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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been commuting for about 4 weeks now and i'm wondering if anyone could think of a better solution. I researched and theres only 1 way but it would add 1-3 miles to my commute (not necessary) and it's a ghetto area (lol)

So there's a street light that i absolutely have to pass, if there's no cars when i get there to the turning lane the light skips me and will continue to do so until a car pulls up.

Should i:

A. Be patient EVENTUALLY someone will pull up.

B. Walk my bike on the crosswalk from the side walk

C. Carry Heavy weights so the sensors can think im a car
 

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Cat 6 rider
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Put your bike's front wheel right on the sensor line (the carved and sealed square or round scars in the street). That's where it's most sensitive. Don't put your bike in the middle of the sensor grid-not as sensitive there. If that doesn't do the trick wait until it's absolutely clear before going. There's some question as to whether that's legal or not, but here in Cali there is a section of vehicle code that allows a vehicle to proceed if it encounters a 'non-functioning signaling device'- my guess is some cops won't buy that it's 'non-functioning' if a car can trip it, but I can't imagine a judge would expect a bike to have to wait until a car comes.

And give your local government a call and find out who to complain to. It should be adjusted.
 

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Failboat Captian
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I'd run it. I think some states even have laws saying that you can treat a non/mal functioning light as a stop sign. just wait until it's clear. I ran 2 lights (after stopping first) on the way into work this morning. Yes, there was traffic around. I go early to get through the intersections before the cars start through. I don't like to be in intersections with a huge pack of cars trying to pass me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks ppl for the suggestions i think i'm going to give those a shot!

I think i tried putting my bike on the sensor before but Its so big that i probly just missed it.

MB1 said:
Why in the world would you stop for a light that doesn't work?
It's not that it doesn't work. Not sure about anywhere else but in So. Cal there's sensors on the ground that tell the lights to change. If they don't sense someone' is there then it skips you. I think this has something to do with traffic control for busy intersections.

I'll snap a photo today with my phone, its such a buy intersection running it would be death or lots of pain.
 

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Failboat Captian
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The problem with the sensors, is that they are electro magnets, and detect ferrous metals. Aluminum won't set them off. Even my motorcycle isn't enough to set them off because it has aluminum wheels. A steel bicycle doesn't have enough mass to get the sensor to trigger either.
 

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Premium Member
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Well that explains a lot.

CFrancisco said:
........So. Cal ..... its such a buy intersection running it would be death or lots of pain.
I never ran lights when I lived in SoCal, no question that the speeds folks can drive out there are insane.
 

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At a traffic sensor, there are often loops of wire in the road creating an inductor. Putting a hunk of metal inside this loop increases the inductance, which is what triggers the light to change. The problem is, you have no way to know what sensitivity the inductance meter is set to.

A few things to check:

1) Is your bike steel? You'll have a better shot at triggering the light if it's a more permeable material.

2) Are you inside the loop? Sometimes the loops have large diameters the width of a car, but sometimes there there are a few small diameter loops. Look for the cuts in the pavement and get your bike over the loops. You said you usually wait for a car, so if the car triggers the light when it's behind you, maybe the loop is behind your bike?

3) Is it an inductor sensor? Some traffic lights at complex intersections actually use cameras to monitor traffic (sometimes along with inductors). Computers in the utility box process the images from the camera and decide what to do with the lights. If this is the case and you're riding at night, you'll need a bright light for the camera to notice you.

4) Wait it out? Most sensor lights have a 'just in case' setting where they will do a complete cycle occasionally (especially at low traffic hours). How long have you had to wait? If the light doesn't do this, contact your local traffic safety council and suggest it.

Hope this helps!
 

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Hermia commutes
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My complex is gated, and we have a sensor to get out. I always thought it was weight-based, but the guys fixing it told me that it's a magnetic sensor. I have found that I have to ride up at a certain spot to trip it, and if I don't hit it I ride in a circle and then it works. If there's really no traffic in your direction, you might try riding your bike in a tight circle around the sensor area. You might find the sweet spot that way.
 

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TheMane said:
At a traffic sensor, there are often loops of wire in the road creating an inductor. Putting a hunk of metal inside this loop increases the inductance, which is what triggers the light to change. The problem is, you have no way to know what sensitivity the inductance meter is set to.

A few things to check:

1) Is your bike steel? You'll have a better shot at triggering the light if it's a more permeable material.

2) Are you inside the loop? Sometimes the loops have large diameters the width of a car, but sometimes there there are a few small diameter loops. Look for the cuts in the pavement and get your bike over the loops. You said you usually wait for a car, so if the car triggers the light when it's behind you, maybe the loop is behind your bike?

3) Is it an inductor sensor? Some traffic lights at complex intersections actually use cameras to monitor traffic (sometimes along with inductors). Computers in the utility box process the images from the camera and decide what to do with the lights. If this is the case and you're riding at night, you'll need a bright light for the camera to notice you.

4) Wait it out? Most sensor lights have a 'just in case' setting where they will do a complete cycle occasionally (especially at low traffic hours). How long have you had to wait? If the light doesn't do this, contact your local traffic safety council and suggest it.

Hope this helps!

great post!
 

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The web is a MUT
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When I lived in SoCal I was sitting at a traffic light on my bicycle and a city cop drove by and over his loudspeaker told me to just go when the traffic was clear, that was years ago in Costa Mesa.

Just this morning I was looking at the wibikelaw.com web site and found a note about having to wait 45 seconds as a minimum before running a red light for Wisconsin.

Some intersections I've found it easier to turn right and go with the traffic until an opening opens up and then merge across, u-turn, and do the same in the other direction. Kind of a hassle, but it works at times in a few messy intersections. Othertimes I've just played the pedestrian card and looked for a crosswalk button and hopped up onto the sidewalk to hit the crosswalk button and then jet across when the walk light turned on.

Be reasonable, but do what you've got to do to stay safe and alive and relatively intact.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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Here in Ohio the law states that if a light is not functional, or the sensor won't recognise your vehicle, then you should proceed through the light carefully.
 

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It's not TOO Cold!
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Go to the crosswalk and hit the walk button. Always the fastest if you are trying to cross a busy road.
 

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Hoopy Frood
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JohnnyTooBad said:
The problem with the sensors, is that they are electro magnets, and detect ferrous metals. Aluminum won't set them off. Even my motorcycle isn't enough to set them off because it has aluminum wheels. A steel bicycle doesn't have enough mass to get the sensor to trigger either.
Hey! My steel bikes always trigger the lights. Are you calling me fat? :)
 

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Failboat Captian
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khill said:
Hey! My steel bikes always trigger the lights. Are you calling me fat? :)
Sounds like a personal problem :p

Although a serious answer is probably that they can set the sensitivity, and the lights around me are pretty insensitive (EMO traffic signals?) :cryin:
 
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Stop, look, listen ... then run it

That's the law in my state.

If the light isn't working, you treat it as a stop sign. "Isn't working" includes working for cars but not for bikes or motorcycles.

Cops understand this and don't hassle you about it, at least where I live.

But I rarely see a traffic cop anymore! Where'd they all go?
 

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Seat's not level
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I'm not very patient, so that option is out the window.

I'm not a pedestrian, but at busy intersections, I will push the button, but walking in bike shoes sucks. I ride.

I am the heavy weight. Doesn't work, but I have been successful in triggering the sensors with my bike on occasion.

I do what I consdier to be safe and reasonable. If nobody is around, I'll run the light. If there is a little bit of traffic, I will wait till it's safe and run the light. No use pressing the button so a car sits and idles while I coast through the intersection. (yea that's green). If it's busy I just get in with the cars and cross when the light turns.
 
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