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Discussion Starter #1
I definitely don't know how the traffic lights are designed to recognize vehicle at traffic lights. I do know, I live off a main thoroughfare, so if there is no car at the traffic light (must be within a reasonable distance to the vehicle stop line) the light will remain red.
Thus, if I'm at the intersection by myself, I will not be able to make a left of go straight...because either my bike and I are not heavy enough, or seen by whatever beam the may employ.

Not only don't cars see us, traffic lights don't see us either!!!
 

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It's definitely a bummer. We get NO respect at lit intersections. Here in Missouri we have a "dead red" law. If the light cycles through 3x without changing for you, you're allowed to run it. Investigate that law where you live.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks T-Rav...I will check.
 

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Most traffic light systems uses an inductive loop mechanism where they place wires in the asphalt. You can tell if a set of lights employ this system by looking at the ground. There will be a rubber-like compound on top of these wires, which appears as black rectangular loops on the ground (it is very apparent). When a vehicle enters this loops, it changes the inductance of the wires, which ultimately actuates the traffic light. Since motorcycles are much smaller than cars, the change in inductance might not be significant to change the traffic light unless you are directly on top of the wire. Just make sure your motorcycle sits right on top of any of the black lines (if there are any) and the light should change. It always work for me and should always work unless the wire or the system is damaged/broken, in which case you would have to rely on a car to come by on the opposite side of the road. I think some people buy magnets and put them at the bottom of the bikes to help trigger the light but I don't think that's necessary. Hope this helps
 

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If the sensors in your area are of the inductive loop type, check out this video for a technique on how to trip them:

 

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Also Virginia code "46.2-833, section B" does have a provision in the law for cyclists and motorcyclists to run red lights;

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a driver of a motorcycle or moped or a bicycle rider approaches an intersection that is controlled by a traffic light, the driver or rider may proceed through the intersection on a steady red light only if the driver or rider (i) comes to a full and complete stop at the intersection for two complete cycles of the traffic light or for two minutes, whichever is shorter, (ii) exercises due care as provided by law, (iii) otherwise treats the traffic control device as a stop sign, (iv) determines that it is safe to proceed, and (v) yields the right of way to the driver of any vehicle approaching on such other highway from either direction
 

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Hahaha, nice video! Pretty much sums up everything I just said with a few more tricks and tips. Yea I forgot to mention that some might not be rectangular or square shaped, but nevertheless the same principle applies in that you have to line your bike directly on top of the wire.
 

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Illinois has a similar law. I was on a busy street the other day and making a left (arrow-only turn). There were two left turn lanes, so I got in one (only vehicle there). I figured it wouldn't trip the light, but the next person coming up would get in the other turn lane, so we'd be fine. Well, the next person wanting to turn got BEHIND me. And so did the following three vehicles. What's worse is the street was too busy to run the red arrow, so I waited, until FINALLY someone used the other turn lane.
 

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I think louisiana has that law as well. I had a lot of trouble with that on my Majesty. The whole stupid bike was aluminum and plastic. It has nothing to do with weight, it's the inductive loop design. One day in Subway I ran into the city workers who work on the traffic lights. I told him that this one light would NEVER trip when I was on my bike. They said they would fix it after they ate. I never had another problem at that light after that.
 
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