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Posted by on Nov 28, 2009 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

The power to change… the light to green

loopstencilcroppedThe best paint in Orlando can be found on the stencils that show cyclists where to stand to trigger a green light. You can thank Mighk for these.

Loop detector wires run through cuts in the pavement. They are triggered by the metal in your bike (not weight, as many people think). The stencils are placed where the magnetic field is strongest. The bonus, in most cases, is that they also put the cyclist in a good lane position. (There are a few exceptions, like Nebraska & Mills.)

At intersections where there are no stencils, the sweet spot is usually the center cut.

loopdetectorarrowCity officials have been very responsive to adjust loop detectors that don’t pick up bicycles. If you find one, report it. They will fix it. You can use the Metroplan Spot Improvement Form, found here. Since Metroplan serves the whole metro area, you can use that form to report problems in any city or unincorporated part of Orange, Osceola or Seminole Counties.

Strategies for unresponsive detectors

If there is a car behind you, pull up past the stop bar and motion the motorist to pull forward. This sometimes results in interesting conversations… and almost always in a friendly interaction.

If there are no motorists around to trigger it, treat it as an unresponsive signal:

316.1235 Vehicle approaching intersection in which traffic lights are inoperative. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection in which the traffic lights are inoperative shall stop in the manner indicated in s. 316.123(2) for approaching a stop intersection. In the event that only some of the traffic lights within an intersection are inoperative, the driver of a vehicle approaching an inoperative light shall stop in the above-prescribed manner. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.

316.123 Vehicle entering stop or yield intersection. (2)(a) Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.

For more on signal detectors:

Steve A has a post here, with more strategies and some good links to technical information. And another one on camera detectors (we’re starting to get some of those here).

R A N T W I C K does a little experiment with magnets.

4 Comments

  1. The website link is to a supplemental post focused on the devilish cameras. I find cameras tougher than induction to deal with.

  2. Laying the bike down can often help, too. I’m told the circular rims do a good job of interrupting the field when near to horizontal. You can do it while still straddling the bike. (Sorry, motorcyclists!)

  3. I wish the sensors here would detect a bike at all.

    I’ve asked City people about this and they’ve said that ours just don’t detect that weak of a field. And they wonder why cyclists run red lights.