Q&A - Motorcyles & Inductive Loops at Traffic Lights
Q: I ride a KLR 650, as well a KTM 450 exec. Both are street legal and have smaller engine displacements. These motorcycles are built with little steel and are mostly aluminum. Neither one of my bikes will force a light change at Leathead and 97 as well as Highway 97 and Sexsmith road intersections in Kelowna.
I have researched a little to understand the wiring in the roadway at the intersections needs to detect a strong metal presence in order to detect my presence. I have tried to be in the middle of the position at the intersection as is stated, but it still does not detect my bikes.
I see there are many states that actually make allowances with in the law for a motorcycle to proceed when safe to do so on a red but doesn't make it legal up here.
A: I contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for information on this situation. The advice was to stop your motorcycle over top of as much of the wire buried in the pavement as you are able to. This will mean positioning yourself over the left or right side of the loop rather than inside it or over the front or back.
An example of an inductive loop commonly found on our highways is shown below:
I was assured that if you did this, the traffic lights would cycle.
My next question was to ask what you do if this does not happen. There was a bit of hedging on this as the signal maintainers try to adjust the sensitivity of the loop to catch appropriate traffic but ignore drivers who don't maintain proper lane position as they drive through the intersection.
Ultimately, if the light refuses to cycle on a provincial highway or an arterial highway within a B.C. Municipality, you need to advise either the MOTI Electrical Services or the Electrical Contractor. Otherwise, you need to deal with the appropriate municipal department.
Finally, to deal with the situation where you have done everything right but the signal won't respond. The surest way to avoid legal issues is to turn right and then double back. You may not be able to convince enforcement personnel who watch you disobey the red light (with justification) that this is what happened and not issue a ticket.
There is no exemption to the red light law here in B.C.