How to trigger traffic light signal on the bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How to trigger traffic light signal on the bike

    Hello,

    Could you please let me know how you trigger traffice light to green where there are car sensors/detectors on the road?
    If there is a button at the corner of sidework, I usually go to there, press the button, come back to my lane and then wait for green light.
    However, there are intersections which have no buttons (industrial area where warehouses and offices are) at the sidework.
    I live north of Toronto and sometime there aren't many cars so I have to wait forever. I don't want to cross in the red light.
    Thank you for your help in advance.

  2. #2

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    Motorcycles have long had this same problem, and have placed large magnets on the bottom of the motorcycle frame. The sensors in the road work off of a magnetic field.
    Maybe tape a big magnet to the bottom bracket...

  3. #3
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    You may want to call the local transportation department for assistance. In the states I found the road sensors are useless for detecting bicycles.

  4. #4
    Ride Responsibly
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    Wait for the lights to cycle a complete cycle, then proceed when safe even if the light is red. You are not required to push any buttons and do not have to sit and wait for a car to come up behind you. As long as you can truthfully claim you waited for the lights to go thru a complete cycle, you have the right to run the red.

  5. #5
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    They make tiny magnets that will set off the sensors. I seen it on TV one time on a motorcycle show. The magnets actually come out of some toys at the store. On the show the big biker guys went up in wally world and bought some little toys( I dont remember what they were) and ripped them apart for the magnets.

    I just run the red lights!

  6. #6
    jrm
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    Find the sensor pad

    and practice your track stands.

  7. #7
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    you have to have something to set off the sensor pad. To be exact .. a magnet.... DOH

  8. #8
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    Optical sensors should pick you up, so I am guessing you are encountering inductive sensors. They are buried in the pavement. If the local DOT is doing it's job, they will be tripped by the metal in your wheels (if you're riding on Carbon, you are SOL).

    Look for the cut marks in the pavement. There are two common varieties of detectors. One will show cut marks for a square or a circle about 6 ft in diameter in the middle of the traffic lane just behind the stop bar. The second is better and looks like a square with a line down the middle.

    You need to get your wheels in alignment on top of one of these cut marks. In the case of the second type, it is most sensitive in the center where the center line is. In the case of the former, you really need to have your wheels in perfect alignment with the edge cut lines.

    You don't need steel wheels, and you don't need a magnet. All you need is metal. If that doesn't work you could try contacting your local DOT and see if they have a policy where they will adjust the sensitivity of the detectors for bicycles. Some cities will do that.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWright
    Wait for the lights to cycle a complete cycle, then proceed when safe even if the light is red. You are not required to push any buttons and do not have to sit and wait for a car to come up behind you. As long as you can truthfully claim you waited for the lights to go thru a complete cycle, you have the right to run the red.
    Um... if you wait for a complete cycle, doesnt that mean you saw the light in front of you turn green?

  10. #10
    Ride Responsibly
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    Quote Originally Posted by OSOK
    Um... if you wait for a complete cycle, doesnt that mean you saw the light in front of you turn green?
    No, that means it was red for you when you pulled up and green for cross traffic. The cross traffic gets a red and then green again without you getting a green. This is most often for a left turn.
    Most traffic light are set to change about 20 seconds after another vehicle is detected, longer if the cross traffic is very heavy, but not more than a minute in any case. If you have not had a green light in more than a minute, you have not been detected and should consider the light a stop sign.
    If a cop writes you a ticket, fight it in court!
    Some of the more enlightened states already have the rule that bikes can treat a light like a stop sign.

  11. #11
    weirdo
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    Sometimes you can see the outline where the pavement has been cut, which makes it easy. That magnet thing might work, but I really don`t buy the idea.
    In the US, each state has its own laws regarding that kind of stuff- probably changes by provence in Canada, too. For my purposes, if I have a light go through the whole cycle and back to where it was when I got to the intersection, I just wait until I decide it`s safe and go for it. That situation would usually be in the day time while waiting in a left turn lane. At night, a lot of thesignals don`t change at all if there isn`t any traffic. In that case, I give it a minute or so to see what`s going to happen, then cross, whatever color the light is. Whether my state laws agree with me or not, I don`t know and really don`t care. Fortunately, I don`t have many traffic signals where I do most of my riding.
    Recalculating....

  12. #12
    Wierdo
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    Magnets have no impact. Traditional traffic loops are inductive loops, and metal (as in your bicycle wheel) detunes the loops which triggers the light.

    Here is an article on the topic with more detail than you probably care to read:

    http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl.../detection.htm

    I work in Bellevue, WA and the loops here have a little white "X" where you are supposed to place your bicycle wheel to trigger to light. It works pretty good. I have seen the traffic techs adjust the sensitivity of the loops - using a bicycle wheel.

    Newer intersections have cameras, and my experience with these cameras picking me up is mixed. Sometimes I just have to proceed through the intersection when it's clear the camera is not seeing me.

    Here is another article that discusses cameras as well as loops:

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

  13. #13
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    With the loops, sometimes it works well to dip your bike until the toptube is close. More metal can really be key in getting you going...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    With the loops, sometimes it works well to dip your bike until the toptube is close. More metal can really be key in getting you going...

    Hey all aluminium is not magnetic...I have no experience with that type of sensors....

    If you want a really good magnet cheap and easy find a dead hard drive and take it apart, there are really good magnets in those things...

    If it works you are good to go...if not oh well.

  15. #15
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    hard drive magnets!

    lol my city actually has sensors specifically for bicycles in the bike lane. i love them

    oh wait! HD magnets was already mentioned...

    if you really want uber strong magnets go to unitednuclear.com

    they will set you right

  16. #16
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    Why can't we just get the clickers to change the lights like the po-po have?

  17. #17
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    oh the fun i could have with one of those

  18. #18
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    My solution is to try to plan routes which avoid these types of intersections. Of course, it's not always practical or even possible to do so, but if you can ride back streets that avoid major intersections with traffic lights then that's really the best solution IMHO.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    I like the idea that Woodway mentioned- markings on the street so you know where the hell the coil is without any guessing. How much extra can it cost to paint a little X or box whenever they resurface the street or change out a coil? Can`t be that expensive- next time I sit in on the Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Board meeting I`ll throw that one out in the public comments slot.
    Recalculating....

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