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Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought California already had a law allowing motorcyclists to proceed when safe if the signal doesn't recognize their presence. This is based on the presumption that the signal is malfunctioning. However, a search of the Cali Vehicle Code only turns up no such rules. Hmm.
 

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I live in California as well (SoCal) and get equally as annoyed with the traffic light problem. I always try to approach a turn lane I'm not familiar with slowly, so I can try to spot the magnetic strips in the lane and then try to land directly on them. If it's the daytime (or busy), I'll wait a full cycle of the signal to see if I can't catch a turn arrow - then if I can't, I just wait until it's safe to turn left on green (like a light without an arrow) and make a safe left turn. I do a quick LEO check before hand while waiting for the light to go through its first complete cycle.



I mean, C'MON! If I were to get pulled over for doing this - I would expect any reasonable officer to understand and if they decided to not believe me, then I'd tell the same thing to the judge and use the advice in your message about the traffic engineer letter regarding sensitivity of the strips.



I mean, this isn't like your trying to fight a 40MPH over the limit speeding ticket, or trying to justify that 3 gear wheelie you just pulled, while smokin' down PCH... This is common sense to me and I believe this is SORT OF covered in the "rules of the road" traffic code stuff - when you're at a faulty light, treat it as a stop sign and proceed when it is safe to do so... something like that.



just my 2c
 

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I've been ticketed once for this same situation. It was 10PM and very cold. I kept waiting for a car to come help me. I could see cars approaching me from behind. But each time, they would turn before they reached the intersection. I waited well over 15 minutes. And just my luck, as soon as I gave up on the light, a sheriff happened to see me.



After that ticket, I've gotten into the habit of making a right, followed by a quick u-turn, then another right. Sometimes you get around that first right and find that you have no place to make a legal u-turn. But for the most part, this technique worked well for me.



There is also the method of backing up, accelerating, then slamming on the front breaks just over the meter. But this only works on less then 50% of the intersections I've encountered.



I like the Tennessee solution.
 

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The Toad
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Well, you can put the bike on its stand, walk over and push the pedestrian button and then run like hell back to the bike.
 

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The steel frame on my FZ1 seems to work pretty well, but I sometimes still get stuck. I believe there is a company that makes a little magnet that is guaranteed to trigger traffic lights if you put it on the bottom of your bike. Of course, I bet any magnet will work.
 

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I've got some of those little magnet things. (green light trigger is the name, I believe) No Joy. I tried one on my '00 Sprint RS, my '95 Manga, and now my '02 Daytona. I find that I still regularly get caught at lights here in the bay area. In particular, the lights at the highway 4 exit in Antioch/Oakley (these ones has never triggered) and the Oak St. onramp to 880 S. in Oakland (about 25% triggered) no matter where I place the bike in the intersection.



I can only hope that the cop that watches me (while hiding in the bushes with his radar gun, of course) 'running' a red light is a biker himself... no cage driving cop is going to cut you a break even though I understand it is considered a defective traffic control device and the law says you should then treat it like a four-way stop...stop, make sure it's clear, then proceed with caution.



 

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As a couple of others have intimated, the legal and practical basis of the solution already exists and has for quite some time.

In every state I've lived (several) the rules of the road clearly state that if a traffic light is not functioning properly, you are to treat it like a stop sign. This applies to all vehicles.

If you are riding a vehicle licensed for the road (and if you're at a traffic light and your vehicle is not licensed, you have another problem), then by definition the traffic light is not functioning properly.

If you are faced with a ticket, and reminding the officer of the above does not resolve the situation, take it to court and, separately, file a complaint with the officers employer, rightly drawing into question his/her competency since the officer is duty bound to know the rules of the road he/she enforces.
 

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I have not heard of the slamming of the brakes method. Seems pointless, and actually kindof dangerous.

Most of these are not weight triggered, but have large loops of wire under the road surface which are looking for a large enough ferrous object to enter the loop and disturb the field.

Someone had suggested to me to kill the engine, and then start it again. The mag pulse from the starter is enough to get the signal's attention. This does seem to get the signal's attention and the crosswalk starts to flash...but it will shortly revert back. My theory is in a simple 2 lane roadway, you could be going straight or turning right. Right turners can turn on red, so no need to change the signal once waiting car has done so. The brief pulse from the starter makes it think a car has shown up, but once the pulse has died, it determines that whatever it was is now gone and therefore no need to change the light.
 

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I'm not an attorney but I'd tend to agree that this is a non-issue. The California Vehicle Code, for instance, states:

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. This subparagraph shall apply to traffic control signals that become inoperative because of battery failure.

For those so inclined, you can search the California Codes here.
 

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Re: TN allows it

The State of TN put this into practice. It is law here that if a traffic signal does not trip you are free to go on a motorcycle. Basicly you treat it like a stop sign if it does not function properly.
 

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I read the vehicle code, too, but the part about "...shall apply to traffic control signals that become inoperative because of battery failure" destroys your defense if you do (and the light was operating and not on battery back-up).
 

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I'd tell them that when the light failed to recognize my motorcycle, which is a legally licensed and insured motor vehicale, I assumed it was defective and followed the traffic code by treating it as a four way stop.

Do I still get the free federally mandated wheezer-glide?
 

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The Toad
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It is! I therefore qualify for two federally funded geezer glides for my two kids. Either that or a geezer with a federally funded sidecar.
 
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