** A follow-up post has been made on this topic. See Another perspective on defective traffic signals
Have you ever been at a traffic signal and your bike doesn’t trip the light? Is it safe to go, or do you need to wait for a car or truck to cause the trip device to work?
It’s not safe to move forward unless a traffic court judge could understand what you were doing and decide not to give you a ticket. First, move forward and stop over one of the signal trip loops cut into the roadway surface. If this doesn’t work, move forward after the light changes to the next green phase for the same direction of traffic as you are traveling.
If you are making a turn where you do not have a natural right of way, such as a left, wait for oncoming traffic in the opposite direction to clear. Then make the turn. This is still illegal. A traffic court judge, however, would know that your bike could not trip the signal. He or she would therefore be less likely to uphold the ticket.
Here are some more tips for those with bikes which aren’t recognized by trip devices:
Kill the engine and restart it to get the magnetic fields going over the trip device. Inch your bike over the detector in the pavement and rev your machine.
Roll forward and back to trip the sensors.
Put out your kickstand. This gives the device more metal to detect. Remember to retract
the kickstand when the light changes.
Push the pedestrian button.
If none of the above work, consider the following options:
Buying a gadget that trips the light for you. These devices vary so read the fine print and determine how the gadget does the job. Some only work with magnetic sensors. Results also differ because of the sensitivity and programming of local signals.
- Installing an electro-magnet under the frame of the bike. This creates a greater magnetic field for the trip device to detect.
One thing that won’t work is flashing your high beams. Traffic signals that contain an optic receiver recognize only the flashes emitted by emergency vehicle strobe lights. The interval and intensity of these flashes cannot be duplicated with ordinary headlights.
RL legal note: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and in no way constitute legal advice.