Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Intersection Madness

Old 06-14-05, 03:09 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by cryogenic
If anyone's wondering how horrible that intersection really is... Look here
Yeah, it looks really nice from space, doesnít it? It even has beautifully painted pedestrian crossings.

But thereís no pedestrian light. And while you're trying to cross all those lanes of busy and fast moving traffic, cars always have a green light to run you over from at least two sides. And they're not shy about doing just that. It's beyond comprehension.

You know, that intersection wouldnít be that bad if only they would sort out those stupid lights that cause all those accidents. Itís not rocket science, for Christ sake! And put push-buttons for pedestrians.

As is, it's the most stupidly designed intersection that I know. And I have to bicycle there every day.

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Old 06-14-05, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jreeder
That's pretty close, but here is a better explanation:

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question234.htm
Well, if thatís how simple those detectors are, surely somebody should be able to come up with a matchbox-size gizmo to activate them. No?

Iíd gladly carry such a gizmo when I ride at night and Iíd trade somebody elseís arm and leg for it.
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Old 06-14-05, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jitteringjr
Thats true, it would need to be steel. Hmm the only things steel on my Jamis comet were the spokes in the K elites, the chain, chainrings, and the cassette. Comparitively the Bianchi has the same steel parts with the exception of the spokes. Would steel spokes be enought to make the difference to set one off or not?
I wouldn't think so. I guess it all just boils down to how sensitive the circuit is to changes in inductance. Most of those lights that operate on sensors are complemented by timed intervals though, so that if they go long enough without getting tripped, they'll change anyway. But the intervals are LOOOOONG.
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Old 06-14-05, 04:13 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by jitteringjr
Thats true, it would need to be steel. Hmm the only things steel on my Jamis comet were the spokes in the K elites, the chain, chainrings, and the cassette. Comparitively the Bianchi has the same steel parts with the exception of the spokes. Would steel spokes be enought to make the difference to set one off or not?
I'm riding an aluminium bike and I can trip the sensors. Wheel and centrebracket axle's are steel and maybe the sensors are just more sensitive around here.

Regards, AnthonyG
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Old 06-14-05, 04:58 PM
  #30  
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Am I the only one that grew up thinking they were pressure sensors? All those years of bunny hopping in a six square foot box never did pay off!
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Old 06-14-05, 06:44 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG
I'm riding an aluminium bike and I can trip the sensors. Wheel and centrebracket axle's are steel and maybe the sensors are just more sensitive around here.

Regards, AnthonyG
But I am talking about the same lights that I tripped last year with my aluminum Jamis, I am not able to trip this year with my Carbon Bianchi.
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Old 06-14-05, 07:38 PM
  #32  
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Call and complain, keep at it, be persistent. Check web pages, white pages, goverment listings. Find the traffic engineering, maintenance dept, get transfered, told to call other numbers, evenutually you will find someone to file a complaint (a positive one, not a whine) that the inductive sensor needs to be tuned to be more sensitive. Keep at it. Once you get that persons name, note it, develop a friendly relationship (thank them when its fixed) and contact them for other problem intersections when needed. Your persistence and time will benefit many other cyclists. With this method I have had success, but not overnight. Bottom line is the best and safest method to cross an intersection is just like all the other vehicles, so makes sure the facilties support bikes too. You will feel so good when you finally get results. Better to spend your time on the phone with the people how can fix it than tellling us online about the problem.

Al
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Old 06-14-05, 08:32 PM
  #33  
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It's tough to move the govvies. Once the bureaucrats get fixated on something or reach closure on an issue, you're toast. Cyclists are not very high on the list of constituent service.

In MD, the Democrats are fixated on destroying the part of the path leading to the Capital Crescent Trail by creating a light rail line on the path. They will undoubtedly try to extend this to VA, effectively gutting the trail. And this is a highly utilized multi-use pathway. Everybody from Lance wannabees to retirees to my 10 yr old uses this trail. The odds of having an impact on existing traffic patterns based on poor cycling conditions is pretty much zero.

So vent on. At least you'll get some sympathy.

And if you're pissed enough to start pestering the gov't, don't push the cyclist angle, they won't care. Write them letters stressing how unsafe the intersection is for children and how sooner or later one of the little dears is going to get killed. Fear of lawsuits can move mountains.
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Old 06-15-05, 02:07 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by jreeder
Also, I'm almost certain that the only frame material that would have any effect on the inductance of the coil sensor is steel since it's magnetic. Al, Ti, CF... you're all out of luck.
Here's an informative article on the subject. According to that (and this), the sensors detect small changes in inductance caused by any conductive material perturbing the field, and "the wheels of the bike are the most effective bike parts for detection".

Good reading.

-JAB
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Old 06-15-05, 04:21 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by cryogenic
If anyone's wondering how horrible that intersection really is... Look here

Wow... We don't have anything even remotely close to being that bad around here at all.
That is cool from space. Nasty set of intersections back to back.

--How about crossing the interstate by using the bridge ?1/2 mile East of that set of nasties? Seems (from space) to be a better route.
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Old 06-15-05, 06:23 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Camel
That is cool from space. Nasty set of intersections back to back.

--How about crossing the interstate by using the bridge ?1/2 mile East of that set of nasties? Seems (from space) to be a better route.
Doesn't work that way at ground level!


Originally Posted by SpongeDad
It's tough to move the govvies. Once the bureaucrats get fixated on something or reach closure on an issue, you're toast. Cyclists are not very high on the list of constituent service....
That is why you go to the county supervisor and state delegate. Their office have people who handle constituent issues. Takes time, patience and persistence, but sometimes it works.


(edit)

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Old 06-15-05, 07:50 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by jreeder
That's pretty close, but here is a better explanation:

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question234.htm

Also, I'm almost certain that the only frame material that would have any effect on the inductance of the coil sensor is steel since it's magnetic. Al, Ti, CF... you're all out of luck.
Any conductive material should trip the induction coil. It's not a magnetic phenomena but instead an electomagnetic phenomena. As long as the bike has something that will conduct electricity, it will cause a change in the current of the loop. But you have to be over the most sensistive part of the loop with any bike to properly trip it. For dipole loops (the figure 8 kind) that means being directly over the middle of the loop. I line up on the middle of the coil and ride its entire length and rarely have problems tripping the sensor on 99% of the lights in the Denver Metro area.

Some intersections are now being fitted with motion sensors which change the dynamics of tripping the light entirely. Cyclists present too narrow a profile for us to be noticed by the sensor. I've found that if you do a little right "hook" in the lane- not much, just a little bit - you present a broader profile and the sensor will detect you. The motion sensors are mounted on top of the stop light pole and look like long cameras.
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Old 06-15-05, 08:04 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Vickie
Well, if thatís how simple those detectors are, surely somebody should be able to come up with a matchbox-size gizmo to activate them. No?

Iíd gladly carry such a gizmo when I ride at night and Iíd trade somebody elseís arm and leg for it.
It's a mass issue really. Mass as in weight of metal. The coils are set so that they don't go off when cross traffic passes them. Traffic engineers could turn up the current so that they would trip whenever any metal passes any part of the coil but then the light would constantly trip which is not what they want, although it would slow traffic down. We cyclists are riding machines that weigh 1/100th (or less) of the weight of an automobile so we can't just ride into the intersection and expect the induction coil to sense us. But if you follow the advice given in the link it works most of the time. The added benefit is that when you ride over the center of a dipole loop (the middle of the lane), especially on left turns, you are positioned just exactly where you should be to take off from the light. It lets you control the traffic behind you until you can safely clear the intersection.

As large an intersection as you are talking about, it may have motion sensors anyway. Call your local traffic engineer and discuss the intersection. Most of these guys are good people. They don't work for the government because they want to get rich but because they want to help people. Be polite and be informed and you'll be amazed what you can accomplish. Do not go to them like you are slaying dragons, which is the way 99% of their calls usually go. If you are nice to them, they will be nice to you. Trust me. I know lots of traffic engineers and a pleasant phone call will go a long way towards making their day.
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Old 06-15-05, 08:19 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
It's tough to move the govvies. Once the bureaucrats get fixated on something or reach closure on an issue, you're toast. Cyclists are not very high on the list of constituent service.

In MD, the Democrats are fixated on destroying the part of the path leading to the Capital Crescent Trail by creating a light rail line on the path. They will undoubtedly try to extend this to VA, effectively gutting the trail. And this is a highly utilized multi-use pathway. Everybody from Lance wannabees to retirees to my 10 yr old uses this trail. The odds of having an impact on existing traffic patterns based on poor cycling conditions is pretty much zero.

So vent on. At least you'll get some sympathy.

And if you're pissed enough to start pestering the gov't, don't push the cyclist angle, they won't care. Write them letters stressing how unsafe the intersection is for children and how sooner or later one of the little dears is going to get killed. Fear of lawsuits can move mountains.
How would you feel if someone came into your workplace and started screaming at you about something that you were only remotely connected with? Threatening you with lawsuits and perhaps more? Would you be inclined to drop everything you were doing and rush to their aid?

People who work for government - whether it is Federal, State, County or City - are just like you and me. They are just trying to do a job in the face of an incredible amount of abuse and anger. And the vast majority of them are good at what they do and try to do the best they can with what resources they have.

Try a bit of good old fashioned civility. It goes a very long way. Maybe instead of getting mad, you should get involved. It's easy to stand around and throw bricks all day. Maybe you should try building something with them.
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Old 06-15-05, 10:10 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by indie kid
Where I live, theres a bike lane on one side of the road, but then the other way theres not one....Am I supposed to ride against traffic?!
No. Never ride against traffic. Just ride where you would normally on the proper side of the road. You can ignore the fact that there's a bike lane.
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Old 06-15-05, 10:17 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by recursive
No. Never ride against traffic. Just ride where you would normally on the proper side of the road. You can ignore the fact that there's a bike lane.
Depends on where you are. I've seen bike lanes on one side of the road that had arrows for two way bike traffic. The important thing is to stay safe.
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Old 06-15-05, 12:19 PM
  #42  
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Vickie, I feel your pain, VA sux!! VA to DC is ok, but within Virginia itself, it's absolutely horrible

And to second others on this thread, I enjoy your posts as well. You've got great observations!
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Old 06-15-05, 12:26 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Vickie
Calm down, this post is NOT gender specific, I promise. Itís about car-centric intersections.

Everybodyís getting a green light in succession except me. Why? Because thereís one of those stupid sensors embedded in the road and itís not sensitive enough to detect a bicycle. Duh!

Whoever came up with those bloody sensors should beÖ Well, perhaps he shouldnít be shot but he certainly should be locked in a room with vociferous me for an hour. Thereís a few things Iíd like to tell him. And my county traffic engineers too.
hahaha this reminds me of like 3 years ago when i used to have a moped for my primary method of transportation...i mean hey, i was 14, that thing was a ladykiller. anyhoo, i used to ride that thing EVERYWHERE, and simply never ever be able to cross redlights for the EXACT same reason, so i became a parking lot racer. every and any way around an interesection to get to the other side of it, i did. or i sometimes i would just pray for a car to come up behind me and i would move up enough to coax them over the sensor. but yes, someone should put buttons in for those the redlights to change late at night for cyclists.
-rOOster-
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Old 06-15-05, 01:12 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by cc_rider
Depends on where you are. I've seen bike lanes on one side of the road that had arrows for two way bike traffic. The important thing is to stay safe.
I saw one of those once. I wouldn't use it. In WI anyway, the mere presence of a bike lane doesn't require you to use it. I would still recommend staying on the right.
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Old 06-15-05, 03:57 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Camel
--How about crossing the interstate by using the bridge ?1/2 mile East of that set of nasties? Seems (from space) to be a better route.
What bridge? Thatís the metro! LOL! Further east is Rt1 Ė it's pretty nasty too.
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Old 06-15-05, 05:25 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Vickie
What bridge? Thatís the metro! LOL! Further east is Rt1 Ė it's pretty nasty too.
Must be Rt1 I saw. There's a 2 lane bridge over the Interstate, near that green slime (?river).
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Old 06-15-05, 06:03 PM
  #47  
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Vickie, which direction do you come from and which direction are you headed on that map?

The 2-lane bridge you're looking at is either the metro or George Washington Pwky... going from west to east, it's the metro, then Rt 1 (which is 4 lanes) then George Washington Pwky.
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Old 06-15-05, 07:27 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
How would you feel if someone came into your workplace and started screaming at you about something that you were only remotely connected with? Threatening you with lawsuits and perhaps more? Would you be inclined to drop everything you were doing and rush to their aid?

People who work for government - whether it is Federal, State, County or City - are just like you and me. They are just trying to do a job in the face of an incredible amount of abuse and anger. And the vast majority of them are good at what they do and try to do the best they can with what resources they have.

Try a bit of good old fashioned civility. It goes a very long way. Maybe instead of getting mad, you should get involved. It's easy to stand around and throw bricks all day. Maybe you should try building something with them.
Getting involved is all well and good, and you are correct that being rude is counterproductive and, well, just rude. But civility and involvement are pointless if you ignore the basic fact that gov't agencies have agendas and priorities. I don't see cycling as a major priority of urban planning here - other cities clearly give it a higher priority. Consequently, if Vickie wants to champion this issue she'll have better luck tying it to a more marketable issue, like public safety. People do this all the time for things like stop lights, speed bumps, etc. and it works.
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Old 06-15-05, 09:25 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Vickie
...thereís one of those stupid sensors embedded in the road and itís not sensitive enough to detect a bicycle. Duh!
FWIW, placing a Shimano sandal-clad foot over the embedded wire will trip the sensor, thanks to their steel inserts. Oops, weight penalty
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Old 06-16-05, 08:52 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
Getting involved is all well and good, and you are correct that being rude is counterproductive and, well, just rude. But civility and involvement are pointless if you ignore the basic fact that gov't agencies have agendas and priorities. I don't see cycling as a major priority of urban planning here - other cities clearly give it a higher priority. Consequently, if Vickie wants to champion this issue she'll have better luck tying it to a more marketable issue, like public safety. People do this all the time for things like stop lights, speed bumps, etc. and it works.
The only agendas and priorities that government agencies have are those of their constituents. Yes, you can come in threatening fire, brimstone and damnation but people will usually run and hide when that happens. If, and this takes time, you develop a good relationship with the people doing the work, they will go out of their way to help you as an individual. If you develop a good relationship and have others on your side who don't poison the well, the government planners will move mountains!

Denver has an extensive bicycling program and bicycle system, both on and off street, and it happened because groups of well intentioned and pleasant people got the ball rolling. I, personally, have had pieces of the trail system built because I know the engineer in charge of planning. When he came to town, I was there to welcome him and he is now a very good friend who values my suggestions and insight.

There is a lot of wisdom in the old addage, "you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar."
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