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Inductive Loop Detectors and Motorcycles

by FastFred

Many motorcyclists are often frustrated by traffic light sensors that fail to detect their motorcycles. The inductive loops 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 great enough, 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.

Many motorcyclists have resorted to purchasing a variety of products designed to help increase detection by inductive loop traffic sensors. I have personally tested these devices on my motorcycles and was greatly disappointed by lack luster performance. Save your money because these devices do not work.

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.

If you are interested in learning more inductive loops or about the variety of traffic detectors available or how they work consider reading How does a traffic light detect that a car has pulled up and is waiting for the light to change?

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