Saturday, February 16, 2013

Traffic signals

Santa Barbara is beautiful. The weather is fantastic... today was mild, warm, sunny... and the ladies in my morning yoga class were complaining. Does it get even nicer???

The only problem for me so far is too many cars and poor infrastructure for cycling (and this is considered a bicycle friendly area). I may appear as a yoga lady, complaining about what someone in the midwest would consider extreme bicycle friendliness, but it is relative. The infrastructure is absolute crap compared to the Netherlands.

My chief complaint (at the moment) is being unable to affect the traffic light signal cycle. I'm okay with cycling on the street with cars going 40-72kph, cycling right next to parked cars with the risk of dooring... but being forced to run red lights because the signal fails to detect me is incredibly annoying.

A local cyclist and some facebook friends have given me tips.

If the signal is tripped by a camera, you can wave your arms around like a lunatic.
Traffic sensor camera

If the signal is set by a metal detector in the road, place the bicycle upon it, not in it. Traffic light sensor circle
The one at the intersection where I have the most trouble is triggered by weight. I'm not sure how to get around that! I have hopped the curb and pressed the pedestrian signal... but that is demoralizing. I've also run the red light, again, there is no other traffic around. But maybe I can gain lots of weight and then jump up and down.

What I'd really like is more of these! Civilised!!! They can do it!
More of these, please.

Yay! The only one... These should be everywhere.

(And bicycle lanes should be separated from car traffic when the cars are going over 30kph, and should NOT be placed anywhere near dooring risk areas, people should never be allowed to park cars in the bike lanescurb cuts should be at the angle of the crosswalks, and most car parking lots could be halved and filled with avacado trees and gardens for hummingbirds.)


  1. how to trigger a green light while on your bike - but what if there is no loop detector ?

    1. Yes, thank you! A friend sent me that when I first complained on facebook. It's a great video. :)

  2. Hey there
    it was above zero today and I was not slowed down by snow. Mild weather =)
    Those are peculiar light triggering problems you have. Some engineering from the car-age that is. That calls for cycling advocacy. Spread the word =)
    I'm not sure about the weight trigger. Maybe mount an anvil on your bicycle rack? Or wait for the planets to align?
    You've come a long way, now you're happy about button lights ("begging lights"). I don't feel well treated when I have to beg for green light.
    But those are quite different surroundings.
    Your Kona looks great in front of these new backgrounds. What's the Mexican (?) building in the top picture?

  3. Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy alicia; Back in the!? i didn't realize. Yeah, there is a light in my area that(early morning) will not change for bikes or motorcycles. Even if i get off and go press the button,nothing happens.

  4. I'm so glad you are still blogging! And I miss you. But keep blogging. Then I can pretend you are closer and keep laughing at all your observations. I'm laughing (or cursing) with you, not at you :)

    1. Hiya! Yes, I will still blog, I think... I'm actually in the midwest for work and they have two business bicycles that I can rent out of the library! I'm so excited. I went to check the bike room yesterday was greeted by three grossly inappropriate bicycles (2 racers with aerobars and 1 recumbent) but apparently the two for rent are much better. I'll see today! And maybe blog a little about it. Cheers.

    2. (I thought of trevor and you when I saw the recumbent.)
      Miss you! And the Netherlands! I meant to put that in the first comment but there was an editing mishap.

  5. Years ago, on a traffic light in Utrecht (in the superb Netherlands ...)that did not respond to bycicles, one of the active members of the local Fietsersbond put up a tent and slept on the pavement. Neighbours brought soup and sandwiches. He stayed there for a day or two? He reached the newspaper.
    It took a few weeks, but the city council got the message and fixed the detection.

    1. That's great!! I wonder how quickly I'd be arrested if I did that here. :)