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redprimo 10-04-2012 08:46 AM

Left turn problem
I mostly hang out over in the old school section but I think this is a question most over hear would be more familiar with. I ride a Honda ct90 around town. The town is about 10 miles from one end to the other and has 9 stop lights, not a real big place. Occasionally when I ride there are very few vehicles on the road and if I come up to the main road and want to turn left the weight of my bike won't trigger the automatic sensors to make the left turn arrow green. This can leave me standing at the intersection for multiple cycles of the signal until a car comes up behind me and triggers the sensor and I get a green arrow to turn on. So here is my question what do others do? Go through the red light on the next cycle where you get a green to go straight in your direction or go straight and make a U turn and come back and hang a right?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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This is something that kind or irritates me because here in California the minimum cost or registering an old bike is the same as registering an old car. For my $82/year I would like the same rights and privileges while driving as the other vehicles on the road. And don't even get me started about feeling like a sitting duck while waiting in the left turn lane.<o:p></o:p>

larryboy 10-04-2012 09:12 AM

If it happens all the time I just find another route.

gravityisnotmyfriend 10-04-2012 09:23 AM

When I worked night shift at Tyndall AFB, I'd have to blow the red light to exit the base. It would never sense my bike. FL law states that a bike can proceed through a red light if it is clear and if you've waiting a sufficient amount of time.

Though what constitutes as "sufficient" is not specified.

The varies state to state, so I'd either look it local ordinances or find another route.

klaviator 10-04-2012 09:54 AM

You can call whoever is responsible for that road and get them to adjust the sensor so it will pick up your bike.

Or you can make a right and pull a U turn. Look at it as a way to add more curves to your ride:ricky

bandito2 10-04-2012 09:56 AM

Yes, check your state laws. But I think even if you got a ticket, you could fight it in court and probably win. (if the judge was reasonable anyway) Clearly explaining that your bike would not trigger the lights and that you waited through at least one full cycle of signals plus what ever it was when you first approached, made sure the intersection was clear and safe before you proceeded just may be enough to vindicate you. But you must actually do the waiting through the light signal cycle. (somebody may actually see whether you did or not)

And the lights trigger not by weight of the vehicle but rather by the metalic mass of the vehicle. They work like a big metal detector; if there is not enough, it won't trigger and the sensitivity is such that it will not detect vehicles in the next lane over requiring the vehicle to be very close to the sensors and with enough metal bulk to detect and activate the lights.

Those magnets they sell may work sometimes if they disrupt the magnetic flux of the detectors enough and cause it to trigger. But even that may not enough depending on the detector sensitivity. IMO, they would seem to be a waste of time and money and you would be better off to just proceed safely and defend yourself in court if needed.

If they are unreasonable about it, then all you could do then is avoid left hand turns like the plague (usually within city limits) at those type of lights. Alternatively, you could fight for your cause in the courts to change the laws or to allow waivers for small vehicles such as scooters and motorcycles. I'm pretty sure the courts are aware of the problem if they have such systems in place in their towns and that in the interest of safety such accommodations would be reasonable and beneficial to the community.(YIKES!!! Starting to sound like a lawyer/politician)

MiniBike 10-04-2012 02:43 PM

If your town is that small, I'd ask the local constable what he/she recommends. Then go that route.

I do all that you described - each depending on the specific situation.

Bronco638 10-05-2012 06:56 AM

Here in Illinois, you can legally turn left on a red arrow if the sensor does not detect your scoot. The local chief of police also rides which helps matters with his underlings (although, I've never been pulled over).

I have found that if the in-road sensors are in a square or rectangular pattern, it helps to stop the bike directly over the left or right side of the sensor box (cut into the concrete). Now, the entire bike is above a 3' or 4' section of the sensor wire increasing the chances of it recognizing the scoot. This works with my wife's Reflex as well as my DR650 and VTR250. Some municipalities have gone to the circular sensor which makes it a little more difficult to place the bike over the maximum run of sensor wire.

You say the town is quite small. I would have a chat with the local LEO. As klaviator mentioned, you might ask to have the sensor adjusted.

redprimo 10-05-2012 11:29 AM

seeing some of the replies here prompted me to search the state laws for California and I found the following:

Traffic-Actuated Signals: Detection of Motorcycles and Bicycles <!-- #EndEditable -->
<!-- #BeginEditable "section_number" -->21450<!-- #EndEditable -->. <!-- #BeginEditable "section_content" -->(a) A traffic-actuated signal is an official traffic control signal, as specified in Section 445, that displays one or more of its indications in response to the presence of traffic detected by mechanical, visual, electrical, or other means.<!-- #EndEditable -->
<!-- #BeginEditable "addl_section_content" -->(b) Upon the first placement of a traffic-actuated signal or replacement of the loop detector of a traffic-actuated signal, the traffic-actuated signal shall, to the extent feasible and in conformance with professional traffic engineering practice, be installed and maintained so as to detect lawful bicycle or motorcycle traffic on the roadway.
(c) Cities, counties, and cities and counties shall not be required to comply with the provisions contained in subdivision (b) until the Department of Transportation, in consultation with these entities, has established uniform standards, specifications, and guidelines for the detection of bicycles and motorcycles by traffic-actuated signals and related signal timing.
(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2018, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2018, deletes or extends that date

I''m going to print out a copy and head over to my city plaanning department later today and ask them what they can do. I'll post what they tell me.

JerryH 10-05-2012 02:21 PM

I would never even consider making a left turn on red, no matter what the law said. The cop that gives you the ticket can always say you did not wait long enough. If the light does not change, I will make a right turn and double back. It's not just the ticket you have to pay. Your insurance will go up for 3 years and cost you hundreds of $$$.

Those magnets that are supposed to trip red lights simply do not work, even though some people claim they do. I work for a city government, and talked to the traffic engineer about it. Most of the time a bike will not trip a brand new grid. After a few months of wear, after about half the wires are broken, even a small car may not trip it. They do not have sensitivity adjustments. They are designed to be as sensitive as possible, but they are designed for cars. My city is slowly replacing those things with sensors up on the signal light arm that are sensitive enough to pick up a motorcycle or scooter. Some lights are on a timer and change anyway.

redprimo 10-05-2012 08:24 PM

the city hall is closed on Fidays so it will have to wait until Monday.

fullmetalscooter 10-06-2012 01:19 AM

I just such a magnet under my helix and never have had light issues after it.

rv-rick 10-06-2012 02:35 PM

In VA, you have to come to a complete stop and wait for two cycles of the light, or two minutes, whichever is shorter.
I keep a copy in my wallet.

JerryH 10-06-2012 05:59 PM

AZ has no law allowing a motorcycle to turn left no matter how long the light stays red, though at many intersections they are replacing red arrows with flashing red or yellow arrows, allowing anyone to make a left turn on red as long as they yield to all other traffic.

My city's traffic engineer says a magnetic field would indeed trip an inductive grid, bur it would have to be an enormous one, akin to one of those electromagnets that junkyards use to pick up cars with. The grids are designed to detect magnetic surface area. And it has to be fairly close to the ground. A large car would be the best thing. Even huge lifted trucks sometimes have issues with these things, because even though they contain enough metal over a larger enough area, that metal may be too far away (too high) from the grid to be detected.

For that same reason, in order for them to work, they cannot be buried deep in the asphalt, where they would be protected, but must be near the surface, where they quickly become damaged by traffic. The more segments of the grid that are lost, the more difficult they are to trip. And because repairing/replacing them requires ripping up the street, which means closing it, that rarely ever gets done. Fortunately these things are slowly being phased out.

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