| 3/24/2009 3:32:17 PM

Alison and BMWs 

I’m not generally one to rant about situations that I cannot control – but the triggered traffic signal lights here in Sudbury get me going. It is such a good idea, but such a royal pain for motorcyclists. Repeated prodding of the local officialdom has gained nothing –yet.  

Forty-five seconds!! Not even a full minute and my car and I have official green-light permission to enter the intersection. Permission not only to enter the intersection, but to perform what ever maneuver we so desire with the full weight of highway traffic act legality behind us. Sheer magic! What could be easier than this? -- I arrive at an intersection from a crossroad and wait a very few seconds for green-light permission to proceed. This is winter in Sudbury and I am piloting my trusty cage. Triggered traffic lights work like a charm.

Come the gentler days of spring and summer when two wheels replace four, and what awaits me is sheer frustration. It appears that the magic green light genie does not do motorcycles – or at least not mine! Is my motorcycle no longer legitimate vehicle? It is plated, inspected, insured and driven carefully and courteously. It would seem that my bike and I are not only invisible to most of the other vehicles on the road, but to the very signals that govern the traffic flow.

Should you be fortunate to live in an area with timed signal lights, or none at all, then this is of little concern unless you wander into some town equipped with triggered traffic lights. It still won’t be any problem if you are piloting a four-wheeled vehicle. If you are riding your bike, beware!

Work obliges me to commute across Sudbury some days and evenings at rather odd hours. There are two intersections with triggered traffic signals that I cannot easily avoid even with the most devious and irregular routes. My options at these corners are limited. I can hope that someone else is ahead of me in a car, which will trip the lights in our favour. I can turn right, then make a “U” turn. I can stop, check both directions and proceed in a most illegal fashion to cross the intersection on the red light. None of these options is satisfactory. My luck is such that there is seldom an obliging vehicle ahead of me to trip the lights. If the cross traffic is moderately busy, doing “U” turns is not a happy prospect on a four lane artery, and crossing against the light makes me squirm in more ways than one… On certain busy intersections, I have been obliged to put the bike into neutral, rest it on the sidestand and dash to the sidewalk to poke the pedestrian crossing button. This makes me feel both vulnerable and foolish, and besides, I have never really trusted the sidestand on my bike. (if you ride and older BMW you will understand)

3/26/2009 12:51:21 PM

Hello, The trigger for those lights are a wire loop buried or cut into the road. Sometimes called a "magnetic anomaly detector" . A low electric current runs through the loop. The electricity creates an electromagnetic field around the loop. When a large enough object passes over the loop and though the associated electromagnetic field there is an induced fluctuation in the voltage which is detected by a sensor and the light changes....simple right?

jeff joy
3/26/2009 8:03:13 AM

PS I passed you on hwy 17 last year.How could i forget those aluminum saddle bags.Jeff

jeff joy
3/26/2009 7:53:38 AM

Get a old speaker.Take out the magnet and fasten it to the bottom of your bike.this will trip the lights.just like your car.Happy Riding Jeff

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