If you are a motorcyclist, you are a part of a growing number. A growing number of complainants in various municipalities, that is. You see, bikers are growing increasingly impatient with states, cities and townships that refuse to extend the same courtesies, indeed, rights that are granted to motorists of the 4+ wheel variety. Several bikers choose their motorcycles as their primary mode of transportation, riding year-round, and do not feel as respected on the roadways as their motorist counterpart.
On the highway:
As a motorist, having ever driven behind an 18-wheeler at anywhere between 55-80 mph, you may have noticed your vehicle experiencing a “rocking” sensation as if being blown by a slight wind hitting you from both sides and the front. Not a horrible feeling in a car, truck, or SUV but imagine this very same experience without the benefit of being in an enclosure. You can imagine what bikers endure each and every time they are forced to ride behind a truck - or trucks - for miles with no way around them.
Since its inception in 1969, several states have shown themselves forward-thinking and environmentally conscious in their implementation of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. A high-occupancy vehicle lane (also known as an HOV lane, carpool lane, diamond lane, and transit lane is a restricted traffic lane reserved at peak travel times or longer for exclusive use of vehicles with a driver and one or more passengers, including carpools, vanpools and transit buses. The normal minimum occupancy level is 2 or 3 occupants. Many jurisdictions exempt other vehicles, including motorcycles, charter buses, emergency and law enforcement vehicles, low emission and other green vehicles, and/or single-occupancy vehicles paying a toll. HOV lanes are normally created to increase higher average vehicle occupancy and person throughput with the goal of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. HOV lanes provide motorcyclists the ability to avoid the draft condition experience, however, as of 2012, there were approximately nine million motorcycles registered in the US and some 126 HOV facilities on freeways in 27 metropolitan areas in the United States. There are a significant number of states that still need to get on board.
On city roads:
When it comes to safety and observance of traffic laws, most motorcyclists have what could be considered a distinct perspective on the consequences of disregarding them. This includes, but is not limited to, paying extra attention before entering an intersection after being given the green light. Several collisions that occur in intersections are a result of the at-fault driver either not observing the red light or attempting to beat the light, often with tragic or fatal consequences. In a vehicle, the occupants are protected to some degree on all four sides by steel, uni-body construction (commonly referred to as a “cage”) and in some cases, air bags. No such luxury exists for the motorcyclist; therefore, extra caution must be exercised for safety and survival while riding. With so many obstacles working against the motorcyclist, a simple sensor, either at a left-turn traffic signal or a demand-actuated entry/exit gate should not be one of them.
Chat with several motorcyclists and you will find no shortage of frustration at having to wait through several light changes because the road sensor is not calibrated to the weight of a motorcycle or improperly installed, resulting in poor detection of a motorcycle, scooter, or lightweight car. Under certain circumstances, this can be a huge detriment to the rider, often causing him/her to be late for work or appointments, or simply enduring harsh weather conditions longer than necessary. In some circumstances, the rider can, and often does, violate city traffic ordinance and make the left turn on red, when oncoming traffic ceases. In others, the rider is forced to wait until a vehicle approaches behind them, thus activating the sensor and allowing them to make the turn. While neither option is acceptable to the rider, both are prevalent in just about any US city, large and small.
As motorcyclists are also tax payers, they are entitled to the very same considerations and rights of motorists. If a number of motorists found a traffic situation undesirable, dangerous, or simply inconvenient, it is not uncommon for a signed petition to be forwarded to the office of the state’s Department of Transportation or Division of Highways. Most major changes to a state’s highway system, such as the installation of an HOV lane, is put to a referendum, therefore sending a letter or signed petition to your local elected official or Congressperson is often warranted. With respect to the traffic signal issue, a letter or signed petition can, likewise, be effective. In the interim, however, several good suggestions are available online which can help to save gas, time, and avoid frustration.
Check them out here at http://www.wikihow.com/Trigger-Green-Traffic-Lights.
As always, ride safe.