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The "Inoperative Traffic-Control Sensor Device for Motorcycles, Mopeds, Bicycles and Other Lawful Light Duty Vehicles" Bill

Minnesota Has One. Wisconsin has one. Georgia has one. Tennessee has one.
Idaho has one. North Carolina just enacted one.
Washington, Oklahoma and South Carolina are trying to pass one.
California's riders are the lamest, most pussified riders in the land.

"For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
       and the complacency of fools will destroy them." ~Proverbs 1:32


Inoperative Traffic-Control Sensor Device for Motorcycles, Mopeds, Bicycles and Other Lawful Light Duty Vehicles

 

Traffic signals change when an insulated wire buried in the pavement at an intersection detects a fluctuation in the magnetic field caused by metal in a vehicle. Often, motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles do not contain enough metal to trip the induction loop sensors which activate a cycle change of the signal.

 

The following is a bill proposed to amend the California Vehicle Code relating to traffic control signals, so as to provide that a driver of a motorcycle, moped, bicycle or other lawful light duty vehicle may proceed through a highway intersection controlled by a traffic control device under certain circumstances when a vehicle sensor fails to detect the vehicle because of it's weight or size.

 

 

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the driver of a motorcycle, moped, bicycle or other lawful light duty vehicle approaching an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal utilizing a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the weight or size of the vehicle shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection and, after waiting for a reasonable period of time for such traffic-control signal to detect such a vehicle, may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so.

Click here to read Biker News Online's take

 

 

Similar Laws, Currently Observed in California;

 

Right Turn on Red: C.V.C. 21453
(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.

 
U-Turn in Residence District: C.V.C. 22103    
No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device.
 
Flashing Signals C.V.C. 21457
Whenever an illuminated flashing red or yellow light is used in a traffic signal or with a traffic sign, it shall require obedience by drivers as follows: (a) Flashing red (stop signal): When a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent flashes, a driver shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering it, and the driver may proceed subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.
 
Intersections C.V.C. 21800
(d) (1) The driver of any vehicle approaching an intersection which has official traffic control signals that are inoperative shall stop at the intersection, and may proceed with caution when it is safe to do so. This subparagraph shall apply to traffic control signals that become inoperative because of battery failure.


Traffic signals change by detecting a fluctuation in the magnetic field caused by metal in a vehicle.

Motorcycles often do not have enough metal to trip the sensors.

How many times have you waited for a traffic signal to turn?
Sure, the sensors can be recalibrated, but we have a common-sense solution
designed to save the state money.

Other states have taken action and made it legal to proceed thru a red light if SAFE to do so.

California riders can do the same.
We already have Right Turn on Red and U-Turn laws on the books.


This is the "business end" of the inductive loop. An insulated wire is buried in the pavement.  The magnetic field generated by low voltage running through the loop is altered by large metal objects passing over it, and this disturbance is detected by the loop and registered by the electronics connected to it on the curb. A series of loops can measure the speed at which cars travel, as well as how many are on the road.
Intersections can count the cars that line up before automatically triggering the signal.


Don't let this happen to YOU! Thanks for the video, Teach


  1. QUICK LINKS
    CLICK on any topic below for Quick Link


    What California Tried in 2002

  2. What Minnesota Did in 2000
    What Tennessee Did in 2003

  3. What Georgia Did in 2005

  4. What Idaho Did in 2006

  5. What North Carolina Did in 2007

  6. What Missouri Attempted in 2006

  7. What Washington Tried in 2005-2006

  8. What South Carolina Will Try in 2007

  9. What we can expect from the public

  10. What we can expect from the press
        Educate yourself

    How does it work in Minnesota?

    How does a traffic light detect that a car has pulled up and is waiting for the light to change?
    An industry created on stop lights that don't work
    Save the state money
    How to "Get 'er Done"

    Home Schooling
    Motorcyclists Getting Hit by Cars from Behind
    Extra Credit


 What California Tried in 2002...

Read the enrolled version of AB 2521 La Suer: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/asm/ab_2501-2550/ab_2521_bill_20020828_enrolled.html


Courtesy of Bill Bish and Coast to Coast Biker News; http://www.aimncom.com/mc_news/cst2cst/2002/1002.html

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR VETOES RED LIGHT BILL California Assembly Bill 2521, introduced by Assembly Member Jay LaSuer (R- County of San Diego), would have required all new and replacement traffic-actuated signal devices to recognize motorcycles and bicycles, as well as new lighter cars, but was vetoed by Governor Gray Davis.

The bill passed through the legislature without opposition in both the Senate and the Assembly, but was doomed to defeat when it reached the governor's desk on September 18.

"Now that is unconscionable!," exclaimed Nancy Nemecek, chairman of the board for ABATE of California. "If any motorcycle rider was on the fence about Davis, this should show his true colors," she said in reference to the upcoming gubernatorial election in the Golden State.

From the Desk of Governor Gray Davis...

SEP 18, 2002 To Members of the California State Assembly: I am returning Assembly Bill 2521 without my signature. This bill would require that any traffic signal that is installed or replaced be equipped with detectors that are capable of detecting bicycles and motorcycles as well as other motor vehicles. While I recognize the merits of this measure, I am vetoing this bill because it would result in unknown reimbursable state-mandated costs on local government by requiring them to install these new detectors. I would also note that local governments and the Department of Transportation are already free to use the detectors required in this bill. Sincerely, GRAY DAVIS

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What Minnesota Did in 2000...

New Minnesota Red Light Law. Sec. 42. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 169.06, is amended by adding a subdivision to read: Subd. 9. [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE RELATING TO UNCHANGING TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL.]

 

(a) A person operating a motorcycle who violates subdivision 4 by entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light has an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:

 

(1) the motorcycle has been brought to a complete stop;

(2) the traffic-control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;

(3) the traffic-control signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle; and

(4) no motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

 

(b) The affirmative defense in this subdivision applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action.

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What Tennessee Did in 2003...

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the driver of a motorcycle approaching an intersection, which is controlled by a traffic-control signal utilizing a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle, shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection and, after exercising due care as provided by law, may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so. It is not a defense to a violation of § 55-8-109 that the driver of a motorcycle proceeded under the belief that a traffic-control signal utilized a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle when such signal did not utilize a vehicle detection device or that any such device or was not in-fact inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle. Signed on August 14, 2003

See: http://www.state.tn.us/sos/acts/103/pub/pc0266.pdf

HB1054/SB1200 - "Stop Light Bill" - A new state law allows motorcyclists to "proceed when it is safe to do so" through traffic signals which have 'mal-functioning vehicle detection devices'. The legislation was intended to allow bikers to treat traffic signals with defective "ground loop" detectors as four way stops, not "run red lights" as the national press portrayed. An amendment was added which states that, if a signal does not have a defective detection device, you can not use the law as a defense. After passing both the House and Senate by a large margin the Governor signed this into law. It became effective July 1, 2003.

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What Idaho Did in 2006...

Riders in Idaho changed Section 49-802 of the Idaho Code to read:
(e)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the driver of a motorcycle approaching an intersection that is controlled by a triggered traffic-control signal using a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle, shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection. If the signal fails to operate after one cycle of the traffic signal, the driver may proceed after exercising due caution and care. It is not a defense to a violation of section 49-801, Idaho Code, that the driver of a motorcycle proceeded under the belief that a traffic-control signal used a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle when such signal did not use a vehicle detection  device  or that any such device was not in fact inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle.

See: http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/2006/S1367.html

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What Georgia Did in 2005...

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:

SECTION 1.
Part 2 of Article 13 of Chapter 6 of Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motorcycles, is amended by adding a new Code Section 40-6-312.1 to read as follows:
"40-6-312.1.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the driver of a motorcycle approaching an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal utilizing a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection and, after waiting for a reasonable period of time for such traffic-control signal to detect such motorcycle, may proceed with due caution when it is safe to do so."

SECTION 2.
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.

See: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/fulltext/hb141.htm

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What Wisconsin Did in 2006...

A red light bill that includes bicycles and mopeds. During the Assembly Transportation Committee hearing there was a lot of discussion that the 30 second wait was too short at a red light and that other low steel content vehicles were not included, such as mopeds and bicycles. Taking all that into consideration the time was changed to 45 seconds and bicycles and mopeds were included.

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What North Carolina Did in 2007...

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 2 AN ACT TO PROVIDE AN EXCEPTION TO G.S. 20-158 RELATING TO 3 MOTORCYCLES AND TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS ACTIVATED BY 4 VEHICLE DETECTION DEVICES. 5 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: 6 SECTION 1. G.S. 20-158 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 7 "(e) The driver of a motorcycle approaching an intersection that is controlled by a 8 triggered traffic-control signal using a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to 9 the size of the motorcycle, shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection. If 10 the signal fails to operate after one cycle of the traffic signal, the driver may proceed 11 after exercising due caution and care to determine that no motor vehicle or person is 12 approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the 13 intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard. It is not a defense to a 14 violation of this section that the driver of a motorcycle proceeded under the belief that a 15 traffic-control signal used a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size 16 of the motorcycle when the signal did not in fact use a vehicle detection device or the 17 device was not in fact inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle." 18 SECTION 2. This act becomes effective September 1, 2007, and applies to 19 violations occurring on or after that date.

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What Missouri Attempted in 2006...

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE FOR PROCEEDING THROUGH REDLIGHT WITH A MOTORCYCLE ("DEAD RED")- This act provides that a person operating a motorcycle who enters or crosses an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light shall have an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:

(1) The motorcycle has been brought to a complete stop;

(2) The traffic signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;

(3) The traffic signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle; and

(4) No motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.

The affirmative defense applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action (Section 304.281).

See: http://www.senate.mo.gov/06info/bts_web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=64539


What Washington Did in 2005-2006...

HB 1466 -Allowing motorcycles to stop and proceed through traffic signals.

"NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 46.61 RCW to read as follows:

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the operator of a street legal motorcycle approaching a left turn intersection that is controlled by a triggered traffic control signal using a vehicle detection device that is inoperative due to the size of the street legal motorcycle shall come to a full and complete stop at the intersection. If the left turn signal fails to operate after one cycle of the traffic signal, then while cross traffic is stopped the operator may, after exercising due care, proceed to turn left. Motorcycle operators planning to make such turns shall remain stopped to allow other vehicles lawfully within or approaching the intersection control area to complete their movements. Motorcycle operators planning to make such turns shall also remain stopped for pedestrians who are lawfully in the intersection control area as required by RCW 46.61.235(1). It is not a defense to a violation of RCW 46.61.050 that the driver of a motorcycle proceeded under the belief that a traffic control signal used a vehicle detection device or was inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle when the signal did not use a vehicle detection device or that any such device was not in fact inoperative due to the size of the motorcycle. NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. This act takes effect September 1, 2006."

Hear the bill in committee: http://www.tvw.org/search/sitesearch.cfm?keywords=HB%201466&Date=2006

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What South Carolina Will Try in 2007...

S 0111 General Bill, By Leventis and Knotts

See the 2006 bill text: http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess116_2005-2006/bills/1027.htm

http://www.abatesc.com/releases/2006-02-09-trafficsensors.php

Just the ‘Red Light’ Facts: Inductive Loop Detectors and Motorcycles (Columbia) ABATE has worked with Representative Hosey and others to introduce a house companion bill H 4631 to the senate bill S 1027. H 4631 was introduced today with 27 sponsors.

With the debate underway in South Carolina regarding how a motorcyclist should respond when stuck at a red light that does not recognize that a motorcycle is awaiting a signal change, it is important to understand how a traffic light sensor functions. Traffic light sensors are not scales. They are inductive loops. The inductive loop is a vehicle sensor that is simply a coil of wire embedded in the road surface. An electronic module in the traffic signal control cabinet sends a signal through the loop. When a mass of ferrous metal passes over the loop, a shift in the electrical signal will occur. If the shift detected is sufficient, the module tells the computer that a vehicle is present. The key point is the mass of metal must be great enough to overcome a threshold. Only ferrous metal objects above the threshold are detected.

Traffic lights in cities in high traffic areas often operate on timers instead of detectors. However detectors are common in the suburbs and on country roads. They may detect when a car arrives at an intersection to trigger a light change or when too many cars are waiting at an intersection to control the length of the light. Detectors are often used to detect when cars have entered a turn lane in order to activate the arrow light.

Currently in the South Carolina Senate, is a bill (S-1027) co-sponsored by Senators Phil Leventis, D-Sumter, and Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia, which would let motorcyclists in South Carolina treat a red light as a stop sign after a predetermined amount of time, if the inductive loop fails to detect the mass of a motorcycle. A House version of S-1027 is expected to be introduced in the near future.

ABATE of SC is dedicated to educating motorcyclists, motorists, and the general public regarding the issues surrounding this proposed legislation and remain ready to answer questions from the media and the legislators.

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What we can expect from the public...

This was found on a popular blog;
"While I can sympathize with the (motor) cyclists this still strikes me as a really bad idea. Still at least one other state, Minnesota, has a similar law and was the model for Tennessee’s version. I suppose if a bad idea is good enough for Minnesota then it’s good enough for Tennessee. State cops don’t like the new law and neither does the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Can’t say I blame them, but it should at least make for a real bang-up time in Tennessee."

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Motorcyclists can run red lights July 1
2003-06-07 The Associated Press
KNOXVILLE -- Beginning July 1, Tennessee motorcyclists can legally run red lights -- if they stop first and ``exercise due care'' -- under a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Motorcyclists had complained they were forced to wait excessive periods of time at stop lights because sensors that control the lights did not recognize motorcycles, which are now made mostly of aluminum and fiberglass, not metal.
For Nashville area resident and motorcyclist Steve Lundwall, the law can't begin too soon.
``Sometimes, I put down the kickstand and just wait (at a stoplight),'' said Lundwall, a business analyst in Nashville and state director of Concerned Motorcyclists of Tennessee.
His group helped push the bill through the Legislature.
The new law isn't as popular with the state's law enforcement and transportation community, who say it will be difficult to enforce.
``It almost takes it out of our hands to write a ticket for motorcycles running a red light,'' said Lt. Bob Lyons of Nashville's Traffic Division. ``How do we know if he's been sitting there or not?''
Sgt. Jeff Keeter, a motorcycle officer in Nashville for six years, said he's felt the frustration of being stuck at red lights but thinks the law may cause accidents.
``We'll have motorcycles trying to cross six lanes. ... Working traffic collisions, I don't have much confidence in drivers or riders.
``I can't believe this was even considered.''
The governor signed the bill because ``ultimately, the research did not show an increased safety risk,'' Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said.
At least one other state, Minnesota, has passed a similar law, the model for Tennessee's statute, said Wayne Shaub of Brentwood, legislative chairman for Concerned Motorcyclists of Tennessee.
Bill Moore, chief engineer with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, earlier told a Senate committee there could be safety concerns. The Senate passed the bill 28-1 last month.
``We don't want to see anyone injured or killed. We don't have the greatest safety record in Tennessee, and we don't think this would improve it,'' Moore said. ``They're trading convenience for some safety issues.''
In 2000, there were 1,751 accidents involving motorcycles, with 65 fatalities. Fatalities could include pedestrians or motorists involved in the crash, Moore said.
Tennessee Department of Transportation did not take an official position on the bill and has not done in-depth research on it, TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely said.
Some senators, concerned the measure would give motorcyclists license to run red lights, added an amendment to tighten the law. It says bikers cannot use the law as a defense to run any red light they want by saying they believed the light was controlled by sensors that did not recognize their motorcycles.
Sen. Bill Clabough, R-Maryville, sponsored the bill.

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A significant number of intersections are now controlled by detectors that only cycle the light when they detect the presence of a vehicle. The most common form of vehicle detection is a magnetic induction loop connected to a detector. This is simply a wire loop embedded into the pavement of each lane at the stop bar that extends back 20, 40 or 60 feet. When a vehicle is over the loop, the signal for that movement is "triggered" or called. Once a green light appears, the signal will stay green as long as it needs to, up to a set maximum amount of time. If only one or two vehicles are present then the green may last for 6 seconds or so. If 15 vehicles are present then it may stay green for 30 seconds or so. If no vehicles are present, the signal will not cycle to that movement. These loops work by detecting the presence of ferrous metal over the loop. The more iron or steel there is in the vehicle, the more likely the detector is to detect the vehicle.
Unfortunately, most motorcycles do not have enough steel in them to trigger the detectors. In effect, the stop light doesn't know you are there and doesn't cycle for you. You either have to wait for a car to pull up with you, wait for the timing cycle to complete so you get a green light, or turn around and find a different intersection. None of these are very good solutions.
One creative solution was recently enacted by the Tennessee state legislature. Beginning July 1, Tennessee motorcyclists can legally run red lights, if they stop first and exercise due care. At least one other state, Minnesota, has passed a similar law, which acted as the model for Tennessee's statute. Other states and cities have been replacing the induction loop detectors with new technology that uses microwaves or cameras to detect the presence of vehicles. Most of these newer methods would detect motorcycles.
Of course, new detectors would cost more money, something that most cities and counties aren't willing to do these days. So the next time you get stopped by a really long light, realize that the light won't change until the detector does.

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3. Lisa Asks: Can Motorcyclists Go Through Red Lights?
I was told that if a motorcycle has a red light at a four way stop light, and there is NO TRAFFIC, it is okay for the motorcyclist to proceed through the light, regardless of direction, i.e. left turn, straight through the intersection.
This can't be true, can it?? ~Lisa

Dear Lisa,
It is only partially true. It's still illegal to blow off a red light, but if a rider is ticketed for doing so, he or she may have a legal defense. See below for the full text of the statute, passed in 2003:

 Sec. 42. Minnesota Statutes 2000, section 169.06, is amended by adding a subdivision to read: Subd. 9. [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE RELATING TO UNCHANGING TRAFFIC CONTROL SIGNAL.]
(a) A person operating a motorcycle who violates subdivision 4 by entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light has an affirmative defense to that charge if the person establishes all of the following conditions:
(1) the motorcycle has been brought to a complete stop;
(2) the traffic-control signal continues to show a red light for an unreasonable time;
(3) the traffic-control signal is apparently malfunctioning or, if programmed or engineered to change to a green light only after detecting the approach of a motor vehicle, the signal has apparently failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle; and
(4) no motor vehicle or person is approaching on the street or highway to be crossed or entered or is so far away from the intersection that it does not constitute an immediate hazard.
(b) The affirmative defense in this subdivision applies only to a violation for entering or crossing an intersection controlled by a traffic-control signal against a red light and does not provide a defense to any other civil or criminal action.

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How does a traffic light detect that a car has pulled up and is waiting for the light to change?

A website that explains how stuff works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/question234.htm

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An industry created on stop lights that don't work ...
For only $24.95 you can buy a rare earth magnet that helps motorcycles trigger stop lights. http://www.greenlightstuff.com/
It is legal in all 50 states, and it was actually specifically exempted from the terms of a law recently passed in Illinois meant to forbid the use of MIRT's. (Mobile Infra Red Transmitter for emergency vehicles)

You can also find the Green Light Trigger HP at www.gordosgear.com

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Save the state money...

Budget Woes? Save Cal Trans Money for more important things.
Technically, when a signal isn't functioning properly for all traffic, a motorcyclist should contact Cal Trans or the local authorities and ask to have the traffic signal re-calibrated.
A red light bill for motorcyclists could save state and local road crews hundreds of thousands of dollars in recalibration and maintenance costs.  As it is now, if we complain about a signal needing recalibration, they need to send a crew out and fix it. The state could save that money by allowing motorcycles to proceed when it is safe and prudent to do so, with no vehicles within 200 feet.

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When we find an "Author" from the State Assembly or the State Senate, eventually we'll get a bill number. At that time, letters, emails, faxes and personal visits begin. YOU are the most important part here. YOU must take action or the bill will DIE! This is a friendly "non-partisan" bill and most legislators are looking to please people (constituents) who take the time to meet with them personally, as those interactions most usually translate into votes.
On THIS issue...we need ALL motorcycle organizations, moped organizations and bicycle organizations on board.

The key benefits are that we develop relationships. We create a rapport with legislative council. We re-build our base...stronger than before. We achieve. We make things happen. Membership goes up. The world is good. And I'm not sitting at a stop light for five minutes...as my "quality of life" diminishes.

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An intelligent hybrid utilizing the Minnesota and Tennessee versions, at the same time utilizing much of the same language from an already existing California law on making a safe U-Turn or making a Right Turn on Red.
U-Turn in Residence District: C.V.C. 22103 .   
No person in a residence district shall make a U-turn when any other vehicle is approaching from either direction within 200 feet, except at an intersection when the approaching vehicle is controlled by an official traffic control device.

Right Turn on Red: C.V.C. 21453
(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can proceed with reasonable safety.
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=veh&group=21001-22000&file=21450-21468

U-Turn, unobstructed view: C.V.C. 22105. No person shall make a U-turn upon any highway where the driver of such vehicle does not have an unobstructed view for 200 feet in both directions along the highway and of any traffic thereon.

From the DMV Driver's Handbook: Right turn against a red light. Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the limit line or at the corner. If there is no sign to prohibit the turn, you may turn right. Yield to pedestrians, bicyclists or other vehicles moving on their green light.

There are also statutes regarding the "dark signal".... Dark Signal: When a traffic signal goes dark, due to loss of electricity, it is considered to function the same way as a four-way stop intersection.  A driver shall STOP before entering the intersection.

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Bikers for Right of Way; http://www.bikers4row.org/

About.com's take on Tripping a Traffic Light: http://motorcycles.about.com/cs/beginners/ht/tripatraflight.htm

South Carolina:
Bill Could Let Motorcycles Run Red Lights -- Sometimes: http://www.nbc4.tv/automotive/6179464/detail.html

What could give us a problem...Red Light Cameras: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21455_5.htm

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Motorcyclists Getting Hit by Cars from Behind
On September 12, 2005, Basil Haliburda was sitting on his motorcycle while waiting at a red light when he was struck from behind and killed by an automobile driver who "didn't see" the motorcycle, or the red light.  Basil was 59 years old.
 
On September 23, 2005, California Highway Patrol Officer Dave Romero, sitting atop his patrol motorcycle while waiting at a red light, was struck and killed from behind by an early seventies Chevrolet Monte Carlo traveling at 60-70 mph on Turnbull Canyon Road in Industry. Officer Romero noticed the car coming in his rear view mirror and turned on his lights while making a "slow down" downward motion with his hands.  Officer Romero was 47 years old.
 
In August of 2005, Joshua Calandros, was sitting on his sport bike while waiting at a red light when he was struck from behind and killed by an automobile driver.  Joshua was 28 years old.

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From a Virginia DOT Motorcycle safety brochure: "Traffic lights that sometimes do not detect smaller vehicles can present another challenge for motorcyclists. If a traffic light does not turn green within a reasonable time period, and there is no approaching traffic coming from behind, the motorcyclist should roll the throttle on and off a few times, revving the engine. The added power may be sufficient to disrupt the electrical field. If not, turn the motorcycle off and restart it. The electrical field created by the starter should disrupt the sensor field and trigger the sensor."

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