdHarold
I normally will not run directly but rather, do a right on red and then a U-turn. Seems to create less attention.

Seems to me that doing a right turn from the left-turn lane would create lots of attention.... blush.gif

 

 

Don

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9. Rig your bike with an electro-magnet under the frame. This is wired into the brake lamp circuit and induces enough of a field to trip most lights.

 

Hmmmm, that gives me an idea....

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ShovelStrokeEd

Yeah it will if the LEO is parallel to your path of travel and you are actually in a left turn lane. The most frequent place I run into this kind of thing is at the controlled lights around here, late at night when I am more or less alone on the road. The lights are prioritized for North-South traffic and I am travelling East. The light, even for straight ahead won't change until it senses someone/thing waiting to move East, won't even go green eastbound if westbound traffic trips the thing. Silly, defective programming, I know but, there it is.

 

The two intersections I encounter this on are 6 lane streets, each with an additional left turn lane making 8 in total, while I can cross in less than 2 seconds on my Blackbird, the holeshot and accompanying burn out and power wheelie as the rear tire hooks up tend to really piss LEOs off. I'll take my chances on a right from the right lane, even with a right turn lane next to me. My street is 4 lanes, with both right and left turn lanes on both sides.

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Simple magnet gadgets don't work. These sensors operate at 10 KHz to 100 KHz loop excitation and depend on a reduction in loop inductance when metal is near the coil.

 

Place your wheels directly over the cut line in the asphalt (assuming you can see it) and try to position both wheels over the same loop. It is the proximity of your rim metal to the coil strands (and surprisingly to me, not the iron inside the loop) that most greatly influences the loop inductance.

 

If you have repeated trouble, complain to the highway dept. It is a Federal requirement that they trip for motorcycles. The locals will keep turning down the sensitivity of the loops so that adjacent lane and turning vehicles don't trip them.

 

I know - I am a retired engineer & talked to the major sensor manufacturer service dept & posted on this over a year ago. But I also can't find it now............!

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ShovelStrokeEd

Yeah, that mostly works although I'm not so sure of the effects of my alloy rims. The Blackbird, with its nice chunky side stand and maybe it SS exhaust, although it is non-magnetic also, doesn't seem to suffer as much. My 1100S, with only a puny little sidestand, gets trapped a lot.

 

It is only a PITA to me when coming home from the pool room at ca 3 AM, an activity reserved for Friday or Saturday nights as I no longer get up so well in the morning after one of these. I really hate stopping at any light at that hour of the night and especially on those nights. Just way too many DUI cases out there running around. In my lifetime so far, I have lost 3 friends to exactly that situation and I would rather not join them just yet.

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WeirdHarold
These sensors operate at 10 KHz to 100 KHz loop excitation and depend on a reduction in loop inductance when metal is near the coil.
Hmmmmm......

 

I wonder if it would help to build a small antenna and a simple R-C circuit to resonate at that frequency. It could perhaps absorb more energy from the loop than a small chunk of metal.

 

? ? ? ? ? ? ?

 

Don

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I explored at some length the possibility of active systems on a bike that might enhance trip sensitivity with the sensor amanufacturer. As they described their operation, and my somewhat limited knowledge of electrical engineering (but enough to be damn dangerous), there was no practical way. Yes, for a given sensor, trip enhancement might be possible with an expensive package, but these things operate at a number of different but not particularily precise frequencies - usually selected by the local folks.

 

The real problem is the local traffic engineers fooling with the settings and sensitivity.

 

All I can recommend is bitch, bitch, and bitch.

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I second the slow recommendation, it's the only way I can get the security gate at work to close behind me.

They lock you in at work to keep the herd from straying? Damn, that's harsh..... tongue.gifgrin.gif

 

Hey Killer Bob, we used to play a game with newcomers to Wyoming: Which COUNTIES don't have a single traffic light? Sadly, the good old days are gone and everybody has several now bncry.gif.

 

Apparently the locals and WDOT are pretty good about keeping the sensitivity adjusted here in Lander, WY, since I don't seem to have issues when riding my Beemers. They rarely trip if I'm on my smaller dirt bikes, though. When that happens I just blow a big wheelie through the intersection and hope the cops come after me! Yeeehaw!!!!!!! Loads of fun! Used to do that when I was a hooligan kid, duh!

 

Too much caffeine this AM, sorry.

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In the case of this one in Numbnutz, Mt. we waited 15 minutes for the Lead car to arrive, it was &*^%$ hot at high noon. When we commenced it was a 15 minute ride in dirt the consistancy of talc. Whenever I get stuck at a light I fondly remember this.

 

60075908-M.jpg

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Niel, you are right on the money on bike placement. The wires in the road saw cuts hopefully, but not always are visible. When not visible pull up to the painted stop bar in a normal wheel path. A detector should be located there to ensure anyone stopping properly for the signal(at the stopbar) gets a green light. The circuit is very simular to a standard metal detector. The placement of the motorcycle in the detector network is important and covering as much of the saw cut lines in the pavement gives you the best chance to trip the signal. Due to many generations of designs out in service, it isn't always easy to get a motorcycle detected without sensing say trucks in the adjacent lane. Fortunately most modern designs have largely solved the problem. Newer designs normally use octagon or diamond shape of nearly a 6'x6' dimension. These smaller detectors spaced in a row allow a smaller vehicle as a bike to trip a larger percentage of the detector network . The down side is a bike can fit between the loop (thats the trade name) detectors. So if properly stopping on the wires & not in the space between them doesn't trip the signal, call your local jurisdiction. They are responsible for servicing all licensed vehicles on the road.

Yep, I used to work on traffic signals before my mid-life career change.

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Simple magnet gadgets don't work. These sensors operate at 10 KHz to 100 KHz loop excitation and depend on a reduction in loop inductance when metal is near the coil.

 

Place your wheels directly over the cut line in the asphalt (assuming you can see it) and try to position both wheels over the same loop. It is the proximity of your rim metal to the coil strands (and surprisingly to me, not the iron inside the loop) that most greatly influences the loop inductance.

 

If you have repeated trouble, complain to the highway dept. It is a Federal requirement that they trip for motorcycles. The locals will keep turning down the sensitivity of the loops so that adjacent lane and turning vehicles don't trip them.

 

I know - I am a retired engineer & talked to the major sensor manufacturer service dept & posted on this over a year ago. But I also can't find it now............!

 

This is quite true. I called the police department to ask them what would happen if I ran the light after sitting there for a long time (like 15 minutes). They said that I could possibly get a ticket. The best thing to do would be to go straight and then turn around in situations like that. They would be less likely to ticket if I do that.

 

Riding the "cutout/sawed" line is quite important. If it still does not work for you, call the local traffic control departmnent.

 

In this case, call Stuart Chee (City of Oklahoma City - Traffic Controls) @ 297-2003. His instructions to me were "Left turn lanes - ride on "outline" of rectangle.

Straightaways - ride on square.

 

Call in location of bad sensors to him with specific locations."

 

I do like the idea of assumimg the traffic light as defective and treating it as a four way stop before I am able to report it or until it is fixed. I would have to wait for 3 light cycles waiting for it to turn before I think that it is justified though.

 

Good luck Michael.

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Happened to us the other day, even with our two bikes sitting on the trigger. We waited two full cycles of the very long light then ran it cautiously.

 

I'm sure the two cars behind us they had just come up behind us didn't realize why we ran the light and thought we were just impatient crazy bikers.

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MysticRed

Idaho, also. I got a kick out of Tennessee's Chief Engineer.

We don't want to see anyone injured or killed. We don't have the greatest safety record in Tennessee, and we don't think this would improve it,'' Moore said. ``They're trading convenience for some safety issues.''

 

In 2000, there were 1,751 accidents involving motorcycles, with 65 fatalities. Fatalities could include pedestrians or motorists involved in the crash, Moore said.

What an idiot! Does he think we can't make a safety decision without him? Oh, the carnage of it all! wink.gif

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Has anyone gotten a ticket for this, fought it, and lost? It seems to me that a judge would throw it out, but what do I know.

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Dave McReynolds

Has anyone gotten a ticket for this, fought it, and lost? It seems to me that a judge would throw it out, but what do I know.

 

Considering the cost of taking off an afternoon from work, or from some pleasurable activity, to go and sit in a courtroom, worrying about whether the judge will buy your argument or not.... How could you "win" in a situation like that, even if the judge decides in your favor?

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"How could you "win" in a situation like that, even if the judge decides in your favor?"

 

You can't. You only lose less. I was just curious if any members had found themselves in this situation and how the judge ruled. Thats all. ...... and, yes, it would influence how agressive I would be at a left hand turn signal, but that is just me.

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St0nkingByte
"How could you "win" in a situation like that, even if the judge decides in your favor?"

 

You can't. You only lose less. I was just curious if any members had found themselves in this situation and how the judge ruled. Thats all. ...... and, yes, it would influence how agressive I would be at a left hand turn signal, but that is just me.

Most states have a law on the books that says a malfunctioning signal is treated as a stop sign, this would apply to your bike not tripping the ground loop sensor. Of course unlike a dark or blinking light you are going to have to excercise extra caution because other drivers won't realize the signal is malfunctioning for you.

 

Also if you encounter a sensor that doesn't detect you on a regular basis you should contact your highway department. The sensors should detect a motorcycle and they can usually make adjustments to get them to work correctly.

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Dave McReynolds

Most states have a law on the books that says a malfunctioning signal is treated as a stop sign, this would apply to your bike not tripping the ground loop sensor.

 

Unfortunately, not the case in California. CHP advice is to either wait until a car comes along to trip the light or make a right turn. Not sure why making a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic is any more legal than running a malfunctioning traffic light, but at least you have their written recommendation to back you up.

 

And as far as depending on the LEO's inate sense of fairness to get you a pass, today's Sacramento Bee has another article about an older lady getting a jaywalking ticket because she couldn't make it across the street before the signal light changed. This in the face of a massive uproar and letters-to-the-editor about the "unfairness of it all" and "don't the LEO's have better things to do?" after the first old lady got a ticket in So Cal a few weeks ago.

 

Since a ticket for running a red light is about $300, whatever a lost half-day is worth to you, and whatever effect it might have on your insurance rates or the nuisance of traffic school, I'd just be darn sure there were no LEO's in sight, at least in CA.

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WeirdHarold
Not sure why making a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic is any more legal than running a malfunctioning traffic light, but at least you have their written recommendation to back you up.

 

 

So,

- Turning left from the left turn lane without a left arrow is illegal

- Going straight from the left turn lane is illegal

- Turning right from the left turn lane is illegal

- Backing up is illegal, in addition to being difficult and perhaps impossible

- Parking there in the left turn lane is illegal.

 

That would seem to eliminate ALL the options. bncry.gifbncry.gifbncry.gif

 

 

I suggest that the best, safest, most appropriate action is to do what the traffic around you would expect you to do: turn left.

 

At a solid green light, one may turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic. Around here, the traffic lights for the main lanes usually have solid green lights instead of green arrows. Therefore, if the left-turn light seems to be malfunctioning, I wait til the main signal is green and there is a suitable gap in oncoming traffic, and then make my left turn.

 

I haven't been stopped by an LEO for this, but if I am ticketed, I do plan to go to court and discuss the matter. Now that I'm retired, I have the time to spend.

 

I'll let you know.

 

Another anecdote:

 

Several months ago, I came to a traffic light that was being worked on by some municipal workers. They had their truck parked on the grass beside the control box. The control box doors were open and two or three of them were bent over working inside. A six-lane street intersected by a four-lane street, with left turn lanes all around, and an esplanade in the center of the four-lane street. I was on the four lane street, in the left lane, waiting to turn onto the six-lane road.

 

Of course, my left turn light never turned green. Not being in a hurry, I decided to wait there on the sensor coil to give them a real motorcycle signal to adjust thier system to. After a couple of cycles, the workers looked like they had finished their work, because they were begining to pack up their tools. I gave a toot of my horn to get their attention and gesticulated up at the left-turn light. They picked up their tools again and began working again.

 

After a minute or so, they raised back up and turned to look at me. I waited through another cycle and shook my head. They bent over and fiddled things inside the control box again, and again turned to look at me.

 

This time the left turn light did turn green. As I made my turn, I waved at them, they waved at me, and I went on my way. wave.gif

 

I hope that they learned something that they can use when they adjust other light systems.

 

Don

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Carnadero
CHP advice is to either wait until a car comes along to trip the light or make a right turn. Not sure why making a right turn across multiple lanes of traffic is any more legal than running a malfunctioning traffic light, but..

Why, because it's all about safety!!!! laugh3.gif

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What do you do ???

 

I reach back with my left toe and drag the center stand as I'm approaching. Maybe it's my imagination, but I seem to get the light to go my way every time.

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My RT does a pretty good job of tripping most signal lights (maybe 8 out of 10).

 

But when I can't trip it, I'll usually let the lights go through a complete cycle, then run it.

 

I know that this practice is probably going to end up costing me, but, what's a fella to do frown.gif.

 

What do you do ???

 

I run the light when it's safe. In Tennessee, it's legal for motorcycles.

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