The Chainlink

Do you know how to trigger a demand-actuated stoplight on your bike when there are no vehicles around?

Have you ever found yourself at a demand-actuated stoplight with no vehicles around to help trigger the light? Guess which spot on the road you are most likely to trigger the light?

1) Past the stopline, near the crossroad

2) In the middle of the detector

3) On the right perimeter of the detector

4) Very close or at the curb

Post your answers and we'll reveal the correct answer tomorrow. Learn more bike safety tips like these at http://bikesafetyquiz.com/

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Door #3

I am going with #3 as well.  Most leverage on the cement block to get it to trigger.

And a side question:  Since Illinois now allows motorcycles to run lights that are demand-activated when safe to do so, can cyclist since we weigh even less and not all lights will get tripped by us?

Only if you're not in Chicago*. Elsewhere, you can if you wait a reasonable amount of time first.

* Apparently, it's illegal for state laws to single out individual cities, so the law only applies to cities with "fewer than 2 million residents". 

Chitown_Mike said:

And a side question:  Since Illinois now allows motorcycles to run lights that are demand-activated when safe to do so, can cyclist since we weigh even less and not all lights will get tripped by us?

Apparently, it's illegal for state laws to single out individual cities, so the law only applies to cities with "fewer than 2 million residents".

Are there demand-activated lights in Chicago? I don't know if I've ever come across one here.

If it has a middle section, over the middle section similar to #3.
If it has just two sides, either side should work.  Left side if turning left, right side if going straight or turning right as in #3.

If it doesn't have the pavement induction bars but has video camera activation, crossways across the lane near the crosswalk.  Straight ahead doesn't change the image enough.  Fog stops the trigger from working.

Yes.   They clearly have these in Chicago.  I run into the one at Bryn Mawr and Cumberland with some frequency.   I have seen them a few other places in the City as well.  It is REAL annoying.

I'm pretty sure the answer is #3, but if there are no vehicles around, I'm just gonna stop for a moment and then go through. Kind of like the tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it.

Hmmm:

"The relatively crude nature of the loop's structure means that only metal masses above a certain size are capable of triggering the relay. This is good in that the loop does not thus produce very many "false positive" triggers (say, for example, by a pedestrian crossing the loop with a pocket full of loose metal change) but it sometimes also means that bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles stopped at such intersections may never be detected by them (and therefore risk being ignored by the switch/signal). Most loops can be manually adjusted to consistently detect the presence of scooters and motorcycles at the least." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_loop

Depends on the type of the loop induction sensor and the level of sensitivity. My guess would be none of the above as I have little faith that the sensitivity would be set so a bicycle could set it off. There are other options of loops and placements of sensors but I feel that the money spent on this could be better spent elsewhere. http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/library/signals/detect...

#3 because it covers more of the loop in the ground, but I just go when it is safe.  Hopefully those will be discontinued.  Our town Portage, Mi has done away with them and has a motion sensing program connected via cctv to monitor the intersections.  The program automatically adjusts the lights to move the traffic efficiently, there is also a human "traffic cop" watching on monitors to override the computers when he feels necessary.

Marc 

+1 for your sensor notes. I don't think I've ever encountered a camera activated stoplight.

There are a few sensor activated lights at intersections I regularly pass through within a few miles of home. I read something a while back about neodymium magnets being helpful for less sensitive sensors. Got a few to try it out, as some of the intersections near home fall into that category. I just stuck them to the frame under my bottom bracket. Those less sensitive sensors trigger much more easily now, with no need to push a beg button at most intersections.

Note: if you have a non-steel frame, you need to try a different method of attachment. 

Mike Schwab said:

If it has a middle section, over the middle section similar to #3.
If it has just two sides, either side should work.  Left side if turning left, right side if going straight or turning right as in #3.

If it doesn't have the pavement induction bars but has video camera activation, crossways across the lane near the crosswalk.  Straight ahead doesn't change the image enough.  Fog stops the trigger from working.

Great comments and helpful info! The best position to trigger the light (if possible with a bike) is indeed #3 - on the right perimeter of the detector. You can also try leaning your bike "into" the detector to trigger it, although this may not work for all bikes and detectors.

Brush up on other skills, safety tips, and bike laws by taking BikeSafetyQuiz.com!

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