ODOT improving Traffic Signal Safety for Motorcycles and Scooters (and Bikes)

COLUMBUS (April 29, 2009) - As more Ohioans choose motorcycles and scooters as their primary means of transportation in warmer weather, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is taking special steps to ensure their safety at intersections across the state.
Over the past several months, ODOT has worked closely with the American Motorcycle Association to target automated traffic signals that are not sensitive enough to recognize when a motorcycle or scooter is waiting for a light to change. Frustrated bikers or the drivers in cars behind them may choose to run the red light, putting them and other motorists at serious risk.
Last year there were 60 intersection-related motorcycle fatalities, representing nearly a third of all motorcycle fatalities in Ohio.
To enlist the help of Ohio’s motorcyclists, ODOT has set up a special phone number - (614) 387-0722 - and email address - bike.report@dot.state.oh.us - for motorcyclists to report these problem intersections. 
ODOT will then notify signal owners - often a city or county - about the problem and offer recommendations, such as increasing the sensitivity of the in-ground loop detectors which trigger the signal. Another possible solution is to paint symbols on the pavement where motorcyclists should stop to activate the loop detector.
ODOT will update the state’s construction specifications later this summer to improve traffic signal safety at future intersections. Any new signals that are paid for using federal or state transportation money will be required to follow the updated specifications, which will include improved layout and sensitivity requirements for loop detectors.
With the riding season now underway, ODOT is joining the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Highway Patrol on a new campaign to improve motorcycle safety. “Ride SMART” encourages motorcyclists to ride Sober; ride Motorcycle endorsed; ride Alert; use the Right gear; and ride Trained. 
Motorcycle fatalities have increased 35 percent over the last three years on Ohio’s roads, from 133 fatalities in 2004 to 214 fatalities in 2008.
ODOT will display motorcycle safety messages on highway message boards in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton over the next several weeks during weeknights and weekends.
Motorcyclists can get up-to-date road closure and construction information by visiting www.buckeyetraffic.org, ODOT’s 24-hour online source for state roadway and traffic conditions.