• Mar 3rd 2009 at 7:57AM
  • 25
Motorcycle riders in Oklahoma may soon be able to run red lights legally under certain circumstances. It may sound odd at first, but many motorcyclists are familiar with sitting at intersections and staring at red lights that refuse to change due to sensors that are not calibrated to detect vehicles smaller than automobiles. In many cases, weight sensors cannot detect motorcycles, so the rider is forced to sit at the light with the engine idling away.

House Bill 1795 seeks to change all that by allowing motorcycle riders the ability to ride through red lights if there isn't any oncoming traffic and if its done in a safe manner. Good idea? We're not sure, but its backers say that the passage of this bill would likely reduce riding accidents and it would also have the desirable effect of saving fuel and reducing emissions. Similar legislation already exists in South Carolina.

[Source: Clutch and Chrome | Photo: lattiboy]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Presence sensing devices that control stop lights, usually left turns are a nuisance for motorcyclist. Typically the devices react to the metal of the vehicle and MCs simply don't have enough mass. Usually if you sit through a cycle and turn when the road is clear the LEO's give you a pass, but not always.

      Several states have laws that outline when a rider/drive can ignore a malfunctioning signal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And this law is NOT NEW... it's that way in Several states. Last one I remember changing was North Carolina a few years back. It's something tried and true (though making the city workers FIX the problem would be a much better solution, rather than adding yet Another law to the books). Now if only lane sharing for motorcycles would be more accepted.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actuated traffic signals typically use inductive loops embedded in the pavement. These work off magnetic principles. You can see a picture of one here:


      Contrary to popular believe, your bike has plenty of metal to active one of these loops. The problem is that most motorcyclists don't stop over a loop or don't stop with enough metal over the loop. To activate a signal, all you have to do is park your bike over the right or left edge line of the lead loop when you are waiting for a signal. That way you will have as much metal mass as possible directly over the magnetic portion of the loop, which should be enough to trigger it. This strategy worked 100% of the time for me, even on a tiny Ninja 500r.

      Unfortunately, it doesn't work with bicycles. So if you are on a bicycle, you still have to hop off and press a pedestrian call button. Fortunately, many places are moving to camera based triggers for the lights, which at least give bicyclists and motorcycles a 50/50 chance of being detected.

      Interestingly, California passed a law that now requires new intersections and major retrofits to provide the same level of signal activation for motorcycles and bikes, as it does for cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Traffic lights are lame and dangerous anyway. Viva le roundabout!
      • 6 Years Ago
      In California, all drivers (trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles) follow the same rules at a traffic signal that doesn't detect them. It's specified in CVC 21800(d)(1) : "The driver of any vehicle approaching an intersection which has official traffic control signals that are inoperative shall stop at the intersection, and may proceed with caution when it is safe to do so." No special treatment for any class of vehicle, fair and equal for everyone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have the same problem in my Jeep... with 37" tires on 15" rims, there's too much rubber before you get to any metal on the jeep... on top of that, the body clearance is 39". I've sat through many looooooooong lights before turning right and doing a u-turn just to get back on my route.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey Jeremy,

      Same problem here in California. I fought a case and won and am now trying to get legislation passed. I created a petition, and I was hoping you’d let me use the picture from your article here for the petition image. Please let me know!

      Link to petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-our-california-representatives-to-fix-the-red-light-law
      • 6 Years Ago
      I had pretty good luck by stopping my bike over the sensor, rather than at the white-line. I won't say that this was a non-problem, but that did minimize the amount of times I had to sit there twiddling my thumbs before the light changed.

      But to the substance of the article -- when you get on a motorcycle, your safety is in your hands, and your hands alone. Many laws are almost irrelevant already -- the rules of the road may say that you have the right-of-way, but the jackass in running that stopsign in his Ford Extension really has the right of way -- if you want to live, anyway... So this rule won't change anything fundamental for motorcyclists -- if it looks like someone's going to rear-end me and the road in front of my is clear, I'm going to run the red light -- and I'll be happy to explain that to a judge any day of the week.

      I'm looking forward to getting back on a motorcycle. But the Enertia is expensive, and my girlfriend keeps contributing to the bench-tool fund every time I mention it -- so it'll be a while. :-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with this bill in principle. Being a bike rider of 25 years, I can assure you it is frustrating waiting them out until a car finally gets behind you to turn. However, there are devices specifically made for motorcycles that TRIP these sensors and allow you to get through the light safely (assuming the other people stop on red.......).
      Running a red light is not a moral issue, but a SAFETY issue. It also instills a sense of "special privilege" for motorcycles by auto drivers. Something that will ALWAYS create resentment and therefore more indifference towards bikers. The best way is the safest way and installing a $25 unit on your scoot saves you red-light-madness and saves your skin. The government shouldn't foot our cost. Because we ULTIMATELY pay for it in return, sometimes hundred fold.
      Sunny side up and rubber side down! HH
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have the same problem on a bicycle; while I know that many people blissfully ignore traffic codes while biking (non-motorized), I'm personally not one of them and think its incredibly dangerous. A solution such as this legalizing an otherwise unpreventable problem makes a lot of sense.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The bottom line is they dont work at all.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've found I can usually trigger the sensor by placing the wheel rim close enough to the sensor coil - assuming that coil is isn't too far away, as it might be when in a bike lane.

        Perhaps the motorcyclist could trigger the sensor by attaching metal plates to their boots and putting their foot down? Might be worth a try, and metal shod boots would sure look macho!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Amen Brother! Bicyclists that ignore traffic laws do more harm than good. For those of us who observe the laws and are interested in keeping their ride a "ride" and not a "suicide run", these idiot biker scofflaws are a terrible nuisance. They put themselves, and others, at risk and, worse, they train idiot drivers to observe a whole different set of behavior when a cyclist is en route. No good. Observe the laws, cars and bikes alike!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Get rid of the helmet law while were a it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, having sat through several signals that would not change, this is a welcome change. There's always the moral dilemma in your head thinking, "maybe it will eventually change, or maybe it will not... should I run the light?". Not having to worry about getting a ticket would be nice.
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