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What to do when stuck at a car activated traffic light?

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What to do when stuck at a car activated traffic light?

Old 02-02-23, 01:30 PM
  #26  
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Looking at the pic in the OP again...I don't see a crosswalk on the right side of the intersection, so there might not be a pedestrian button available to push. I also don't see a double-yellow line in the middle of the cross street, with tells me that it might be 1-way traffic moving right to left. If so, this would eliminate the ability to turn right, then u-turn, and turn right again. If you cant get the ground sensor to recognize your bike, the only option might be to run the red light when it is clear to do so.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:24 PM
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Another option is to get off the bike and WALK across the intersection - in the crosswalk. If you are walking your bike, you are considered a pedestrian and can use the sidewalk and crosswalk.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:35 PM
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I don't get it why so many people are so concerned with legal stuff and state laws....Just use your common sense., look around make sure there are no cops around and go ahead and run the red light as long as it's safe to do so.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:38 PM
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I try and play nice and use the lights, but on occasion I might be first in line and its like pulling teeth getting the car behind me to pull up, so I try and wave them to come up to trip the light. I sort of point toward the light and wave them forward, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't so I just sit there until they get the clue. I will only go against the light if safe to do so, but I try and give it one cycle to see if it will pick me up.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:42 PM
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I have tried bunny-hopping on top of the embedded wires, but I'm not sure if it actually works. I've done the bike-lean, too.
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Old 02-02-23, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
I don't get it why so many people are so concerned with legal stuff and state laws....Just use your common sense., look around make sure there are no cops around and go ahead and run the red light as long as it's safe to do so.
kinda hard to out cycle the man, even if you have disc brakes don't wax.
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Old 02-02-23, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
I have tried bunny-hopping on top of the embedded wires, but I'm not sure if it actually works. I've done the bike-lean, too.
Traffic engineer here: No, bunny-hopping will not do anything because detector loops use sensors that check for a change in inductance and that is how they "see" a vehicle. Certain loop shapes are better at detecting motorcycles and bicycles and can be used at intersections where the number of these vehicles are high. Interestingly, even though carbon fiber is conductive, it is usually doesn't change the magnetic field enough to put in a call to change the light so if you're on your go-fast-all-CF bike, one of the methods described by others above probably will be the way to go.
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Old 02-02-23, 06:09 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by jolly_codger
Traffic engineer here: No, bunny-hopping will not do anything because detector loops use sensors that check for a change in inductance and that is how they "see" a vehicle. Certain loop shapes are better at detecting motorcycles and bicycles and can be used at intersections where the number of these vehicles are high. Interestingly, even though carbon fiber is conductive, it is usually doesn't change the magnetic field enough to put in a call to change the light so if you're on your go-fast-all-CF bike, one of the methods described by others above probably will be the way to go.
See, back in the 70s, we didn't know how those worked and thought it was a car's weight that triggered it. Nice to know I don't have to look silly jumping my bike up and down.
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Old 02-02-23, 06:18 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by jolly_codger
Traffic engineer here: No, bunny-hopping will not do anything because detector loops use sensors that check for a change in inductance and that is how they "see" a vehicle. Certain loop shapes are better at detecting motorcycles and bicycles and can be used at intersections where the number of these vehicles are high. Interestingly, even though carbon fiber is conductive, it is usually doesn't change the magnetic field enough to put in a call to change the light so if you're on your go-fast-all-CF bike, one of the methods described by others above probably will be the way to go.
I'm trying to think of the ferrous metal parts on my road bike. There aren't very many.
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Old 02-02-23, 06:34 PM
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will listening to heavy metal trigger it?
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Old 02-02-23, 08:21 PM
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Old 02-02-23, 08:31 PM
  #37  
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I go whenever it's safe to do so. Can't imagine a cop would care.
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Old 02-02-23, 10:28 PM
  #38  
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I had a cop try to give me a ticket for speeding once. The speed limit was 20, I was going 25, he clearly did not care about the mini-van in front of me doing 30, but whatever.
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Old 02-02-23, 10:53 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets
Is there a time clause also, like 3 minutes?

At many intersections there is no way to know if you've sat through a cycle. In some intersections the opposing traffic can trigger the light so you know they got a cycle, but at many you could just sit there indefinitely wondering if you'll get a green light and there will be no indication that any cycles have elapsed.
Am glad you asked. Pop 2 pieces of bread in a toaster (most Ďrealí cyclists carry them along with bread so they can carbo-load on the fly) and when the toast pops up - grab the toast and take the turn.
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Old 02-02-23, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul
will listening to heavy metal trigger it?
If not, the head-banging certainly will.
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Old 02-03-23, 06:44 AM
  #41  
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Since I tend to take similar routs, I get to know which light turn, which ones don't, etc. If I notice I've just missed the light on an intersection that takes time, I jump to the side walk, press the button, and cross...then jump back.
Or I practice my track stands, which gives some entertainment to others.
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Old 02-03-23, 08:57 AM
  #42  
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I've seen guys on Harleys fail to trigger an induction loop. Just sayin'.

My town went to motion detection cameras to trigger the lights when they switched over to LED signals. I'm told if you wear grey on a grey day on a grey street they might not 'see' you. Shrug. I put my headlamp on flash. 100% trigger.
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Old 02-03-23, 09:52 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by tcs
I've seen guys on Harleys fail to trigger an induction loop. Just sayin'.
Location. Location. Location. Cars are massive metal objects that trigger the loop no matter where they are located near the loop. Just being close to the loop is enough to trigger the signal. This is often a problem with the induction loops. Cars passing on the street perpendicular to the signal can sometime trigger them if they are set too sensitive. Motorcycles have to be closer to one of the legs of the loop to trip the signal. Bicycles have to be directly over the wires of the loop to trigger the signal. If I can see the cuts in the pavement, I will roll my bike directly over the center of the figure 8 or along the one of the legs of the loop if it is only a rectangular loop. I can trigger about almost all loop type traffic signals using this method.

Some caveats, however. First, I have to be able to see the loop. Paving often covers the loop and makes it next to impossible to find the wires. As the pavement ages, often it will crack and reveal the loop. Second, sometimes new loops are installed near the old ones and it can be difficult determining which loop is live. Since you have to be directly over the most sensitive part of the loop, I often choose the wrong wire. Rolling the wheel back and forth over the different wires can often tigger the signal. Third, sometimes the loop is deactivated and a motion sensor installed. the wires arenít pulled up so this can lead to confusion. Look for the motion sensor camera on the top of the light post.

I will say that I find motion sensors harder to trip and have a lower success rate with them.
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Old 02-03-23, 10:11 AM
  #44  
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It looks like there is a crosswalk signal on the left pole on the opposite side of the road. If so, I typically push the button and ride across when the light changes. Alternatively, I wait for a car. Lastly, if it is only a 2 lane road with low and relatively slow traffic, I go thru it. I have never been able to find the magic induction loop g spot.
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Old 02-03-23, 11:22 AM
  #45  
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PS At stop lines, video detection uses proprietary algorithms to identify changes in the image field created by stationary objects (radar detection identifies moving objects approaching the signal). The field of vision, i.e. the detection zone, is programmed by the user so if you can, the best chance of getting seen is to be in the middle of a lane. Not guaranteed because the user may have set it up to ignore certain sized objects.
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Old 02-03-23, 11:44 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Location. Location. Location. Cars are massive metal objects that trigger the loop no matter where they are located near the loop. Just being close to the loop is enough to trigger the signal. This is often a problem with the induction loops. Cars passing on the street perpendicular to the signal can sometime trigger them if they are set too sensitive. Motorcycles have to be closer to one of the legs of the loop to trip the signal. Bicycles have to be directly over the wires of the loop to trigger the signal. If I can see the cuts in the pavement, I will roll my bike directly over the center of the figure 8 or along the one of the legs of the loop if it is only a rectangular loop. I can trigger about almost all loop type traffic signals using this method.

Some caveats, however. First, I have to be able to see the loop. Paving often covers the loop and makes it next to impossible to find the wires. As the pavement ages, often it will crack and reveal the loop. Second, sometimes new loops are installed near the old ones and it can be difficult determining which loop is live. Since you have to be directly over the most sensitive part of the loop, I often choose the wrong wire. Rolling the wheel back and forth over the different wires can often tigger the signal. Third, sometimes the loop is deactivated and a motion sensor installed. the wires arenít pulled up so this can lead to confusion. Look for the motion sensor camera on the top of the light post.

I will say that I find motion sensors harder to trip and have a lower success rate with them.
How much ferrous metal is on/in your bike? My road bike has very little (axles and bolts are about it).
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Old 02-03-23, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
How much ferrous metal is on/in your bike? My road bike has very little (axles and bolts are about it).
All my bikes are either aluminum or titanium. Very little of it is ferrous. This illustration from an article from the US Federal Highway Administration explains what is happening nicely. The wheels are the part of the bike that trips the light because they are closest to the loop. The vast majority of bicycle wheels are aluminum so having iron around isnít really needed. The frame has little influence on the induction coil.


​​​​​​​The black arrows represent the current flow in the loop wire and the induced current flow in the cycle wheels and frame. The white arrows represent the magnetic flux generated by the current flows. The result is a change in the loop frequency. The loop amplifier can measure this change. Note that it is the shorted turn that causes the reduction in loop inductance and thus the actuation. Source: Based on Figure 2-9, FHWA, Traffic Detector Handbook.
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Old 02-03-23, 12:22 PM
  #48  
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Stop, look both ways and cautiously proceed…………. Did I mention that I curse while doing so lol.
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Old 02-03-23, 03:15 PM
  #49  
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I act like a pedestrian and make two crossing of the roads if possible. Some places I need to look for a gap in oncoming traffic and sprint across. What is important is not to die.
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Old 02-03-23, 09:56 PM
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Also a traffic engineer. That being said, the commentary below is general in nature, is not legal advice or an engineering work product, and is worth exactly what you're paying for it.

Most inductive loop detector types, if working properly and not damaged, can be adjusted to properly sense bicycles (or more precisely, metal bicycle rims) close to the loop wires without placing "false calls" from traffic in adjacent lanes. Diagonal-wire loops and quadrupole (sideways figure-8) loops are typically best for bike detection, while circular loops as used frequently in California don't have as good a reputation for detecting bikes. But this depends on whether the signal crew that maintains the signal is actually adjusting the loop sensitivities.

Phoenix Arizona has an online form at https://www.phoenix.gov/streets/traffic-signal-issues for reporting signal problems such as detection failures. A decade or so ago, submitting one of these forms would typically result in a call a few days later from a signal supervisor saying the problem is fixed and to come out and test it. In the past several years, though, roughly coinciding with party-control turnover in the City Council (although elections are nominally nonpartisan), these complaints seem to be ignored, and when escalated get a "we don't adjust detectors for bicycles except on designated bike routes" response from the Street Transportation staff. And some of the signal detectors on designated bike routes such as 15th Avenue are remarkably bicycle-indifferent.

As for bicyclist behavior adaptations: Arizona does not have a specific exception for bicyclists at a signalized intersection which does not detect their presence. ARS 28-645.C states that an an "inoperative" signal a driver may stop and proceed when safe, but this is generally intended for right of way regulation at dark signals due to power failure or other similar problem. To my knowledge there is no legal precedent that defines a non-detecting signal as "inoperative". What I've actually witnessed is bicyclists either running the signal (and vulnerable to citation under ARS 28-645.A.3), or executing a "right-U-right" maneuver, which may be legal depending on choice of location for the U turn, and allows the rider to choose when and where they make each part of that maneuver depending on number of lanes, presence of a median, and presence of other traffic. But it does involve extra time and distance.
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