Cycles and red lights


I do not agree with Bruce in the article in the Age. As a cyclist I prefer to stop at red lights and wait until they change. However, I can only imagine that the part at the bottom is written by an engineer who has never ridden a bike.

Steve Bean from VicRoads said a bike triggered a traffic signal through the detection of ferrous metal in the bike.

“Because bikes contain less metal than other vehicles, to be detected by the traffic signal they should be situated directly over the area of greatest sensitivity which tends to be the centre of the lane,” he said.

Hmmmm. Can I suggest the light at the exit from Deakin University on Burwood Highway or the light on Belgrave Road at the corner of Waverley Road to test this theory. I go through these every day on my way to and from work. But despite numerous attempts I have never been able to get the lights to recognise me.

8 Responses to "Cycles and red lights"
  1. There was a good little article in a recent RideOn maagzine about this.
    In short, you can usually see where the detector is by the cut marks in the bitumen.  The line going down the middle of the rectangle is the place to be.
    They are designed to detect bikes, but one reader wrote in to say he had to lay his bike over on the detector to get it to trigger.

  2. Yes, ride your bike up to the loop so that one of your wheels is on the middle of the line in the middle of the loops and the bottom of the rim is parrallel to the line (assuming you have metal wheels).  The loops are generally a squared, sidways figure 8.  The line in the middle has twice the wires running along it as the other cuts, so it is more sensitive.

  3. I stop at stop signs and I can also usually trigger the lights with my 20 year old bike. What I find irritating is that bikes are expected to dismount and walk their bikes through areas such as footbridges and underpasses that are on critical routes into the city centre. Councils also seem to provide cycling infrastructure without any research into cycling.

  4. I’m another bike commuter who has learnt that no traffic engineer has ever ridden a pushbike.  Irritations that should be fairly cheap and easy to fix (eg not having stopping lanes disappear with no warning at intersections, minimising dismounts, having bike-friendly sensors, etc) are common, while millions are spent on bike paths and lanes to nowhere.  And this in Canberra which (hills and winter climate aside – even I can’t blame the government for them) is supposed to be the most bike-friendly city in Oz.

  5. I don’t know about Melbourne, but at least in Canberra the road authority is very receptive to complaints about sensors that don’t pick up bikes – they’ll go out and adjust the sensitivity if you report it.

  6. Well, taking advantage of the Easter break I tried the ‘Deakin University’ sensor without any cars coming up to set it off. Five minutes following the advice given above and no change of the lights. I didn’t lay the bike down but …. Perhaps one for VicRoads.

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