If you are a motorcycle rider in Harris County, it’s likely that you use the HOV lanes throughout town. If so, BE CAREFUL! METRO is the entity responsible for the HOV lanes and they don’t always warn you of the dangers out there. The latest example is the 45 South HOV lane. If you use this HOV lane to come from Clear Lake in the mornings, you better be careful when you get to the downtown exit. There is a metal gate arm at the exit into downtown which is operated by a electric motor. The electric motor is turned off and on by the “loop sensors” located in the pavement. Unfortunately, these loop detectors and gate arm mechanisms were never designed for motorcycles. This recently came to my attention in a current lawsuit I have filed against Metro. When we inspected the scene, I noticed a big warning on the gate arm itself which says “Cars Only, No pedestrians, motorcycles or bicycles.” The reason the manufacturer of this equipment puts this warning on there is because the “loop sensors” operate on an electromagnetic force. Cars are the only thing which contain enough metal to trip the “loop sensors” and make the gate arm go up and down. Metro knew of this limitation the day the gate arm was installed. However, they never told any one about this. Instead, they promote the HOV lanes to motorcycles as a safe place to travel. Bottom line is be very careful. These unassuming gate arms can cause serious injury to those on motorcycles.
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