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Triggering A Stop Light

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Triggering A Stop Light

Old 09-29-08, 05:33 PM
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Mesoc
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Triggering A Stop Light

I always try and stay safe while on the road, and the biggest problem I come across is that I'm NOT triggering stop lights. Generally I'll ride on the shoulder, and when I have to make a left turn, I'll get in the left turn lane staying close to the white dashes. However I never trigger the light and have to either run a red light, or wait for a longgggg string of cars to go by before I can turn. What gives? Is there a trick to trigger the stop light on a bike?
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Old 09-29-08, 05:38 PM
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Lights are triggered by weight. There are sensors in the asphalt below you. Unless you weigh 2,000 lbs, I don't think you'll be able to trigger one.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:39 PM
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I ride up on the sidewalk and press the button.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkrider23 View Post
Lights are triggered by weight. There are sensors in the asphalt below you. Unless you weigh 2,000 lbs, I don't think you'll be able to trigger one.
Wrong.

Lights are triggered by using an inductive loop buried in the ground. Some lights don't have these and are simply run on a timer.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:40 PM
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Take the lane at stop signs and stop lights. That's what I do. If you sit in the middle you'll often trigger it yourself. If not, the cars behind will trigger it for you, and then you ride out in front for a few strokes and then move over. If you can see you won't have room for them to pass safely on the other side of the intersection (happens a lot) just keep the lane until it IS safe for them to pass.

You're also allowed to run red lights if you get skipped through one rotation or wait a certain amount of time (laws vary by locale). Just make sure it's safe and you're good to go.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkrider23 View Post
Lights are triggered by weight. There are sensors in the asphalt below you. Unless you weigh 2,000 lbs, I don't think you'll be able to trigger one.
No, they are magnetic sensors. Sometimes I can trigger one by leaning my bike to the side (almost laying it on the ground) over the sensors (cut lines in the ground).

Otherwise, wait for a car, or press the pedestrian walk button if there is one.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkrider23 View Post
Lights are triggered by weight. There are sensors in the asphalt below you. Unless you weigh 2,000 lbs, I don't think you'll be able to trigger one.
Incorrect. It's an inductive loop. If you ride a CF bike you are less likely to trigger it. Big steel bike, good to go. Aluminum bike, pretty good.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:44 PM
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interesting...unfortunately theres no sidewalk/pedestrian button i can press for the light. is there something I should be looking for to trip the magnetic sensor? I usually ride over the lines, but it doesn't help

I ride a mongoose pro morzine road bike.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
Incorrect. It's an inductive loop. If you ride a CF bike you are less likely to trigger it. Big steel bike, good to go. Aluminum bike, pretty good.
i dunno, i've seen dirt bikes and motorcycles that have been unable to trip red lights.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:00 PM
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^Consider how much metal is in a motorcycle compared to your normal car.

If you need proof, one of the ways that motorcycle riders trigger them when they're having trouble is to shut the bike off and then start it back up. The huge inrush of current to the starter motor is usually enough to generate a sufficient magnetic field to trip the sensor.

Unless you're saying that "steel good to go" is incorrect. In which case you're right, I was just comparing it to CF and aluminum. You're still not as likely to trigger it as a car.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:05 PM
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Many lights near me are video sensors...
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Old 09-29-08, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post

You're also allowed to run red lights if you get skipped through one rotation or wait a certain amount of time (laws vary by locale). Just make sure it's safe and you're good to go.

That's a $349. ticket in Newport Beach. You may (my friend did) appeal and judge will prob. waive it - but you lose 3-4 hrs. in court.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
Many lights near me are video sensors...
Do you wave.

Most of the street sensor are supposed to be set to pick up a motorcycle. But they go out of whack when there are large changes of temperature in the spring and fall.

How Stuff Works
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Old 09-29-08, 06:25 PM
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On a group ride with my team this weekend, our coach just showed me these "T" sensors. It's a new thing they're doing here in Seattle for cyclists. They're a more sensitive inductive loop with a white T painted on them. If you line your wheel up along the T, it triggers the crosswalk sensor. Pretty cool.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:34 PM
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I can change just as many lights with my CF Madone as with my steel Ritchey (I think it's the spokes):

As you approach the light, look at the tar seams where the loop is buried under the asphalt or concrete (they make cuts and drop the wire in there). Ride right up on one of these lines and stop with your wheels aligned to it. If there are two loops, with a center seam, the center seam is more sensitive.

This has worked 100% for me in Denver, Boulder, Salt Lake City, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio...
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Old 09-29-08, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by obie View Post
That's a $349. ticket in Newport Beach. You may (my friend did) appeal and judge will prob. waive it - but you lose 3-4 hrs. in court.
It is illegal to run a red light on a bicycle if you pull up and just go through. However, if you wait for it to go through a cycle before running it you are on the safe side of the law. According to Pennsylvania law, it is legal because the stop light is technically malfunctioning. However, you're right, if a police officer doesn't see you waiting for the ungodly length of time, he is likely to right you a ticket anyway. Of course, depending on the cop and his current mood and how far your jersey is unzipped (gender depending) you may be able to talk to him rationally and get out of it.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:39 PM
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This is the device that will help you. I saw another thread that discussed using a large speaker magnet.

https://www.bikerhiway.com/red-light-changer-p-2.html
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Old 09-29-08, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mesoc View Post
I always try and stay safe while on the road, and the biggest problem I come across is that I'm NOT triggering stop lights. Generally I'll ride on the shoulder, and when I have to make a left turn, I'll get in the left turn lane staying close to the white dashes. However I never trigger the light and have to either run a red light, or wait for a longgggg string of cars to go by before I can turn. What gives? Is there a trick to trigger the stop light on a bike?
The people who answered with "inductive loop" are correct. If I'm commuting I lean my bike onto the corner of the little crosshatch marks on the road. If the light goes through a cycle without changing for me I treat the light as a stop sign (wait for a gap and run the light). If I'm energetic and organized on that particular week I phone the light in to the city's traffic department. They often actually fix the problem.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Darkrider23 View Post
Lights are triggered by weight. There are sensors in the asphalt below you. Unless you weigh 2,000 lbs, I don't think you'll be able to trigger one.
NO. They haven't used pressure pads since the 50s, though there might still be a few around. Nearly every sensor now is an inductive loop.

Hmm. I see that the rest of the advice in this thread is pretty good so I'll leave it at that.

One thing to emphasize. Some lights are on a "demand" program, which means that the light won't change for you unless the sensor picks you up. These generally occur where a small uncontrolled (one with no other lights) street intersects a controlled thru street. All other controlled intersections will have a time-out. Even if the sensor doesn't pick you up, the light will eventually change. Better to be safe and wait than get hit running the light.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:45 PM
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i just ran a stop light today right next to a sheriff and he didnt do anything about it....granted it was not a four way light, it was a three way light and i was on the straight side of the light, but since this was only my third time riding im still not 100% sure of all the laws.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:49 PM
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If your state has a "right on red" law, then going straight after stop with a T to the left is legal. (IANAL)

Besides, sheriffs generally don't stoop to enforcing traffic laws.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by DMF View Post
If your state has a "right on red" law, then going straight after stop with a T to the left is legal. (IANAL)
My dad told me this once. I thought he was just crazy. I'm gonna have to look that up... sometime.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:56 PM
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Do what Waterrockets said.

I love to amaze people on group rides. There's enough conductive metal in your spokes and aluminum rims. You just have to line up your wheels DIRECTLY on top of the small cut in the pavement.

If you're riding carbon wheels, well, you're so much faster it doesn't matter if you miss a couple cycles.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal View Post
Do you wave.
Sometimes
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Old 09-29-08, 09:24 PM
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try this a night in your car.
when approaching a red light with no one in front of you rapidly flick you high beams on and off. this simulates the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and immediately changes the red to green.
this will be dependant on angle and frequency but i was effective with hand held strobes sold to cyclists.
new technology may have changed this but it did work at one time.
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