Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Traffic lights

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050

    Traffic lights

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    Does anyone else have this problem? In a couple of areas of my commute I'm either coming off a small road to get on a major route or to cross over one, and I can't trigger the light. It's a problem both in the early morning and the late evenings where there isn't much traffic on the small roads (behind me) but there is still plenty on the big ones. How do I trigger the light? And have you ever blown one off in the interest of getting to work on time? I've sat through three cycles at some lights before a car came!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    Check you local traffic laws - many places (like here) have provisions in the law for lights that won't change and it is legal to go through the red - when its safe of course and after you've been waiting a certain amount of time.

    You may also want to contact the city / county that has the authority to make changes to the lights - many of the systems that change lights (induction loop, camera, etc.) can be tweaked to better trigger for bicycles and the intersections can be marked to show you the best place to position your bike too.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    1,643
    Unfortunately, bikes don't trigger the lights around here either. I always stop and hope that a car will come to trigger the light. But if there are no cars around, after stopping and verifying that there is no traffic coming, I do go ahead and cross the street. I find it very interesting that one of the streets that I usually have to cross like this is right in front of a state police barracks.

    --- Denise
    www.denisegoldberg.com

    • Click here for links to journals and photo galleries from my travels on two wheels and two feet.
    • Random thoughts and experiences in my blog at denisegoldberg.blogspot.com


    "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    (quote courtesy of an unknown fortune cookie writer)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    I will check with the local authorities. We have a TON of cyclists here, but I don't know too many people who actually commute, so it's possible that this hasn't been addressed before. Thanks!

    Most of the lights on my route are crossing REALLY busy streets and even if I don't see cars, I wouldn't feel safe knowing how fast they drive those roads. One if them is to cross a road that is six lanes wide and where the speed limit is 55 (so everyone drives at least 65). Scary!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    I'm putting together some links about getting lights to change and how traffic light sensors work

    http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...nals/green.htm

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


    I'll add to this as I find more and better information
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Sonoma County, CA
    Posts
    658
    We're fortunate around here in that a few of the people in traffic control are avid cyclists--they are very responsive to complaints of lights that won't change for cyclists. Unfortunately, they can only make adjustments to lights that switch based on a camera sensing system. But the point is, they CAN do something about these kind-of light systems.

    If you don't see a camera on top of the light, look for wires embedded in a road and angle your bike to cross over them in as many places as possible.

    If your city paints bikes in the lane at the limit line, stand over them--these are the "sweetspot" for those sensors and will help trigger the light.
    "Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym." -- Bill Nye

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    If there's an adjacent cross-walk with a walk request button, move over to the cross-walk, push the button, and go when the walk signal switches (which probably is the same time as the traffic light switches).

    The other alternative is to find other roads on your route that might not have signals. Sometimes moving down a block or two will yield a different traffic pattern.

    ps -- I love the bicycle camera signals we have in CA, but I always feel silly waving at them. Cars think you're crazy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    I must admit that I wimp out on the busy streets I have to cross, but can't trigger. I'll get off my bike and go hit the crosswalk button.

    If it's a really hairy bike vs. cars situation I'll walk across in the cross walk.

    I figure if I'm in the crosswalk, I should behave as a pedestrian. Just like if I'm in the road I should behave as a vehicle.

    There is one moderately busy intersection near me that has a camera in the left turn lane. I love it, cuz I can trigger the left-turn arrow right away just for me!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet
    I must admit that I wimp out on the busy streets I have to cross, but can't trigger. I'll get off my bike and go hit the crosswalk button.

    If it's a really hairy bike vs. cars situation I'll walk across in the cross walk.

    I figure if I'm in the crosswalk, I should behave as a pedestrian. Just like if I'm in the road I should behave as a vehicle.

    There is one moderately busy intersection near me that has a camera in the left turn lane. I love it, cuz I can trigger the left-turn arrow right away just for me!
    Knotted, which intersection is that? (I wanna try!!)
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Thanks for all the ideas!

    Unfortunately, I don't have alternate routes, because there just aren't that many roads to chose from! That's partly why it took me so long to find a route that was safe enough for commuting at all.

    My 'city' is really an overgrown small town, so unless you are smack in downtown, you're kind of on your own for things like crosswalks, alternate streets and traffic cameras....though it is improving all the time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    When all else fails, just flash the cars some boob -- they'll give you the right of way!!!


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    WA, Australia
    Posts
    3,292
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl
    When all else fails, just flash the cars some boob -- they'll give you the right of way!!!

    LOL - thanks for my morning laugh. Nearly snorted my tea though.
    The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
    Amelia Earhart

    2005 Trek 5000 road/Avocet 02 40W
    2006 Colnago C50 road/SSM Atola
    2005 SC Juliana SL mtb/WTB Laser V

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    We just had a thread about this. I oculdn't quite translate the "human transport" site stuff into what our intersections, but I do look for the lines on the pavement and ride juste inside them and lean my bike aroiund so that at least people *think* I'm doing something clever to trigger the sensors (or maybe they think I am having a weird chamois adjustment issue). Some lights I'll trip; others I won't and it's predictable. (THe little light bike isn't as good.)
    Most of the lights I go through are on timers, anyway, which means I can anticipate on my approach, based on which "walk" or "don'twalk" light is flashing. Knowing that I've got 18 seconds on flash and another 18 on solid really helps (I *love* those lights!). Other intersections have a countdown thing - where it also helps to know whether it goes to yellow at 0 or you've got another 4 seconds.
    Advocacy-wise, I believe the induction loop sensors *can* be set to be more sensitive - or you could advocate for things to go on timers (though that's extremely annoying when there's no traffic). I'm not sure, but I think some of our lights do both -- sense you if you're there, and cycle through a timed cycle if nobody is detected.
    Boo-flashing in the midwest... well, I'd fall off trying it, anyway, and might give myself a black eye...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,389
    Quote Originally Posted by Geonz
    Advocacy-wise, I believe the induction loop sensors *can* be set to be more sensitive
    I am almost postive that this is true
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •