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Traffic Lights

Old 06-10-08, 07:11 PM
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Traffic Lights

Sometimes we run into a traffic light, that can not be tripped by a bicycle, I know of one, and sent a nice email to one of our city council members, got a nice email back from his secretary saying that it had been forwarded to a gentleman in the Transportation Office, who will send someone to look into it.

If you find traffic lights in your city that are not being tripped by a bicycle, then you should pass that on to your local city representative, they love to show how they are serving their constituents. You know, of the 1/2 dozen times or so, I have contacted my political representative, it's been a good experience......
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Old 06-10-08, 07:15 PM
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Nice to live in Canada, eh. The lights here won't trip by bicycle at all, and the only response I got from the city has been a deafening silence.
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Old 06-10-08, 07:30 PM
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Ours don't even have voice mail, so I doubt they even get my message. I found an email link to one of the city people, so I have just started emailing him. Things get done, just slower than I want. Too bad lights is not even going to make the list. Here there are signs telling us we can't ride bicycles within two blocks of our downtown squard.
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Old 06-10-08, 08:26 PM
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South Carolina's General assembly just passed a bill, that our Governor signed into law, that allows a bicycle, moped, motorcycle, or other pedal driven vehicle to run a red light if it is a sensor trigger that won't recognize a bike, but after waiting for two minutes and traffic has cleared.

However, I fought a red light ticket and won, telling the judge the light malfunctioned and the sensor wouldn't change the light because my bike was too light and aluminum. He agreed and dismissed my ticket.
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Old 06-10-08, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
Nice to live in Canada, eh. The lights here won't trip by bicycle at all, and the only response I got from the city has been a deafening silence.
Try contacting your city councilor, set up an appointment with his or her office, and see if this isn't something they would be willing to look into. City hall is like an onion, city councilors are the skin of the onion, the guys who fix lights and paint bike lanes are in the middle. You talk to your city councilor, who talks to a department head, who talks to managers, who talk to supervisors, who get a crew to go fix something. The city councilor who got the traffic lights to trip for cyclists, is going to come out smelling like a rose. Now smelling like a rose, is what gets politicians re-elected (see all the HARD work I did?)
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Old 06-10-08, 10:13 PM
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I've installed traffic lights and ground sensor loops. There is no way to adjust their sensitivity to detect a bicycle. Attempting to do so makes the loop detect cars in adjacent lanes.

Last edited by Richard_Rides; 06-10-08 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 06-10-08, 10:22 PM
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Just a suggestion I have read elsewhere:
Lots of those lights that are triggered by cars work on a magnetic field. Since the car has tons of metal there is plenty to activate it. A bike--even a full steel beast like a LHT isn't enough to break the magnetic field and activate the trigger.

However, we just bought some rare-earth magnets from this site and in their FAQ section there was a question about using a magnet to trip the sensor. Their reply was "maybe". I suppose the idea is to get a big honkin strong magnet and glue/epoxy it to be bottom bracket area. If you are on a steel bike the magnet would hold itself in place.

If you are in an area with lots of these sensors it might be worth a shot.
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Old 06-11-08, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
South Carolina's General assembly just passed a bill, that our Governor signed into law, that allows a bicycle, moped, motorcycle, or other pedal driven vehicle to run a red light if it is a sensor trigger that won't recognize a bike, but after waiting for two minutes and traffic has cleared.
NC passed similar legislation last year.
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Old 06-11-08, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by flip18436572
Ours don't even have voice mail, so I doubt they even get my message. I found an email link to one of the city people, so I have just started emailing him. Things get done, just slower than I want. Too bad lights is not even going to make the list. Here there are signs telling us we can't ride bicycles within two blocks of our downtown squard.
Post a photo of the No Bicycle Sign,
Thanks
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Old 06-11-08, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard_Rides
I've installed traffic lights and ground sensor loops. There is no way to adjust their sensitivity to detect a bicycle. Attempting to do so makes the loop detect cars in adjacent lanes.
Correct if I am wrong on this, but I have noticed in my travels that different sensor type are typically used in differnet climates. In the south we have ground based sensors because we almost never get any snow. In colder cliamtes I have noticed that they usually use what I assume are motion based sensors suspended next to the light itself.

None of our lights are triggered by me on my bike. I also live don't live in a city. I would be having to go through my County commisioner. Quite frankly, I have only had to wait at a light a couple of times. I can see it being a pain if I was trying to commute though.
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Old 06-11-08, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard_Rides
I've installed traffic lights and ground sensor loops. There is no way to adjust their sensitivity to detect a bicycle. Attempting to do so makes the loop detect cars in adjacent lanes.
There may be no way of adjusting the sensor so that they will detect a bicycle when it breaks any part of the loop but there are ways of triggering sensors with bicycles that are easy to do. And, no, it doesn't involve magnets or laying the bicycling on the pavement. Here's is a good, if somewhat technical, article on it by Steve Goodridge, a cyclist that post on the forums occasionally. And here's a Reader Digest version.

I use this method with great reliability if I can determine where the sensors are located. They do get buried during resurfacing.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:44 AM
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In Washington, the law states that if the signal goes through 2 cycles without recognizing a vehicle is present it is considered to be malfunctioning and you may proceed through the red light when traffic has cleared.
There's a couple of lights like that on my commute, where the LTO arrow won't trip and the opposing lane gets to go. I wait at the light until the opposing traffic is clear, and I zip through.
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Old 06-11-08, 08:50 AM
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Of course, there's always the alternative of temporarily converting yourself to a pedestrian and crossing in a crosswalk.
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Old 06-11-08, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by deraltekluge
Of course, there's always the alternative of temporarily converting yourself to a pedestrian and crossing in a crosswalk.
What is this this crosswalk you speak of

I guess there is one on my commute. It crosses one direction at a 4 way intersection so it helps me in one direction at least. The other dozen or so lights each way I'm on my own. Even where there are sidewalks they oddly end about 6-8ft before the intersection, followed by a big ditch, and then no crosswalk. Same deal with the "bike" paths in the shopping district.
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Old 06-11-08, 09:37 AM
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Im with you Tom..Missouri is a super unfreindly bike area. We have the katy trail but its hard to get to that everytime you want to ride and its a 100 miles away. I was riding the other day about 8-10 inches from the curb...a lady yelled at me. I blew her off. When i stopped at a conveinence store for a water she was there and started reaming me about how careless i was and i should be on teh sidewalk not in traffic. I started to explain to her i was well within my rights and she just walked away...jeez.
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Old 06-11-08, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard_Rides
I've installed traffic lights and ground sensor loops. There is no way to adjust their sensitivity to detect a bicycle. Attempting to do so makes the loop detect cars in adjacent lanes.
What they sometimes do, at least here, is there is a section of the loop that is specially marked with three white dots, that is extra sensitive, and will detect a bicycle. The idea is to put that in the curb lane, on the right side of the loop, so it's not near a car in the other lanes. It does work, unfortunately they sometimes do road repair work, and either replace the loop with a different one that doesn't contain this section, or fail to mark it. The three painted dots sometimes also fade away after a few years, so if they are not repainted, the loop disappears.
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Old 06-11-08, 04:57 PM
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Old school......Find the sensor loop and lay your bike at an angle over the loop. My question though is.....can they be tripped with a AL framed bike?
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Old 06-11-08, 05:50 PM
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Thankfully all the lights around here run on timers.
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