Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-02-09, 12:13 AM   #1
olegb
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Chicago IL
Bikes: Surly Crosscheck
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
3 bicyclists = 1 car ... at least as far as a traffic light concerns

On my commute home, there is a left-turn traffic light that does not give a .... for two-wheelers. Usually, I wait for a minute or two for a random car that turn left. If no luck, I do a usual shpil: left on a crosswalk and right over the road to the right side.

Today, two bicyclists pooling behind me, and no cars turning left with us. While we are waiting, I am saying to my accidental partners:

"this !@#$ does not give us enough respect, only turns a left arrow for the cars".

To my surprise, the light (as if overheard me) turns the left arrow green. Wow... power to the people!
olegb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-09, 12:25 AM   #2
MilitantPotato
Subjectively Insane
 
MilitantPotato's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Bikes: '09 Rodriguez Adventurer Custom, '08 Trek 7.3Fx
Posts: 802
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Position is key on those damned things, normally. You can legally run them if they don't turn for you, how long you need to wait depends on local laws though.

Call your local DOT, they might have info on where to sit to trigger it, having a steel bike helps.
MilitantPotato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-09, 12:45 AM   #3
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Bikes:
Posts: 6,224
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
Position is key on those damned things, normally. You can legally run them if they don't turn for you, how long you need to wait depends on local laws though.

Call your local DOT, they might have info on where to sit to trigger it, having a steel bike helps.
More importantly, the sensitivity is adjustable and they should be willing to come out and turn it up enough to detect your bike. The most commonly used detectors are inductive loop sensors which will detect any metal objects (Fe, Al, Ti should all work fine, but CF isn't as good a conductor). On bicycles the parts that are usually detected best are the aluminum rims since they're closest to the road surface. Where the sensors are marginal I find that laying the bike down can help to trigger them. If the road hasn't been resurfaced you can see the cuts in the pavement to position your bike over the sensor. If it has been resurfaced then usually putting the bike near the middle of the lane and just behind the stop line will be over the sensor.

Note that Caltrans has just come out with a new policy directive calling for all new and upgraded traffic sensors to properly detect bicycles and motorcycles - it becomes effective next week. Although it doesn't directly address existing traffic signal sensors, it might encourage the local DOTs to be more responsive to concerns of cyclists and do a better job of adjusting the sensitivities.

Last edited by prathmann; 09-02-09 at 12:50 AM.
prathmann is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-09, 05:10 AM   #4
ItsJustMe
Seņior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
Posts: 13,356
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 198 Post(s)
Here's the standard reference for this:
http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...nals/green.htm

This has always worked for me, but if this doesn't work, try lying your bike down at a low angle with a wheel over the sensor. One traffic engineer said that a bike wheel laid down near the ground actually generates a larger signal than a car.

To head these off; magnets probably don't work, and it doesn't matter what your bike is made out of as long as it's a good conducgtor (as prathmann says above).
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-09, 07:11 PM   #5
UmneyDurak
RacingBear
 
UmneyDurak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NorCal
Bikes:
Posts: 8,602
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by olegb View Post
On my commute home, there is a left-turn traffic light that does not give a .... for two-wheelers. Usually, I wait for a minute or two for a random car that turn left. If no luck, I do a usual shpil: left on a crosswalk and right over the road to the right side.

Today, two bicyclists pooling behind me, and no cars turning left with us. While we are waiting, I am saying to my accidental partners:

"this !@#$ does not give us enough respect, only turns a left arrow for the cars".

To my surprise, the light (as if overheard me) turns the left arrow green. Wow... power to the people!
You can also legally treat it as a broken light and make a left turn when it is safe....

UD
UmneyDurak is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:41 PM.