Stuck At A Light On your Motorcycle?

Have you ever been stuck at a light on your motorcycle? You are the only one there at the light. There are no cars just you. The light doesn’t change and you wait and wait. So you have a choice: You can sit, potentially for hours, waiting until a “real” motorist pulls up behind you to trigger it, or you can just throw caution to the wind and run the light. You’ll wait the first few times it happens… and it will happen… even though you have the patience of a saint, you’re eventually going to run a lot of lights.

Most red lights work one of two ways: They’re timed or they’re triggered. The triggered lights usually work on an induction loop. Inductive loops work by detecting a change of inductance. A traffic light sensor uses the loop in that same way. It constantly tests the inductance of the loop in the road, and when the inductance rises, it knows there is a car waiting! If you look you can see these inductive loops in the pavement. They are usually rectangular and sometimes circular but they are there and can be seen.

There are products sold for motorcycles that claim they will trigger inductive loop sensor traffic lights. They may work… I don’t really know. I haven’t tried any of them but here is a trick I’ve learned that seems to work just fine. When I have done this, I have never got stuck at a traffic light triggered by an induction loop sensor.

The trick is to stop over one of the edges of the inductive loop. I always look for the loop when stopping and do this. So far it has never failed. Give it a try…

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

14 responses to “Stuck At A Light On your Motorcycle?

  1. Never had an issue TR. Not on either of my bikes. Have only had to wait 1 – 2 minutes max at the timed lights.
    maybe they use a more sensitive system here. after all we are a sensitive lot here down under. 🙂


    • Before I learned this I had got stuck a few times and did run a few lights. Some states here have passed laws that allow bikers to run lights if that happens. Making the loops more sensitive would help. Thanks for the comment Coyote…

  2. I’ve had to run a few of them and found it annoying because it is typical of the shortsightedness of local road maintenance departments. The loops are always circular here. I always make it a point to ride slowly over the 3 or 4 loops at intersections in my city, which seems to help. If that doesn’t work, I rock the bike back and forth over the last loop. The last resort is to run the light. I’ll try your positioning trick…

    • I’ve seen the circles when in a car. I think it was California. I’ve always assumed that stopping on the circle would work but it sounds like it may be hit or miss. I think there are about 5 states that let riders run lights if they get stuck. The few times I’ve had to run lights it was always heavy traffic and not easy to find a gap in traffic that I felt safe running. It is a hazard for sure. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. We have the rectangular ones here – I always make sure to ride diagnonally into the intersection to make sure I cross both sides and stop on top of the last. It always works provided I ride slowly.

  4. Good info, thanks! I’ve never experienced this, probably because I’m not fortunate enough to live where there are fewer cars and it’s just me at a traffic light! 🙁

  5. Yep, experienced that in Australia. The inductors are getting better, but like you, I always look for the loop and pull up right on top of it. Seems towork pretty reliably, even when I am on the small capacity training bikes.

  6. Gosh. Traffic lights. I remember those in the big city. Thanks for the handy hint TR!

    • Yeah, I try to stay away from them (big cities) too… but sometimes ya have to ride there and it’s nice to know this trick. Thanks for stopping by Alan.

  7. I had no idea about the inductor loop, will be looking for it now Down Under though! Thanks bud.

    • Dan, you are welcome. I’m glad to be of help. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Ride safe… See you down the road somewhere in OZ (a bucket list ride)…

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