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Discussion Starter #1
Of all the cities in these good ole' United States, I'd have to say Milwaukee must rank as one of the most motorcycle-friendly. (At least as far as the population goes - the weather, on the other hand, stinks for about half the year.) The cops here seem extremely tolerant of Harleys with loud (if not to say deafening) pipes. The local media portray the crowds of Harley riders that congregate for local rallies and H-D anniversarys as golden-hearted philanthropists who just like to ride noisy motorcycles as an excuse for raising money for sick children. And car drivers tend to give Harley riders a certain amount of respect, born perhaps out of the belief that there is a good chance the dude on a Deuce beside him is either a) a high-powered corporate executive who could shutter the machine shop where mom works or b) a chain-wielding 1%er who'll rip out your windpipe and carry off your teenage daughter if you look at him funny. It's kinda hard to tell the difference sometimes.

In spite of this I've noticed that one group in particular seems to have it in for motorcyclists - our old friend the highway engineer. Some examples:

A) Sensor-activated stop lights. Many of the freeway on-ramps have special lanes marked for "Buses, Carpools, and Motorcycles." Nice thought - but the fu(kin' things regularly fail to register a motorcycle waiting for a green signal. After sitting at one of these things for about three minutes while half a dozen single-occupant cars went past in the regular lanes, I finally took my life in my hands and jumped the (still) red light. Fortunately there wasn't a cop around... Either make sensors that work for all highway-legal vehicles, or get rid of the damned things.

B) Crash barriers/Guillotines. There's been a rash of accidents where befuddled car drivers managed to lose control of their vehicles and cross an eighty-foot wide grass median and end up driving into oncoming freeway traffic. This is in a place where the freeway is not only dead straight, but also level. So today I saw some highway workers erecting a series of steel posts, connected by thick strands of steel cable. Presumably the purpose of this is to keep Grandpa in his Buick from wiping out another family, but I dread the thought of what would happen to a motorcyclist who hit one of these things. I think you'd have more chance trying to ride through a moving airplane propeller.

C) Motorcycle Parking. Aside from our local festival grounds, where the Motor Company sponsors a special "Motorcycle Only" lot, there are extremely few motorcycle parking areas. We usually have to take our chances parking in regular angle stalls (with the ever present risk that the lady in the minivan "doesn't see" the motorcycle until she hears the crunching sound of the gas tank under her wheels. Actually, I did see a couple of special narrow motorcycle parking spaces (metered, and at the same price as regular car spots) in a local marina. I didn't use them though, since some thoughtful a$$hole in a black Lincoln Navigator was so busy mooring his land-yacht he'd parked over them so as to give his passengers plenty of room to tuck and roll as they parachuted to the ground.

D) Rain Grooves. We've all had the nasty "floating" feeling when we ride over a metal-grated draw bridge. Usually it only lasts a few seconds, we are riding in a straight line, and not much faster than 30 mph. Milwaukee's freeways managed to feature several miles of deeply grooved pavement, including several curves that are taken at 55-65 mph. Not for the faint-hearted motorcyclist. Try designing freeways with proper drainage to begin with, jackass.

Maybe folks in other cities have a different experience, and maybe I've missed a few things. But its about time we let those highway engineers know that we want some respect - and if not, we're coming for their teenage daughters!
 

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Around here they always seem to fail at building the foundation of the roads. Then 18 wheelers have cause HUGE ruts in paved roads, like 6-8 inches between the road and where the wheels. Damn scarey ride going over 2 or 3 ruts tring to make an exit ramp.
 

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Oh yes I hate those rain grooves. Also that slippery back plastic **** they put on the roads, I called the highway dept and complained last year. I road for years in northern WI where summer is one month long, Its a nightmare half the people are retired. One old fart pulled out in front of me and I had to swerve in the other lane. I pulled up to him at a stop sign and asked him if he saw me, the guy had no idea he was even in a car, very scary. Ihear Florida is really bad. saferiding rickpoco
 

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Was riding in SC Labor Day weekend and on the back roads, they have spread some kind of rock all over the place about the size of BB's!!! :mad: Talk about some interesting riding. :eek:
 

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"Sensor-activated stop lights. Many of the freeway on-ramps have special lanes marked for "Buses, Carpools, and Motorcycles." Nice thought - but the fu(kin' things regularly fail to register a motorcycle waiting for a green signal. After sitting at one of these things for about three minutes while half a dozen single-occupant cars went past in the regular lanes, I finally took my life in my hands and jumped the (still) red light. Fortunately there wasn't a cop around... Either make sensors that work for all highway-legal vehicles, or get rid of the damned things."

Governor Ventura in Minnesota just signed/authorized a bill that got sent to the Senate that basically says it's okay for motorcycles to go through a stoplight if the sensor didn't trip. There is a lot of "scenarios" involved in the bill to ensure safety and common sense are being used but at least someone has recognized the shortcomings of traffic lights in relation to motorcycles.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Legally speaking..

In most jurisdisctions you are not obligated to follow the direction of a defective traffic control device. Many of us have encountered a stop light that is stuck on red in the middle of the night on a deserted street. If a police officer were to be so foolish as to cite any motorist for going through such a stoplight, the case would most likely be thrown out by the judge. Of course, this assumes that a) the traffic control device really is broken and b) that the motorist came to a complete stop and ensured that the way was clear before proceeding. The argument would arise if the "defect" in the traffic light, etc. related to its inability to detect a motorcycle, versus a car or truck.

I have seen a number of devices advertised in motorcycle magazines that claim to eliminate this problem by triggering the sensors. I am curious if anyone has had any experience with such products.
 
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