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Old 04-02-09, 10:41 AM   #1
snowman40
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Red Light Sensor

So I decided to try and triger the left turn signal by waiting in the left turn lane (a road leading from a golf course, and has virtually no traffic at 715ish in the morning) where the sensor is and proceeded to wait 3 cycles before giving up and hitting the cyclist button to trigger the light (which took another 2 cycles).

Is there a trick to getting those to trigger the light when it is just me and no cars? It is really an annoyance to cross the street and then wait again.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:43 AM   #2
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Others will disagree, but just wait until it's clear (if at all) and run the light. There are a couple lights nearby that I cannot trigger, and the suggestion of calling the county/DOT/whoever is a waste of time because they really don't care.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:44 AM   #3
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If its an induction coil, you can look for the grooves in the road forming a rectangle and ride over the grooves. That might help.

What might actually work is strapping a couple of 15" steel car rims to a front rack. If you go this route, please post pictures...
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Old 04-02-09, 10:46 AM   #4
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Others will disagree, but just wait until it's clear (if at all) and run the light. There are a couple lights nearby that I cannot trigger, and the suggestion of calling the county/DOT/whoever is a waste of time because they really don't care.
Actually, I disagree. Call the DOT or whomever and log a complaint. Do it a couple of times. Keep good records. That way, when you get plowed into by a car, your family can use it as evidence when they sue to get their tax money back.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:50 AM   #5
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Laws vary by state, but up here in WA it's considered a malfunctioning signal if it goes 2 cycles without changing, and you're legally allowed to proceed on the red if the opposing traffic is clear.
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Old 04-02-09, 10:52 AM   #6
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same in PA. Although calling to complain is not a bad idea. There is only one light I know I can trigger, and I do it for fun sometimes when I've had a run in with a motorist.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:03 AM   #7
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If its an induction coil, you can look for the grooves in the road forming a rectangle and ride over the grooves. That might help.

What might actually work is strapping a couple of 15" steel car rims to a front rack. If you go this route, please post pictures...
Bike wheels work just fine...no need for magnets, steel bricks, voodoo hexes, etc. Here's the involved version of how and why bike wheels can trip traffic signals. Here's the Reader's Digest version.

If I can find the loop...the wires can get buried during repaving so you can't find the sweet spot...I find the above to be successful over 90% of the time. I seldom find a light I can't trip...as long as I can find the wires
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Old 04-02-09, 11:13 AM   #8
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So basically, I have to ride over the seams in the asphalt and not wait in the middle of the patch?

I feel like a ****** now.

I'll try again tomorrow and then complain to city hall. I doubt they'll do anything since at that time of the morning there is nobody leaving the golf course.

As for running the red, if it wasn't an arterial road with the 405 on ramps less than a mile away, no, I won't run a red. I'll roll through stop signs (after pausing/hesitating if no one is turning across me), but I will not run a red.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:17 AM   #9
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Eh, do what you gotta do. I don't blow through reds, but if I can't trigger a light and I am looking up and down a mile of empty road at 6:30am, I'm going.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:21 AM   #10
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Bike wheels work just fine...no need for magnets, steel bricks, voodoo hexes, etc. Here's the involved version of how and why bike wheels can trip traffic signals. Here's the Reader's Digest version.

If I can find the loop...the wires can get buried during repaving so you can't find the sweet spot...I find the above to be successful over 90% of the time. I seldom find a light I can't trip...as long as I can find the wires
+1. People often get confused when told it's a magnetic induction loop. They think they need a magnet or steel it trip it. Not so. Bear in mind the metal detectors used by contractors and scavengers at the park use the very same technology to find copper, silver, gold, and (to their consternation) aluminum cans.

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So basically, I have to ride over the seams in the asphalt and not wait in the middle of the patch?
Yup. That's the ticket.
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Old 04-02-09, 11:23 AM   #11
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Whatever you do when you call city hall don't mention it won't work on x but it'll work on y.. If they are anything like Flower Mound they'll have a crew out on y making sure to adjust it so it won't work for bikes.

I'm not calling to tell that about my alternate route that includes hitting a crosswalk which for whatever reason gives me a green light and walk sign for 90 seconds. Cutting off traffic on a main 6 lane road during rushhour. That is much better than letting a bicycle trigger a light that is yellow before I get halfway across eh?
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Old 04-02-09, 11:38 AM   #12
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proceeded to wait 3 cycles before giving up and hitting the cyclist button to trigger the light (which took another 2 cycles).
What is this cyclist button you speak of? Just a pedestrian crosswalk button?
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Old 04-02-09, 11:44 AM   #13
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Others will disagree, but just wait until it's clear (if at all) and run the light. There are a couple lights nearby that I cannot trigger, and the suggestion of calling the county/DOT/whoever is a waste of time because they really don't care.
My bamboo bike won't trigger any of the lights in town.
I run them as well.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:15 PM   #14
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What is this cyclist button you speak of? Just a pedestrian crosswalk button?
It is a button at the curb on a pole (it looks like a cross walk button) and has a sign that says Cyclists push button for green....my guess is you don't have them in your town?

kind of like this http://www.ezyplates.sa.gov.au/safet...s/110_1052.JPG

It is usually the only way I can get across the arterial road since it is so near the highway.

And if I call city hall, I won't shoot myself in the foot and say I am riding a bike. I'd say something like my delivery truck isn't being picked up and it is making me late for my remaining deliveries.
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Old 04-02-09, 12:54 PM   #15
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It is a button at the curb on a pole (it looks like a cross walk button) and has a sign that says Cyclists push button for green....my guess is you don't have them in your town?

kind of like this http://www.ezyplates.sa.gov.au/safet...s/110_1052.JPG

It is usually the only way I can get across the arterial road since it is so near the highway.

And if I call city hall, I won't shoot myself in the foot and say I am riding a bike. I'd say something like my delivery truck isn't being picked up and it is making me late for my remaining deliveries.
So they have a means for a cyclist making a left turn to trigger the light, but the cyclist must do it from the side of the road in the right-most lane?
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Old 04-02-09, 01:47 PM   #16
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My bamboo bike won't trigger any of the lights in town.
I run them as well.
You have bamboo rims? It's the rims that trigger the signal, if you are parked right over the loop. Inverse square law, you know.
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Old 04-02-09, 02:03 PM   #17
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So they have a means for a cyclist making a left turn to trigger the light, but the cyclist must do it from the side of the road in the right-most lane?
No, it doens't trigger the left, just traffic crossing the arterial.
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Old 04-02-09, 02:19 PM   #18
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There's currently two kinds of sensors in use. One is the old induction loop detector, which works just like a metal detector. There are wires laid in grooves cut in a square or figure-8 pattern in the roadway, and then slots are then re-sealed or paved over.

For bikes, they work best when you put the bike directly over one of the grooves, or sometimes will have the "sweet spot" stenciled on the pavement, showing you where to stop your bike.

In far too many cases the detectors aren't tuned to be sensitive enough to pick up a bicycle, or even motorcycles. And in some places like here in Little Rock, they're placed way back from the light so that they only work when traffic is backed up 4 to 6 car lengths...



Many intersections now use camera-actuated detectors. These are focused on spots in front of the traffic light, and are triggered when the camera detects a change in contrast or color in the targeted square. These work well for bikes, and even better when you're wearing some sort of light-colored clothing that stands out from the paved background...

And no, we don't have pedestrian buttons on many of the intersections...
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Old 04-02-09, 02:27 PM   #19
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And in some places like here in Little Rock, they're placed way back from the light so that they only work when traffic is backed up 4 to 6 car lengths...
I've caught onto that trick here.

There is one induction loop sensor my bike just won't trigger, I don't know why. So I run that light.
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Old 04-02-09, 04:10 PM   #20
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On that coil, you don't want to break the plain of the horizontal wires that run left to right on the picture. You want to position your wheel over directly over the vertical wires. And you want to keep your wheel directly over them for a long as possible.

For a figure 8 loop


you want your wheels directly over the center wire shown in green above. The picture above comes from a guy who has developed an electronic device to interact with the loop. However, if you learn how to trip the light, no electronics are needed.
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Old 04-02-09, 04:34 PM   #21
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This is all really useful!

I'll try again tomorrow as my evening ride I don't have to worry about it as much as it is mostly right turns and no crossing of arterial roads.
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Old 04-02-09, 04:38 PM   #22
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And you want to keep your wheel directly over them for a long as possible.
There's one loop on my route where if you pull off the center line of the sensor before the light has turned green it will not give you a green (just a brief moment of reds for everybody). It's set so that it trips when you hit it, but if you roll over it, through the stop line, and into the x-walk before it's had time to give cross traffic a yellow and then a red, then no green for you.
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Old 04-02-09, 07:07 PM   #23
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Others will disagree, but just wait until it's clear (if at all) and run the light.
Which is what you're supposed to do at a malfunctioning light in any kind of vehicle.
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Old 04-02-09, 07:18 PM   #24
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In far too many cases the detectors aren't tuned to be sensitive enough to pick up a bicycle, or even motorcycles. And in some places like here in Little Rock, they're placed way back from the light so that they only work when traffic is backed up 4 to 6 car lengths...
I've noticed that at some lights the inductive loop detector works fine, but at others, getting your front wheel over the metal does not work at all. Most of the coils in my area are hexagonal... often there are a series of these... and I simply aim to cross the forward-most side with my wheel.
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Old 04-02-09, 07:27 PM   #25
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On that coil, you don't want to break the plain of the horizontal wires that run left to right on the picture. You want to position your wheel over directly over the vertical wires. And you want to keep your wheel directly over them for a long as possible.
I read somewhere that you should cross the frontmost (north) side of the square. Are you saying I would have more success crossing either the west or east side of the square??? Your "Reader's Digest" article seems to indicate this...

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