tripping red lights

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tripping red lights

Postby jules21 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:25 pm

a while ago Ride (BNV publication) did a ridiculous puff piece on how bikes trip red lights, despite the widespread observation by cyclists than many don't. the article interviewed a VicRoads officer who basically said they all work fine and if anyone rides through a red they're a very naughty boy (or girl).

so i'm riding down stevenson st in Kew, which ends at VicRoads head office and would you believe what they have at the lights there.... a dedicated push button for cyclists :shock:

i've never seen such a thing before. why is it needed if bikes can trip the lights automatically? unbelievable..
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by BNA » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:30 pm

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Re: tripping red lights

Postby cyclotaur » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:30 pm

Similar buttons exist elsewhere on the PBN ... not so unbelievable.

I can usually trip the sensors OK - plenty of metal in my frames, cranks & wheels. YMMV.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby Aushiker » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:39 pm

Apparently we have them here in the West as well but I haven't seen them.

Earlier in the year Main Roads WA started a campaign on this topic and requested that any lights that don't work to be reported. Having done that with respect to a set of lights the response was interesting, well initially at least icnluding a Mains Road WA employee who was clearly being very light on with the truth. Ultimately it went further up the ladder, things happened and now the lights work :).

Of course Main Roads WA now has to action all reports as they asked for them :) So for anyone in WA you can report the issues directly to Main Roads or go via the numerous reporting mechanisms.

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Re: tripping red lights

Postby jules21 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:51 pm

cyclotaur wrote: Similar buttons exist elsewhere on the PBN ... not so unbelievable.

are we talking about the same thing? these are on the road (or right next to it), where the in-road sensors are supposed to do the job - not the pedestrian-style ones you get on shared paths.

cyclotaur wrote: I can usually trip the sensors OK - plenty of metal in my frames, cranks & wheels. YMMV.

same here, but you're being more generous in assessing "usually" as a satisfactory hit rate than i am :?
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:58 pm

IME, it depends on the type of loop they use more than anything. The 2x2 box type give me 99% satisfaction if I line up on the centre line with the front axle over the front line. The single loop not so much.

They are all supposed to work-IF they're set up and calibrated correctly :roll:
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby ft_critical » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:13 pm

I will trip them all with Alu clinchers. Full Carbon wheels don't trip any that I can remember - as in on a full carbon bike.

Trip is interesting too, I thought that you had to remain in the box to ensure the light changed. But I have noticed a short pause and rolling forward out of the box and waiting works fine too.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby DoogleDave » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:38 pm

I often have issues triggering traffic lights (with an Alu bike), so I'll do one of two things (depending on the situation):

After giving the lights the chance to notice me and sequence the lights to turn green for me, but am missed in the sequence, I will:

- check in all directions and if I have clear sight that there is absolutely no traffic whatsoever (and I am 100% confident I can ride through the intersection safely) I will ride through the red light

- if there is other traffic on the roads (or I don't have a clear view in all directions) I will jump off the bike and trigger the pedestrian crossing, then jump back on the bike and cross with the green light.

I completely agree that riding through a red light is not the right thing to do but if the road infrastructure is not setup to aid us in doing the right thing then bending the rules (within reason), I think, is acceptable. YMMV

I would never just ride up to a red light and continue on through it even if there is no traffic (I will always stop and give the lights the chance to change for me). If they don't change then I'll do one of the above-mentioned acts.

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Re: tripping red lights

Postby Nobody » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:23 pm

jules21 wrote:... a dedicated push button for cyclists :shock:

i've never seen such a thing before. why is it needed if bikes can trip the lights automatically? unbelievable..
Planning for the future when almost everyone will be riding full carbon bikes?
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby marinmomma » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:16 pm

jules21 wrote:so i'm riding down stevenson st in Kew, which ends at VicRoads head office and would you believe what they have at the lights there.... a dedicated push button for cyclists :shock:

i've never seen such a thing before. why is it needed if bikes can trip the lights automatically? unbelievable..


We have noticed a few around Brisbane, they are a great idea, should be more though!
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby find_bruce » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:34 pm

According to the Qld cocky liner, bikes have no trouble triggering red light cameras, so why is there a problem with triggering the signal to cross legally.

Even carbon bikes should trigger if properly set up, ie sufficiently sensitive & latching so that even briefly being in the right spot will trigger the lights.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby find_bruce » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:36 pm

According to the Qld cocky liner, bikes have no trouble triggering red light cameras, so why is there a problem with triggering the signal to cross legally?

Even carbon bikes should trigger if properly set up, ie sufficiently sensitive & latching so that even briefly being in the right spot will trigger the lights.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby wilddemon » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:54 pm

find_bruce wrote:...

how do you get more kilometres behind your goal than your actual goal?
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby g-boaf » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:26 am

jules21 wrote:a while ago Ride (BNV publication) did a ridiculous puff piece on how bikes trip red lights, despite the widespread observation by cyclists than many don't. the article interviewed a VicRoads officer who basically said they all work fine and if anyone rides through a red they're a very naughty boy (or girl).

so i'm riding down stevenson st in Kew, which ends at VicRoads head office and would you believe what they have at the lights there.... a dedicated push button for cyclists :shock:

i've never seen such a thing before. why is it needed if bikes can trip the lights automatically? unbelievable..


Wonder if mine would trip the sensors? Carbon frame, carbon wheels... A push button for cyclists would be a good idea and it'll remove the problem of bikes not triggering the lights.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby KonaCommuter » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:45 am

g-boaf wrote:
Wonder if mine would trip the sensors? Carbon frame, carbon wheels... A push button for cyclists would be a good idea and it'll remove the problem of bikes not triggering the lights.




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Re: tripping red lights

Postby il padrone » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:58 am

Bike lane is impracticable! Get int that road lane and sit right in the middle of it.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby cyclotaur » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:54 am

Another thing to consider is that loops you might see on bike lanes or paths may only be counter loops for data collection, not loops to trigger lights. If in doubt ride down the traffic lane to trigger the lights.

On the other hand, there is a very good light-triggering loop setup on Gardiners Ck Trail in Melbourne (Winton Rd?) that activates the upcoming light within seconds allowing cyclists to cross straight over the road without stopping, provided you don't approach too quickly.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:56 am

il padrone wrote:Bike lane is impracticable! Get int that road lane and sit right in the middle of it.


Agree. The bloke who sequenced those lights needs smacking with a punctured tube :roll:

I much prefer the lights on the bikepath HERE.
Alright, they aren't shown in this view but normal is green for bikes to cross the Footscray Rd service road, there's loops for smokeblowers to get a run and buttons at the lights for us to speed up resumption of normal working :mrgreen:
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby g-boaf » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:19 am

KonaCommuter wrote:


Ridiculous. We don't have them in my area - so I can't complain about them. :wink:
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby jules21 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:24 pm

KonaCommuter wrote:

do you ever feel like a 2nd class citizen? do you ever suspect you really are a 2nd class citizen in the eyes of road managers?
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby DentedHead » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:27 am

There's a set of triggered lights 500m from my house, and my trikes simply do not trigger them, whether in the bike lane part or out in the main lane. True, the nearby bike path leads you through the ped crossing, but given its gravel surface, I'd not want to try to use it on a thin tyred road bike. Even with three wheels, the grip is marginal.


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Re: tripping red lights

Postby bychosis » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:01 pm

ft_critical wrote:I will trip them all with Alu clinchers. Full Carbon wheels don't trip any that I can remember - as in on a full carbon bike.

Trip is interesting too, I thought that you had to remain in the box to ensure the light changed. But I have noticed a short pause and rolling forward out of the box and waiting works fine too.


The theory for the way the loops works means you should cross the loops perpendicularly. Crossing a wire with a decent sized metal object should trigger a properly calibrated loop. It shouldn't be hard when they are saw cut into the road, but newer ones are laid before the asphalt so you can see them. The hidden loops are placed in the same shape as those cut into the road to make it a bit easier to work out where they are, riding up the centre of the lane will help, pausing in the middle of the box should create two separate and distinct signals to trigger the lights.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby Lukeyboy » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:47 am

KonaCommuter wrote:


Ahhh the Sandgate Road bike light. When I started using it, it worked fine but over time it seemed to slowly die or needed more force to trigger it. I end up giving it a good wack so that particular one would activate. I tend to use the road lanes as I just bloody hate that bike lane. Cars are always cutting the corner early even if your well beind the white stop line. The ones at the back of the Westfield on the corner of Kittyhawke Drive and Murphy road never work. Press the button and when the lights change its only road lights that change while the bicycle light remains red. I kept pressing the stupid thing once at 1am at night and nothing happened. No traffic coming the opposite way. Did a 360 and in the process slowly rolled over the car sensor and it instantly changed to green :roll:

The push buttons are also on Bridgeman Road in Bridgeman Downs. Placed onto the side streets that come off Gympie Road. They were done when the road was upgraded with bike lanes and 2 lanes of traffic each way. There's a few in the city. Roma Street Parklands at both entry/exit roads being one.
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby KonaCommuter » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:42 am

Lukeyboy wrote: The ones at the back of the Westfield on the corner of Kittyhawke Drive and Murphy road never work. Press the button and when the lights change its only road lights that change while the bicycle light remains red. I kept pressing the stupid thing once at 1am at night and nothing happened. No traffic coming the opposite way. Did a 360 and in the process slowly rolled over the car sensor and it instantly changed to green :roll:

The push buttons are also on Bridgeman Road in Bridgeman Downs. Placed onto the side streets that come off Gympie Road. They were done when the road was upgraded with bike lanes and 2 lanes of traffic each way. There's a few in the city. Roma Street Parklands at both entry/exit roads being one.



I've got one near my work and it's just the pole with a hole in it :roll: It's a heavily trafficked intersection so the vast majority of the time a car or truck triggers the lights for me. Very considerate of them :P

I'll get a picture of it when I'm back at work
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Re: tripping red lights

Postby fatherofmany » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:03 am

Magnetic induction loops require metal in close proximity to disturb them. They are placed behind the white line because that's where the bulk of the metal is... in a car! I have found that if I place my bike back from the white line by about a metre then it is in the loop (if I can't see the cuts in the road where it is placed).

I haven't had too many probs with a metal bike but for the Carbon guys... the theory goes that a strong magnet will also disturb the magnetic induction loop.

I know it's a few grams :shock: but gluing, or taping a couple of rare earth magnets to the underside of the BB should be enough to set the loop off.

Let me know how it works if you try it.

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Re: tripping red lights

Postby hannos » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:36 am

I cannot recall ever having a problem tripping lights on my carbon road bike. Granted, I do use alu clinchers so this would probably be what trips them.
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