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Light won't change

Old 10-10-2010, 01:55 PM
MitchA's Avatar
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Location: Gilroy Ca
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Default Light won't change

I do understand each State will have different laws but I was curious if anyone else located in The Peoples Republic of California has any experience with a situation where you don't have the weight to change a stoplight? I tried the normal weight shifts and diving the front end but it just would not change. Iended up just making a right then u turn but what a pita. This is a old light that isnt used very much but its one I use often. Any help appreciated.
Old 10-10-2010, 02:40 PM
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Location: NJ
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If youre positive that it goes by weight instead of magnets im not sure if theres a lot you can do if youre too light for the sensor thing. Try slapping some neodymium magnets on the bottom of your bike and see if that helps. You can pick up a pack for like 10 bucks
Old 10-10-2010, 03:07 PM
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yea its not the weight. at least here it isnt. there is actually a wire in a large rectangle of tar up at the front of the turning lanes. When steel goes over the wire it blocks the signal causing the light to cycle. bikes dont contain enough steel to interrupt the signal.

This actually just happened to me last night luckily a car pulled up behind me. its annoying
Old 10-10-2010, 05:49 PM
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I know where I live there's an "unwritten" rule that most bikers just sit for two cycles, or two minutes, whatever comes first. Keep in mind this is for those late night, can see both ways, kind of situations as well.
Old 10-10-2010, 06:39 PM
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I am in the same boat as you.........California. I was told by fellow riders in my group that the light must complete three complete cycles before you can "run" it. However, I cannot find any information to back this up.
Old 10-10-2010, 06:47 PM
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Location: West Philly, PA!
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Well in PA we have a provision to cover this situation.

What you can try (after getting a ticket) is proving the light would not change, labelling it a malfunctioning light. I imagine that if someone video tapes you sitting at that light for 5 minutes, the court would toss the ticket.
Old 10-10-2010, 08:34 PM
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The following is from the CA driver's handbook (2010)...
"Traffic Signal Blackout If a traffic signal light is not working, proceed as if the intersection is controlled by a stop sign in all directions."

While the directive is prefaced by "Traffic Signal Blackout", one could argue that the directive would still apply for a traffic signal that is technically operational (powered) but "not working" - ie.- *not responsive* for a motorcyclist, automobile, or whatever.

Although the above was listed in the driver's handbook & not in the Motorcycle Handbook, vehicle code does include both automobiles & motorcycles. Therefore, it would be reasonable that this should apply.

So you encounter a traffic light that won't change. Going by the directive above, you could safely proceed using the above condition(s). What's reasonable for an amount of time to wait after assessing that the light won't change? Well, to most people, 2 or 3 cycles is reasonable b/f proceeding. I doubt you'll find it in the vehicle code (although you could spend days looking for it), that's why you do what's *reasonable*.

You come to the light, see that it won't change, wait 2-3 cycles to verify, then proceed safely as if it was a stop sign.

If stopped by LE after the fact, respectfully explain the situation you encountered.

DISCLAIMER: This isn't legal advice, just my take on it & how its been explained to me.
Old 10-10-2010, 08:40 PM
Xander F4i's Avatar
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Location: near Brookville, PA
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Also here in PA. If you come across a light that won't change for a bike you should consider contacting the department of transportation and letting them know they should recalibrate their sensor
Old 10-10-2010, 08:41 PM
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Good discussion ill tend toward the "treat it as if its a stop sign" defense

Great info about the mechs as well. Thanks all.
Old 10-11-2010, 07:49 PM
Aken's Avatar
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Location: Milwaukee
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For me in WI, it depends on the intersection. If I need to make a left turn through a very large lighted intersection, I will typically turn right instead and make a U-turn, or make a U-turn right at the light, then find some side streets to go the direction that I want.

If it's a small intersection and I have great visibility, I'll go through it like a stop sign.

Now a days, I've gotten so used to the way lights work around where I frequently drive, that I've found ways to avoid them entirely if I think the lights won't change and there won't be a car there to help.

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