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If your weight doesn't activate the green light, do you still go?

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If your weight doesn't activate the green light, do you still go?

Old 02-23-22, 11:53 AM
  #26  
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Our city abandoned the electromagnetic loops a few years ago and now uses cameras. You need a good bright bicycle light to point at the camera and it mostly works.
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Old 02-25-22, 12:18 AM
  #27  
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Cameras are often good but they aren’t perfect. Many of them are set to ignore small targets like pedestrians which makes bicycle detection difficult.

Induction coils work fairly well if you follow the positioning that Darth Lefty details. If I can see where the wires are (often covered during repaving), I have a nearly 100% rate of tripping the light. Often, even after repaving jobs, cracks develop over the wires and those can be a clue as to where to place your wheel.

It doesn’t matter much how sensitive the coil is but it does matter where my wheels are. I roll the entire length of the wire line in the pavement. If I just cross the line, there isn’t enough disturbance in the induction loop to change the current in the loop. Rolling along the wire is enough to trip the system.
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Old 02-25-22, 09:25 AM
  #28  
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Steady lights help with traffic light cameras; a flashing light, even if aimed right at the camera, often doesn't. Go figure!

Riding along the induction loop usually works for me, though I've gotten to know the traffic engineers by name reporting the ones that don't work. Sometimes, though, you just have to pick a time and go for it. Running a red light across seven lanes of traffic certainly increases your alertness!
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Old 02-25-22, 09:19 PM
  #29  
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Only people in western states ask this. For us in the east, we don’t think long before doing what we need, the law be damned.
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Old 02-25-22, 09:58 PM
  #30  
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In the city where my office is located, I have seen the traffic light technician adjust the sensitivity using a bicycle rim mounted on a board. Most of the cities around here have a white X or bicycle symbol painted on the loops to indicate where to position your wheel.

For the camera based lights, shining my light at the camera always works. I've also "made myself large" by standing tall, waving my arms and/or opening my coat. Drivers think you are looney but so what.
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Old 02-26-22, 07:52 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Indiana has a “two minute” law for bikes or motorbikes that allows for going through a red light - if it’s safe to do so - that doesn’t change for two minutes. Two minutes is an eternity.
Illinois has the same law, and the 2 minute "required" wait is just as irritating. I usually just "think" about waiting that long, then proceed.
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Old 02-26-22, 08:31 PM
  #32  
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Magnet worked for me

When I was riding my bike to work a few years ago I had a light that would not change until a car or truck came. After using a wire tie to attach a magnet to the bike, it would trip the signal after rolling back and forth while stopped. I was riding a 2007 Raleigh Grand Prix at the time, so not much metal to detect.

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Old 02-27-22, 08:37 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by woodway View Post
In the city where my office is located, I have seen the traffic light technician adjust the sensitivity using a bicycle rim mounted on a board. Most of the cities around here have a white X or bicycle symbol painted on the loops to indicate where to position your wheel.

For the camera based lights, shining my light at the camera always works. I've also "made myself large" by standing tall, waving my arms and/or opening my coat. Drivers think you are looney but so what.
Wow, that’s pretty advanced. I don’t think we have much of that tech on the roads in New York or New Jersey. New York seems to have a lower budget for roads than other states for some reason. I would support paying for this stuff. Do they use real-time traffic data to re-time the signal lights?
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Old 02-27-22, 10:33 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
[[ Diversion warning ]]

When I ride, I have to go through a gate with a dipole detector loop. If I position my bike correctly, it opens every time. When I substitute my aluminum rims for carbon rims, I cannot get the gate to open, no matter how hard I try (until I press a manual over-ride button).

Does this mean that it is the aluminum in my rims that is causing the induction that is detected? I had always assumed it had to be ferromagnetic, but I guess this means that assumption must be incorrect.
Any conductor moving through the electromagnetic field set up by the induction coil will cause a change in the current flowing through the coil. The change in current is what causes the signal to activate. If you pass a large mass of conducting material…like a car…through the loop, you don’t need to be too close to cause the current change. A small mass of conducting material has to be closer to the coil to trip it. Darth Lefty’s illustration shows where you have position the bike so as to get the small mass of your wheel right to trip the system.

The material needed to trip the system only has to be conductive. It could be any metal since all of those a conductive. It doesn’t have to be iron. Aluminum interacts with magnetic fields but the effect is weaker that feromagnetic materials. Carbon is conductive but not nearly as much as metal so it’s harder to get it to influence the induction coil. When I trip signals, I have to ride directly over the wires of the coil for as long as I can. Some times I have to roll the wheel back and forth over the wires of the coil to get it to trip as well.

Off into the weeds: Here’s a video of the weird things that happen when you use a magnet around copper. I’ve done the “swing a magnet towards copper thing” and it is works…and plays with your head.

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Old 02-27-22, 10:35 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
They are supposed to trigger for a bicycle. Some of them won't trigger for a motorcycle. Whaddyagonnado except complain or just run it?
.
They are usually set up for a car to just roll over any part of the loop. Motorcycles (and bicycles) have to use tricks like rolling over the wires in the pavement at the most sensitive part to trip them. People don’t understand how the induction coil works and usually don’t know the tricks.
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Old 02-27-22, 10:41 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
They don’t always trip for motorcycles either.
epoxy or double foam tape a magnet on the bottom of one fork leg is an old trick.
The “magnet on the bike” is an old trick that really doesn’t work. Magnets have a magnetic field but the field strength rapidly decreases with distance. Even a large magnet…larger than you want to carry on a bike…doesn’t have a magnetic field that extends very far from the magnet. Even mounted on the bottom bracket it would be too far from the induction coil to make much difference. The wheels rolled over the most sensitive part of the coil is just barely close enough to cause a change in the coil current.
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Old 02-27-22, 04:51 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
The “magnet on the bike” is an old trick that really doesn’t work. Magnets have a magnetic field but the field strength rapidly decreases with distance. Even a large magnet…larger than you want to carry on a bike…doesn’t have a magnetic field that extends very far from the magnet. Even mounted on the bottom bracket it would be too far from the induction coil to make much difference. The wheels rolled over the most sensitive part of the coil is just barely close enough to cause a change in the coil current.
OK. Today put the bike wheel directly on the lines for the circle.
Totally worked.
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Old 02-27-22, 05:28 PM
  #38  
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Thanks, Stuart. I was surprised because I had assumed it was my steel-framed bike that triggered the induction detector, rather than my aluminum wheels. Carbon wheels + steel frame = no detection.
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Old 02-27-22, 06:09 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Thanks, Stuart. I was surprised because I had assumed it was my steel-framed bike that triggered the induction detector, rather than my aluminum wheels. Carbon wheels + steel frame = no detection.
The frame of a bike has little effect. Too far away and too little metal mass. Cars are about as far from the coil as a bicycle frame but they are a huge mass of metal.
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Old 02-27-22, 07:52 PM
  #40  
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I have to assume it was my bike that triggered the light when I rode directly on one of the seams today. I was the only one at the intersection. I rode directly on and along the seam. And almost immediately, the counter started for the cross traffic.
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Old 03-01-22, 06:00 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I have to assume it was my bike that triggered the light when I rode directly on one of the seams today. I was the only one at the intersection. I rode directly on and along the seam. And almost immediately, the counter started for the cross traffic.
Amazing, isn’t it? The system has no way of knowing that it’s not a motorist.

Doesn’t work with beg buttons. In my area, no beg button changes the light sequence. If there is any effect at all, it enables the white walking light. A 2 minute through traffic green will remain a 2 minute green no matter how much I mash the button.

Hmm.. perhaps pedestrians should carry a bicycle rim…..
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Old 03-01-22, 08:02 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
Doesn’t work with beg buttons. In my area, no beg button changes the light sequence. If there is any effect at all, it enables the white walking light. A 2 minute through traffic green will remain a 2 minute green no matter how much I mash the button.
Like that "beg button" name. There's one intersection in town that doesn't trip without a car or truck on the loop. If I don't have a convenient cager nearby, that becomes my "payback button." Luckily, this light does trip with the payback if there's no cross traffic, or after about 90 seconds if there is. Instead of giving me 12 seconds to get across the road, people on the cross street get to watch the walk sign count down 42 seconds. Call the mayor if you don't like it!
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Old 03-01-22, 08:53 AM
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Now that we know where to position ourselves to trigger the light, we won't be at the far left of the lane anymore to allow right turning vehicles to make their turn. Oh well. That's just a wait of 20 seconds before we get out of their way.

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Old 03-01-22, 11:20 AM
  #44  
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I have recently noticed that the semi-separated bike lane on my commute has its own little loop and it works every single time no matter where you stop on it. I wonder if it is more sensitive for bikes. When it doesn't work is if you roll up to it and leave before your light turns green. You roll up and track stand or almost stop and the opposing light goes yellow and then red. If you get a jump start while both lights are red for a sec, the opposing light will turn green again. That only happens if you are the only one waiting, meaning no cars .
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Old 03-11-22, 09:16 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Illinois has the same law, and the 2 minute "required" wait is just as irritating. I usually just "think" about waiting that long, then proceed.
Can you tell me where to find that law?
I looked but could not find it in the "rules of the road" section of Illinois law.
Thanks
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Old 03-11-22, 09:27 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Lambkin55 View Post
Can you tell me where to find that law?
I looked but could not find it in the "rules of the road" section of Illinois law.
Thanks
See the "Note" on page 9 here: Rules of the Road.

EDIT: It doesn't say in the RotR, but IIRC the law does not apply in municipalities with a population greater than 2 millions. Why the population should make a difference is not clear to me... unless the lawmakers specifically wanted to exclude Chicago!

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Old 03-11-22, 09:29 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Lambkin55 View Post
Can you tell me where to find that law?
I looked but could not find it in the "rules of the road" section of Illinois law.
Thanks
(625 ILCS 5/11-306) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-306)

I’d quote it but it comes back in a weird formate. It basically says to wait “no less than 120 seconds” then proceed as if the light were a stopsign.
I don’t know what you are supposed to do if the municipality is larger than 2,000,000 inhabitants, however (see text in link)
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Old 03-11-22, 10:44 AM
  #48  
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I had to call the local transportation people in my city (PDX) because of an intersection where the cars turning left were constantly running OVER the bicycle symbol for MY left turn. They get so much in the habit that when there is actually a bike there its panic time for the cyclist, and when you are on a loaded tandem there just isn't any jumping out of the way! So I asked that the sensor be moved back from where it was. Turns out that when you have several loops in a row, any of them will pick up a bicycle, not just the one that is marked. Also, the way to make the sensor work, everytime: put your bottom bracket over some part of the loop wire! It really works. Since learning this I have never failed to trip a sensor. Just line up your BB with some part of the sensor loop and you are golden. Maybe someone mentioned this but I read 15 or 20 posts and then skimmed ahead.
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Old 03-11-22, 12:09 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
(625 ILCS 5/11-306) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-306)

I’d quote it but it comes back in a weird formate. It basically says to wait “no less than 120 seconds” then proceed as if the light were a stopsign.
I don’t know what you are supposed to do if the municipality is larger than 2,000,000 inhabitants, however (see text in link)
Copy and paste formatting works OK on my computer:
3.5. In municipalities with less than 2,000,000 inhabitants, after stopping as required by paragraph 1 or 2 of this subsection, the driver of a motorcycle or bicycle, facing a steady red signal which fails to change to a green signal within a reasonable period of time not less than 120 seconds because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle due to the vehicle's size or weight, shall have the right to proceed, after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic facing a green signal, subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign as required by Section 11-1204 of this Code.
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Old 03-13-22, 01:01 PM
  #50  
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I have a simple answer to this question that I'm surprised hasn't been posted yet:

If a traffic signal is malfunctioning (detector not properly detecting vehicles), treat it like a 4-way stop and proceed with caution.
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