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Motorcyclists might get a break from endless red lights

Post by Jimmy Lovaas / The News Tribune on Jan. 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm with No Comments »
January 28, 2013 6:26 pm

Photo by Kevin Payravi
Photo by Kevin Payravi

If you’ve ever been stuck at a red light waiting for it to cycle, you know it can sometimes takes a while. If, however, you’ve ever done that waiting while sitting on a motorcycle, you know your wait could last indefinitely.

When motorcyclists find themselves stuck at a light that won’t trigger for them they are forced to abandon their intended route and turn right. Currently, going through the red light isn’t an option unless the rider wants a costly traffic ticket.

If passed, Senate bill 5141 and its identical House bill 1231 will allow motorcycles to proceed, “after exercising due care,” through an intersection if the traffic control signal fails to operate after one full light cycle.

Many traffic lights are triggered by a vehicle detection system. These “demand-actuated” systems are notoriously bad at detecting motorcycles because they rely on equipment to sense a disturbance in a magnetic field. Motorcycles and scooters frequently don’t have enough metal to disturb these sensors.

Currently, the only solution for motorcycle and scooter owners who find their bikes won’t’ trigger the sensors is to mount powerful magnets on the bottom of their bikes in hopes of triggering the sensor.

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