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Old 04-25-2008, 01:15 PM   #1
Mic
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Motorcycle detection at traffic lights

I found some good information about how inductive loop traffic lights work to detect vehicles and thought I'd share. I did some searches to see if this has already been posted and didn't find anything. My apologies if this is a repost.

I know that I've been in many situations where I've sat in a turn lane while the main lanes cycled several times because my bike wasn't detected. Sometimes having to wait until a car pulled up behind me. I've always tried different things to try and set the light off to avoid having to run the red, but I've had mixed results. I never really understood how these inductive loops worked until now, hopefully this will minimize getting stuck at a light in the future.

This is written for bicycles, but it should easily be applicable for motorcycles and will help you identify the best place to be in the lane at the light where you can see the location of the detection loop.

The quick answer for the impatient people:

How to Turn Signals Green
sweetspots

The Long answer for the inquisitive people:

Detection of Bicycles by Quadrupole Loops
at Demand-Actuated Traffic Signals


I initially found this information while trying to determine what a Signal Sorcerer is and what it actually does. I've come to the conclusion that I don't really want to attach any powerful magnets to my bike to help trip the loop sensor. I've read that some magnet placements have interfered with electrical components such as the ignition.

I don't know what the law is in Texas if a light is failing to detect a bike, perhaps one of the LEO's on the site can chime in. In the mean time, I hope this info helps people avoid being stuck at a light. Be safe out there!
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:22 PM   #2
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I always thought it was weight. Thanks for the info
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewave18 View Post
I always thought it was weight. Thanks for the info
Me too! I would roll the bike back and then give it some gas and grab the brake to weight it down. LOL I guess the times that it seemed to work, I must have crossed the front line or something.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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Get the magnet. I have one on my bike and it def makes a difference. Only $15 too.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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good find...I had this happen to me while 2 LEOs were sitting on the side of the road at me. I finally gave up, caught the next green going straight and busted a chicano U-turn so they wouldn't ticket me for running a red (but now that I think about it I did cross the solid white line to go straight)
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:01 PM   #6
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Where'd you get the magnet from?
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSki View Post
Where'd you get the magnet from?
Pasadena Cycles AKA Discount Motorcycle Tire or anywhere online. eBay has them for sure.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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whoa.. I did not know that. I guess its alot more complicated than I thought haha.
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Old 04-25-2008, 02:40 PM   #9
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there was a recent ruling passed where all the stoplights are supposed to be modified so they'll pickup motorcycle on the sensors... have to find the link but theres a pace to report those that arent working...
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Old 04-25-2008, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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there was a recent ruling passed where all the stoplights are supposed to be modified so they'll pickup motorcycle on the sensors... have to find the link but theres a pace to report those that arent working...
Yeah, that was my thread I started a while ago. The general topic had been discussed in that thread, but not any thread specific to the loop designs themselves. This is a great find, Mic! Thanks for sharing

BTW, I've also tried the magnet, and I saw minimal and inconclusive results. I had it mounted at the very front bottom of my belly pan. Sometimes, while I had it installed, the light would switch, but sometimes not. So there was no way I could conclude whether it was the magnet or luck. I got rid of it.
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Old 04-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #11
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..... and MSF mentions specifically to either put down the side stand or park on the lines.... still a good find for the explanation anyhow!
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:50 AM   #12
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i believe that after 15 minutes if the light does not change u have the right to go through it..... could be wrong but thats what i thought
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:55 AM   #13
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i believe that after 15 minutes if the light does not change u have the right to go through it..... could be wrong but thats what i thought
That's just what you wish!
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:01 AM   #14
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i was under the impression after the 3rd cycle you could go...15 min is a long wait especially if in a hurry lol
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Old 05-02-2008, 03:33 AM   #15
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the Signal wizard for 20 bucks works great on all my bikes
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Old 05-02-2008, 07:21 AM   #16
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There are a few lights in the woodlands that will not turn for any amount of bikes... they also take a while w cars too. Those r usually ran, never recommended but we do what is necessary after ample waiting.
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Old 05-02-2008, 10:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trdvet View Post
There is no exception for running red lights other than the usual emergency vehicle exceptions. Of course you could argue in court your case.
I think there's our official answer about how the law views running lights that aren't functioning properly.

Next question: Does anyone know if there is a specific number we can call to report lights that aren't detecting motorcycles?

I think TXDOT should be obligated to fix lights that don't detect bikes since it has a direct impact on our ability to navigate safely. I mean, if I'm sitting in the turn lane and the induction loop isn't detecting my bike and giving me a green turn arrow, I have only a few options.
  1. Wait for eternity or for a car to pull up behind me, whichever comes first.
  2. Cross lanes into one of the mainlanes which could get a little hairy.

I don't even know if it is really legal to go straight from a turn lane, which would put us back at number one if we were trying not to break the law.
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Old 05-23-2008, 12:59 AM   #18
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I've always stopped on the lines, but sometimes it will work sometimes not, I've noticed that some a bicycle will be picked up easier that a motorcycle, I find this jsut compeltely wierd!
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:55 AM   #19
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See i have always thought that after a couple cycles of the lights and it doesn't change for you that it is considered an inoperable(sp) light and to treat it as a 4 way stop.
I also try to stop with my rotors on the "lines" have seen that it works most of the time.
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:58 AM   #20
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there is a light in laporte. underwood and spencer that will not change for a bike. Going north on underwood at the light. One morning i see a car coming from the east so wait cus i usually have to go thru the light. Well it was a Laporte PD and he stopped at the ligtht, with him still on green and told me to go ahead thru his loud speaker, no . Guessing he seen me waiting for awhile as i could see his headlights for maybe an 1/8th of a mile.
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