Bike doesn't trigger traffic lights!

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Globalti, 7 Apr 2010.

  1. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Anybody else noticed that bicycles sometimes don't get picked up by the induction loop buried in the road to trigger the lights?

    My evening quickie goes out to a big junction on the A59 and takes a little traffic lane that's only used occasionally by people making a rather illogical U turn. The rest of the traffic lights go through their sequence, the traffic across my route stops but I don't get a green. So - *shudder* - I ride through on red! This is the carbon road bike; the metal MTB sometimes gets picked up but not always; it gets embarrassing sitting waiting for a car to come along and rescue you.
  2. Norm

    Norm Guest

    These lights here are the same. Much as I hate doing it, I cross with the peds :becool: as there's only a few cars a day use that piece of road. :wacko:
  3. I have 2 or 3 sets that don't pick me up on the commute,you have to treat them as out of order or wait for a vehicle to trigger them,but at 5am I could be waiting a while so go thru them when safe.
    If you're not comfortable doing that then get off and push it thru.
  4. Mille

    Mille New Member

    There are a set on a fairly busy road on my commute that trigger a filter.

    I sit at them looking backwards to see if a car will join me.

    If it changes twice I have to go for it as the main lights change :becool: otherwise I should imagine I could be sitting (standing) there a while.
  5. OP

    Globalti Legendary Member

    Ooh Norm that looks twee! Is that the route you take when you pop up for tea with Queenie?
  6. psmiffy

    psmiffy -

    The set near me is the same from one direction - a friend of mine complained to the council about the same lights about 20years ago - he was advised to get off his bike and lay it down over the induction loops - with an additional advisory that it was probable that his bike was made of "alloy" and would not be detected - we actually worked for a different highways department of the same council - we had a good laugh - I am at present waiting for a response to my recent complaint 20+ years on - I know quite a lot of the team so I am waiting to see what is said.

    At the moment I just treat it as being out of order - when it is safe to proceed cross in a cautious manner
  7. Mille

    Mille New Member

  8. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I've had that problem but sometimes managed to overcome it by raising the front wheel just off the road and waving it about vigorously over the sensor. It does get me some funny looks though! :becool:
  9. Norm

    Norm Guest

    Not quite Queenie (although she does indeed live very close to that junction) but I have met up with Hotmetal a few times near there. :biggrin:

    More Captain Redbeard "You have a woman's hands" Rum than Melchett.

    But that Queenie, eh, phwoar, eh... :laugh:
  10. Mille

    Mille New Member

    Ah yes

    Blackadder, Blackadder. He saw the ocean's foam.
    Blackadder, Blackadder. He should have stayed at home.
    Blackadder, Blackadder. He heard the new world's call.
    Blackadder, Blackadder. Discovered bugger-all.

  11. andrew_s

    andrew_s Guru

    The loops work like metal detectors, so non-ferrous bikes are OK, and carbon bikes with alloy wheels should also be OK. You'll get detected best if your bike is positioned along the long edge of the loop rather than across the middle.
    If the lights are a problem, I'd suggest complaining to the council about them. They can adjust the sensitivity up enough to detect any bike, but if they turn it up too far they start detecting traffic on the other side of the road. There are some lights near me that keep switching from detecting to not detecting.

    The detectors on some lights are microwave doppler, and detect the movement of approaching traffic, so if you roll up to the light too slowly you may get registered as a pedestrian. The lights have small square boxes on top. There may also be old unused loops in the road.
  12. Norm

    Norm Guest

    I know what you are saying, Andrew, but the one in my link is in a mostly-pedestrianised area which has a handful of cars daily, and it is on the bridge between Windsor and Eton so it gets a gazillion tourists walking over it. I guess it would be almost impossible to set it to set the sensitivity to pick up a chap on a bike and not be triggered by several hundred kilos of tourist.

    Good grief!
    Bikes - check
    Motorbikes - check
    Ability to quote Slack blAdder - check

    I think I've just found the perfect woman! :biggrin:
  13. Mille

    Mille New Member

    :becool: :laugh:
  14. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Oddly enough I was chatting to a chap on an Alu hybrid about this today - my LHT (which admittedly, is A LOT of metal) seems to trigger lights with no problems.
  15. 661-Pete

    661-Pete Guest

    I have only one set of traffic-controlled lights on my commute, and mostly they seem to work fine. But then my commuter's a steel bike :becool:. However my wife rides an alloy hybrid past the same lights and she doesn't have a problem either. I think it may depend on how the sensor was installed.

    This is an age-old problem and for me it goes back to the bad good old days of pressure switches set into the road surface, common when I was a kid. As a cyclist, especially as a small child, I hadn't a prayer of working those. Time to be a RLJer - or get off and walk!

    But I believe that some more modern installations work from cameras rather than embedded sensors, with some sort of motion-sensing software. How they can distinguish between cyclists and pedestrians I don't know, but I have passed such set-ups at road works and they appear to work OK.
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