Traffic lights

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Steve Vallee, Apr 20, 2003.

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  1. Steve Vallee

    Steve Vallee Guest

    This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you do
    when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it doesn't
    sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green. Do you
    just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?

    Steve
     
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  2. >This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you do
    >when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it
    >doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the l ight never turns green.
    >Do you just go through it?

    After a decent interval you run the light.

    >Will a cop pull me over?

    Highly unlikely, but that's your problem.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  3. What you can do is avoid that turn lane. A cop will ticket you if you're spotted running it, as
    like all predators, they never pass up an easy kill. Since none of them have ever ridden a bike
    through it, your protestations will be unheeded. Find another nearby place you can navigate to
    where you want to go and avoid the light. Or, you can just zip through the light like most riders
    would do, not noticing or caring that it doesn't change. If you want to stand up for the rights of
    bicyclists, protest the non-functioning light sensor to the public works dept. and when they take
    no action, sign up for an appearance before your city council. They'll tell you to contact the
    public works dept.

    Steve McDonald
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>, "Steve Vallee" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you
    > do when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it
    > doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green.
    > Do you just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?
    >
    > Steve

    The other day, I saw a skeleton lying in a little-used left-turn slot. It was still clipped into the
    carbon-fibre frame that clearly doomed the rider into never triggering the left-turn slot!

    Legally, you probably have to wait until you can declare the signal "broken" (i.e. it won't respond
    to the presence of your bicycle, a legally operated vehicle) and obey the local procedure for a
    broken traffic signal, which is usually to revert to a four-way stop.

    In practice, just use the simpler rule of thumb that if you can go through the light with sufficient
    confidence that you won't get run over and won't get spotted by a police officer, you're safe to do
    so. If this is a chronic problem (say, because it's on your commute or favourite training ride),
    either find an alternate route or just use crosswalks and get a more creative path through the
    intersection.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  5. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Steve Vallee" wrote:
    > This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey
    traffic
    > signals, what do you do when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't
    > turn green because it doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the
    > light never turns green. Do
    you
    > just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?

    Not a dumb question at all.

    First, you need to learn how to trip the sensor. You will usually see rectangular cut marks in the
    pavement where the sensor wires are located. Place your bike (vertically) directly over one of those
    cut marks. The light may not change instantly; give it about 30 seconds. If that doesn't work, try
    leaning your bike (horizontally) over the center of the loop.

    If the light still won't change, carefully go through the red light. THEN, when you get home, call
    or write your local traffic safety department. Explain this dangerous situation, and ask them to
    adjust the sensor's sensitivity.

    I had a situation like this in my neigborhood last year. Within two days of notifying the traffic
    department, they had 1) adjusted the sensitivity, 2) painted white lines showing where to position
    the bike, and 3) sent me a nice letter explaining what they had done.

    Art Harris
     
  6. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Guest

    On Sat, 19 Apr 2003 23:53:52 -0500, "Steve Vallee" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you do
    >when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it
    >doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green.
    >Do you just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?
    >
    >Steve
    >

    You could get pulled over and ticketed. Then you go to court and claim that it was a non-functioning
    traffic signal, and that you are allowed to use 'due caution' and proceed in the case of a
    non-functioning traffic signal.

    Until you get ticketed, follow others' advice and call your local public works department and
    explain the situation. In the meantime, if it is a dangerous intersection where I would need a green
    to make the turn safely, I would go to the right side of the intersection, enter the cross street
    traffic and wait for the green in that direction.
     
  7. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you
    > do when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it
    > doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green.
    > Do you just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?

    Depends on the local laws. In some areas, if the light goes through two cycles without giving you
    your light, you are allowed to go through it, because it's assumed to be broken. Of course if
    there's no cop around, and it's safe to go through after waiting your turn, I wouldn't worry about
    not waiting another cycle.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  8. Harris wrote:
    >
    >
    > Not a dumb question at all.
    >
    > First, you need to learn how to trip the sensor. You will usually see rectangular cut marks in the
    > pavement where the sensor wires are located. Place your bike (vertically) directly over one of
    > those cut marks. The light may not change instantly; give it about 30 seconds. If that doesn't
    > work, try leaning your bike (horizontally) over the center of the loop.

    Good answer. Here's a fine point I've learned.

    Around here, they put in special bike-sensitive loops at a few intersections. Instead of being just
    4 ft x 8 ft rectangles, the visible saw cuts have an additional line down the middle. It looks like
    two 2 ft x 8 ft rectangles, immediately adjacent to each other.

    I found that these did NOT work if I lined up on the outer line, as usual! I had to be on the center
    line - then they detected me very reliably. So that's another thing to watch for.

    >
    > If the light still won't change, carefully go through the red light. THEN, when you get home, call
    > or write your local traffic safety department. Explain this dangerous situation, and ask them to
    > adjust the sensor's sensitivity.

    Also a good idea. I've done this with good results. They may eventually get complaints, however,
    because when a standard loop is turned up enough to detect a bicycle, it sometimes responds to false
    signals caused by vehicles driving by in the opposite direction in the adjacent lane. Apparently a
    three ton truck ten feet away looks just like a bicycle right inside the loop.

    But I didn't point that out to them. I just asked that it be turned up.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  9. Jmk

    Jmk Guest

    <<SNIP>>

    IIRC, Minnesota has laws that indicate that vehicles can go through the intersection if the traffic
    light does not detect you for 2 cycles. Again IIRC, the law was intended for motorcycles that have
    the same problem. I don't know if this law was passed or not, nor do I know how a bicyclist would be
    treated by the law in these circumstances.

    This is just from memory, which seems to get a little worse each day. YMMV.

    Jim

    > Depends on the local laws. In some areas, if the light goes through two cycles without giving you
    > your light, you are allowed to go through it, because it's assumed to be broken. Of course if
    > there's no cop around, and it's safe to go through after waiting your turn, I wouldn't worry about
    > not waiting another cycle.

    -----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =----- http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1
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  10. Steve Vallee wrote:

    "This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you do
    when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it doesn't
    sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green. Do you
    just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?

    Steve"

    Assuming your machine has some metal in it's construction, I think you'll find your answer here :-3)

    http://geocities.com/czcorner/mac15.html

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  11. Dan Daniel wrote:

    "You could get pulled over and ticketed. Then you go to court and claim that it was a
    non-functioning traffic signal, and that you are allowed to use 'due caution' and proceed in the
    case of a non-functioning traffic signal."

    DON'T run the light. Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and bound by the vehicular codes of your
    area. That includes traffic lights.

    If you wan't to try to fight this in court, go ahead. The judge will probably ask you why you didn't
    use the walk button and cross the street when the light changed. If it was a left turn, same thing,
    why didn't you just make your turn in two stages push button, go when green, wait at opposite corner
    for light to change back. I know this, because that's what he asked me just before he awarded the
    case to the "arresting" officer.

    There IS a way to trip the street sensor and get a green light, just like a car. This has worked on
    99% of the street light's I've encountered, both in California and in Carolina (North and South).

    Here's how: http://geocities.com/czcorner/mac15.html

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  12. On Sun, 20 Apr 2003 00:54:41 -0700 in rec.bicycles.misc, Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote:

    > If this is a chronic problem (say, because it's on your commute or favourite training ride),
    > either find an alternate route or just use crosswalks and get a more creative path through the
    > intersection.

    no, if it's a chronic problem, call the gummint authority responsible for that traffic signal and
    complain. ask them to set the sensitivity so that a bike will trigger it, and ask them to stencil a
    bike symbol (as shown in figure 9C-6 of the manual of uniform traffic control devices, aka to
    traffic engineers as the MUTCD) at the best spot for triggering it.
     
  13. Art Harris

    Art Harris Guest

    Chris Zacho wrote:

    > DON'T run the light. Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and bound by the vehicular codes of your
    > area. That includes traffic lights.

    If the light doesn't change after waiting a reasonable time, and after trying to trip the sensor,
    why not carefully proceed through the light? Even when driving my car, I occasionally encounter a
    "stuck" traffic light. Usually the only reasonable thing to do is to CAREFULLY go through it. I
    can't believe any policeman would ticket someone for that.

    Art Harris
     
  14. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    >This might sound like a dumb question... If you're supposed to obey traffic signals, what do you do
    >when you're the only one in, say, a left turn lane and the light won't turn green because it
    >doesn't sense that you're even there? No cars come to make a left so the light never turns green.
    >Do you just go through it? Will a cop pull me over?

    Just go through when it is safe to do so. If a cop stops you, explain the situation.
    -----------------
    Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
     
  15. Doug Kanter

    Doug Kanter Guest

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > What you can do is avoid that turn lane. A cop will ticket you if you're spotted running it,
    > as like all predators, they never pass up an easy kill. Since none of them have ever ridden a
    > bike through it, your protestations will be unheeded. Find another nearby place you can
    > navigate to where you want to go and avoid the light. Or, you can just zip through the light
    > like most riders would do, not noticing or caring that it doesn't change. If you want to stand
    > up for the rights of bicyclists, protest the non-functioning light sensor to the public works
    > dept. and when they take no action, sign up for an appearance before your city council.
    > They'll tell you to contact the public works dept.
    >
    > Steve McDonald
    >

    The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.
     
  16. Fritz M

    Fritz M Guest

    "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    > doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.

    In the U.S., all modern inductive loop detectors are designed to detect bicycles. If they don't
    detect bicycles, they are not designed to current traffic standards and are defective.

    RFM
    --
    To reply, translate domain from l33+ 2p33|< to alpha. 4=a 0=o 3=e +=t
     
  17. Harris

    Harris Guest

    Doug Kanter <[email protected]> wrote:

    > The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    > doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.

    Nonsense. My bike easily triggers most sensors. You have to know where to position your bike, and
    the sensor's sensitivity has to be adjusted properly.

    Art Harris
     
  18. Doug Kanter

    Doug Kanter Guest

    "Fritz M" <[email protected]+> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > "Doug Kanter" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    > > doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.
    >
    >
    > In the U.S., all modern inductive loop detectors are designed to detect bicycles. If they don't
    > detect bicycles, they are not designed to current traffic standards and are defective.
    >

    Hmm. Interesting. Do you know if they suffer more wear in places where salt is applied to the roads
    at a rate of 1 ton per minute per 100 sq feet?
    (i.e.: Rochester NY)
     
  19. Jon Isaacs wrote:
    >
    > >The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    > >doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.
    >
    > The can be adjusted to detect a bike and they often are adjusted to detect a bike.
    >
    > Jon Isaacs

    They can be, but will they be. I contacted my local traffic engineer to request some of the lights
    on my commute be adjusted to detect my bike. No response. I place both wheels on the edge of the
    inductive loop and get no detection. It's fine now that I commute during high traffic hours but this
    summer I'll be leaving for work before dawn to stay cool and will have to run the red lights.
     
  20. Doug Kanter

    Doug Kanter Guest

    "Harris" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Doug Kanter <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > The sensors are electromagnetic, and made to detect big chunks of metal, like cars. I seriously
    > > doubt they could be adjusted to detect a bike.
    >
    > Nonsense. My bike easily triggers most sensors. You have to know where to position your bike, and
    > the sensor's sensitivity has to be adjusted properly.
    >
    > Art Harris
    >

    In the pavement here, I don't see any of the shapes described by others in this newsgroup. How
    shallow is the placement of these detectors?
     
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