Author Topic: biking - left turns  (Read 3966 times)

dividendman

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biking - left turns
« on: April 19, 2015, 02:53:34 PM »
So I've been biking a bit now to and from work a few times a week. One thing that sucks big time is when I'm biking in low traffic and need to make a left turn. Lots of the lights have a weight sensor I guess and although I'm fat, I'm not fat enough to trigger it. So, I either have to wait until a car wants to make the same left or just do an illegal left turn through the light (this is what I do).

Is there some trick I'm missing or do I just need to suck it up?

Miss Tash

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 02:58:52 PM »
The road sensors aren't weight activated they are inductive sensors, so they sense a large mass of metal above them.  Sometimes it's hard to trip them even with a motorcycle.  You can either go in the pedestrian pathway (crosswalk) and hit the walk button then cross and do that again at the other side to complete your left (clunky/annoying) or poach the turn like you've been doing.  I ride a lot and I poach the turn.

Gerard

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2015, 03:18:25 PM »
If you're lucky, you'll see three white dots on the pavement. These are weight sensors specifically for bikes. Make sure you stop over them.

But in practice, where I live I don't trust distracted drivers to notice me in the left lane, so I just go through the light, on the far right, stop, turn the bike, hit the walk signal, and wait.

El_Viajero

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 03:22:49 PM »
Check the laws in your state (assuming you're in the US) about going through a red light on your bike. Where I live, cyclists can "proceed with caution" through red lights if they don't trip the sensor that makes the light change to green.

I realize this sucks during times of day when there's no break in traffic and you HAVE to wait for the light to change for it to be safe. I've had this happen before, too, and I either hit the pedestrian button or wait, sometimes impatiently, for a car to arrive.

There are supposedly magnets you can attach to your bike that will trip the sensor, but I've read it's a gimmick and probably a waste of time and money.

Intoku

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 03:48:08 PM »
Leaning your bike sideways or even getting off it and laying it horizontally over the sensor usually works. Here's a link with details on how to position your bike correctly over different sensor types: http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/library/signals/green.htm

dividendman

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 03:52:52 PM »
Leaning your bike sideways or even getting off it and laying it horizontally over the sensor usually works. Here's a link with details on how to position your bike correctly over different sensor types: http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/library/signals/green.htm

Thanks! I'll give it a try next time.

WhatIsFrugalAfterAll

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 04:08:01 PM »
Leaning your bike sideways or even getting off it and laying it horizontally over the sensor usually works. Here's a link with details on how to position your bike correctly over different sensor types: http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/library/signals/green.htm

Wouldn't work on my carbon bikes.

Plus I claim it would be more unsafe to stand in a road laying my bike sideways on the ground vs a stop - look all 4 ways, then make a careful left turn through the red light.

wtjbatman

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 04:19:06 PM »
Used it happen all the time when I rode my motorcycle everywhere. I just turned left on the red after waiting two through two cycles.

Although I guess that's not a solution if you're trying to turn against traffic, the lights never cycle, and there's never a break in traffic...

Johnez

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 04:40:27 PM »
Where I knew this would happen I had a little trick.  It worked well in the early mornings when nobody was around to trip the sensor.

First solution (worked because of little plaza on corner), first I stayed in the right lane, crossed at the light and turned right into the plaza to the right and exited back out making the right into the direction of traffic I wanted to go into. Didn't have to get off my back, and usually didn't have to wait for the light to change as I timed it pretty well so light would sometimes change by the time I made the loop.

Second solution, just stay right, cross the street, and hit the pedestrian cross button. A lot of crosswalks actually have a button for cyclists to push without having to get on the sidewalk.

BlueMR2

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2015, 05:55:20 AM »
I use the crosswalk button when it's there.  If not, and a busy road, I end up doing a right turn onto the road, left turn onto the next driveway I can find, then right turn to the direction I want to actually have gone to begin with...

I was stuck at a light like that for about 10 minutes last week.  I couldn't get a break to get out and it never cycled for me.  I hate vehicle sensing lights, I wish they were all timed.

Retire-Canada

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 08:20:25 AM »
So, I either have to wait until a car wants to make the same left or just do an illegal left turn through the light (this is what I do).

Is there some trick I'm missing or do I just need to suck it up?

I just do the illegal left. If there is no traffic I don't bother stopping to see if the light will change.

Yes I am a bad ass.

-- Vik

Rollin

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Re: biking - left turns
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 09:58:21 AM »
Used it happen all the time when I rode my motorcycle everywhere. I just turned left on the red after waiting two through two cycles.

Although I guess that's not a solution if you're trying to turn against traffic, the lights never cycle, and there's never a break in traffic...

If a motorcycle does trigger the light I'd recommend contacting your traffic engineer and let them know.  The sensitivity can be adjusted.  Not sure if they'd do that for a bicycle though - depends on the engineer.