On a motorcycle, traffic lights become your mortal enemy, having to patiently wait… and wait… and wait... until you see GREEN! This frustrating aspect of motorcycling is almost guaranteed to test your patience, believe me. Check out these handy tips and tricks on how to trigger traffic lights on your motorcycle.
Australian Traffic Light Systems - What Do We Use?
Australia adopts a couple of traffic light sensor systems. By far the most common is Induction Loop Traffic Detectors. These induction loops are placed under the roads at traffic lights and designed to detect large metal objects waiting above. See the picture below to see what they look like. Have you seen this before?
Steve Spalding, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) Head of Technical and Safety further explains “Wire loops are embedded in cuts in the road and detect when a vehicle is above and signal when the lights are to change. Vehicles that sit directly above the cuts trigger the lights better than those that sit outside of them.”
Here’s where this can cause some issues for motorcycles. Due to motorbikes lacking weight and conductive materials, the induction loops sometimes can’t detect the waiting vehicle. Of course, this can be incredibly frustrating. Steve further affirms this by saying “Basically, the loops are trying to detect metal so it can be harder for motorcycles to get picked up.”
How To Fix This Issue?
Finding The Sweet Spot! When pulling up to the traffic lights, position your motorcycle to stop directly behind the white line over the detection sensors. Stopping too far behind the white line may mean your bike isn’t detected. The key idea here is to get your engine as close as possible to the magnetic field to trigger that sensor.
Magnets! One of the easiest solutions is to stick a couple of neodymium magnets to the bottom of your bike. I’ve used this trick before and found it to work quite well. Just make sure the magnets are positioned low to the ground and in a secure area. I remember losing my fair share of magnets over the years, due to poor placements. Luckily they are inexpensive to replace.
Work Together With Other Vehicles! Admittedly, this can be a little challenging when traffic on the road is light. Yet if you’ve been waiting at the lights for a while and notice a car pull up behind you, move forward so that the car can move up to help trigger the induction loops. A bit of teamwork makes dreams work.
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