Freeway ramp meters aren’t perfect and can leave motorcyclists in a tough spot – San Bernardino Sun

November 8, 2019 in San Bernandino



Q. I ride a motorcycle and when I get to a freeway on-ramp with a traffic meter, the traffic detector in the ground doesn’t always sense my motorcycle. I’ve held up traffic waiting for it to change, and it never does. I’ve proceeded even though the meter’s light is red, figuring the loop detector is inoperable. Should I just go? Or do I hold up traffic in hopes it will eventually change? What does California law indicate a motorcycle rider do in a situation like this?

– Luis Castillo, Riverside

A. Well, none of us are supposed to run reds, of course. …

Ramps and many city streets hold underground sensors to tell traffic signals and meters if vehicles are about.

Every on-ramp with a ramp meter has such a sensor, and sometimes a motorcycle will be off to the side of the sensor and not trip it, said Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for Caltrans in the Inland Empire.

Further, Honk has had readers who are motorcyclists say they have moved their bike in various positions to try and trip sensors, without luck.

Even ramp-meter lights must, at least at times, be triggered by a sensor: “It tells the light to turn green,” Kasinga said.

So what is a motorcyclist to do, if on a ramp and only getting red from the meter light?

Juan Quintero, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol based in Riverside, said wait a bit to ensure the light isn’t going to turn green. If you can motion for a car or truck to roll up beside you, carefully, that might trip the light.

If those strategies don’t work, just go, and if an officer pulls you over, explain what happened. Quintero, who rides a motorcycle off-duty, said officers citing such an offense would have given the supposed violator a good look and likely seen what happened anyway.

The cops, he said, are really after those who just blow through a red light.



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