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Long IslandNassau

Community watchdog: Vehicle detectors ignore motorcyclist

I ride a motorcycle, and the magnetic detectors embedded in the pavement that trip

the traffic signals at many

intersections in Nassau

County don't work for bikes. You can sit at a light and it'll never change. You can wait and hope a car pulls up close enough to set off the detector, but many bikers who get tired of waiting often go through the red light or make a right, then a U-turn, or go around the block. It's dangerous,

and even the magnetic devices made for motorcycles to solve this problem don't work. The light I'm most often trapped at near my home is at Wantagh Parkway and Merrick Road.

- Larry Behar, Wantagh

This shouldn't be happening, Nassau Public Works Commissioner Ray Ribeiro said. "All of the detectors are designed to pick up the metal in any type of vehicle, including motorcycles," Ribeiro said. "But if someone feels they're not being detected, we can go

out and check them, and we

would make adjustments as necessary."

He asked Sheila M. Dukacz, who is in charge of traffic signal maintenance for the county, to check out the complaint, and she met Behar at the Wantagh Parkway-Merrick Road intersection. After seeing that the detector was having problems picking up the motorcycle sometimes, she said, "We changed a number of pieces of equipment in that [control] cabinet and we're hoping it makes a

difference for the motorcycles that occasionally weren't being picked up."

We'd heard this was a common problem and contacted other motorcycle riders. Jaime Cruz, president of the Nassau Wings Motorcycle Club, sent us a list of signals he and his members say are unresponsive to motorcycles, and the locations of several signals reported to him by other motorcycle clubs. We forwarded the list to Dukacz who said, "We're looking at all of them and seeing if there are any issues."

Responding the way we wish all public officials would, she vowed to try to remedy any similar problems that arise in Nassau: Bikers who believe their motorcycles are not being detected can call her, Dukacz said. "I can meet them at any intersection in Nassau and see

if there's a problem."

For questions about any of the 1,600 traffic signals owned and maintained by Nassau County, call 516-572-0465. For problems with signals on state-maintained roads, call 631-724-4040.

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