Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Regulator
Posts: 523
Joined: 27 Jan 2007, 10:13am

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Regulator » 29 Feb 2012, 4:57pm

Everyone knows that the way to get the traffic lights in your favour is to ensure that you make regular offerings of cake to the Traffic Light Imps who cover and uncover the various internal lamps!

Trufax!

Malaconotus
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Location: Chapel Allerton, Leeds
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Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Malaconotus » 29 Feb 2012, 7:27pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'm not familiar with the location at all - do you know the name of the road involved?


I think it's these, TC... http://g.co/maps/w79mv They wouldn't change for me, and I don't like jumping them as the road is used by refuse lorries more than anything else.

thirdcrank
Posts: 29434
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Feb 2012, 8:50pm

Malaconotus wrote: ... I think it's these, TC... http://g.co/maps/w79mv They wouldn't change for me, and I don't like jumping them as the road is used by refuse lorries more than anything else.


Thanks for that.The signals look to be a nonsense. I didn't bother exploring with the streetview but unless there are some pretty clear signs indicating that traffic is prohibited, sooner or later, somebody unfamilar with the area will sit there a few minutes, decide the lights aren't working and follow the advice in the HC to proceed with caution, unwittingly risking meeting a refuse truck head-on proceeding as normal.

Once upn a time, Pontefract Lane AKA the Black Road was a nice quiet exit on the east of Leeds. In 1975, when we were house hunting, we looked at a house quite near that location. That was in the days when the plan was still to build the connection between the M1 and A1 to the west of Leeds. (The Dishforth - Kirkhamgate Road seen off by PUDMAG among others.)

Steady rider
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Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Steady rider » 29 Feb 2012, 9:29pm

A far as I know traffic lights have a 3 seconds change time from amber to red and if driving at 40 mph or 30 mph this same time is allowed.

Some rear end collisions or harsh braking may be avoided if the time was set to reflect the driving speed limit. Any techincal reports on this could be of interest. Getting drivers used to driving without harsh braking may benefit cyclists.

FatBat
Posts: 227
Joined: 20 Feb 2007, 1:06pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby FatBat » 1 Mar 2012, 9:53am

thirdcrank wrote:
Malaconotus wrote: ... I think it's these, TC... http://g.co/maps/w79mv They wouldn't change for me, and I don't like jumping them as the road is used by refuse lorries more than anything else.


Thanks for that.The signals look to be a nonsense. I didn't bother exploring with the streetview but unless there are some pretty clear signs indicating that traffic is prohibited, sooner or later, somebody unfamilar with the area will sit there a few minutes, decide the lights aren't working and follow the advice in the HC to proceed with caution, unwittingly risking meeting a refuse truck head-on proceeding as normal.

Once upn a time, Pontefract Lane AKA the Black Road was a nice quiet exit on the east of Leeds. In 1975, when we were house hunting, we looked at a house quite near that location. That was in the days when the plan was still to build the connection between the M1 and A1 to the west of Leeds. (The Dishforth - Kirkhamgate Road seen off by PUDMAG among others.)


Yep - that's the place. Since the East Leeds Link opened, that road becomes part of a nice short cut from the A642 to Leeds city centre.

There are signs on the road but they are the flying motorbike - no motor vehicles "except for access" ones. There is nothing to say cyclists and horse-riders are banned.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Mar 2012, 10:32am

There's an underlying lesson here about cycling provision in the UK.

The EAst Leeds Link Road (the connection between the Leeds Inner Ring Road and the A1/M1 Link) was high on Leeds City Council's wish list as soon as the east of Leeds route for the motorway was confirmed. The government finance for the scheme was constantly on then off as is normal with all projects for new roads.

When I got wind of this in my CRN/ RtoR days in the late 1990's I asked the then cycling officer about my contributing to the plans for cyclists and I think it's fair to say I was stone-walled: ie there were detailed plans with which he was unfamiliar but the provision for cyclists was already settled along with everything else. Remember this happened at the height of the Notional Cycling Strategy - at any other time there would not even have been shoddy farcilities.

I think the wider point is that the greater part of the people entrusted with building and maintaining our road network now nothing about providing for cyclists and seem to care even less. So-called "cycling officers" are only consulted late in the day, if at all, over things like minor details of shabby shared-use. The responsibilty starts at the top, with generations of tarmac-rolling, concrete pouring secretaries of state for transport.

petelucas
Posts: 101
Joined: 29 Oct 2011, 8:00pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby petelucas » 1 Mar 2012, 1:21pm

I have raised the issue of unresponsive traffic lights more than once at the local Local Authority sponsored Cycling Forum (in this case Dudley MBC), but to date I can't see any improvement.

Pete

thirdcrank
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Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Mar 2012, 4:30pm

petelucas wrote:I have raised the issue of unresponsive traffic lights more than once at the local Local Authority sponsored Cycling Forum (in this case Dudley MBC), but to date I can't see any improvement.

Pete


IME it's the type of thing where you have to report specific problems directly to the department dealing with traffic lights.

Traffic lights that don't detect the presence of cyclists have been a problem since the days when the detectors were some sort of mechanical switch hidden under a whacking great rubber cover. It's something we all moan about and with good cause, but it's only ever likely to be dealt with on an individual installation basis till some new magic detection system is devised in the future. It's not something that's always apparent on a busy road during the day and it's probably unrealistic to expect all lights to be regularly tested for the ability to detect cyclists. (I suspect the only way to test it properly would be to stop the traffic and ride a bike over.) As it's generally mainly a problem for the lone rider going home off a night shift etc., I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to report faults. I found it was useful to know how different types of detector work. In my RtoR days I had the direct dialling in number for the traffic light czar in Leeds and I found they were always helpful at this technical level.

FatBat
Posts: 227
Joined: 20 Feb 2007, 1:06pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby FatBat » 1 Mar 2012, 9:57pm

Aha - I've found my reply from Leeds City Council about the traffic lights that will never change;

This section of road is for permit holders only. Instructions for how to use the detection were distributed with the permits. When the site was installed, blue signs were put on the signal poles instructing that 'cyclists dismount', (these are shown on the attached pictures). If it appears that these signs have been removed, please get back to us and we will replace them as soon as possible. In future when going through this site please dismount, and push your bicycle to the next set of signals, making sure you are aware of the possibility of traffic coming from either direction.

Regards,

Emma Russell - UTC Control Room.

Regulator
Posts: 523
Joined: 27 Jan 2007, 10:13am

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Regulator » 1 Mar 2012, 11:20pm

FatBat wrote:Aha - I've found my reply from Leeds City Council about the traffic lights that will never change;

This section of road is for permit holders only. Instructions for how to use the detection were distributed with the permits. When the site was installed, blue signs were put on the signal poles instructing that 'cyclists dismount', (these are shown on the attached pictures). If it appears that these signs have been removed, please get back to us and we will replace them as soon as possible. In future when going through this site please dismount, and push your bicycle to the next set of signals, making sure you are aware of the possibility of traffic coming from either direction.

Regards,

Emma Russell - UTC Control Room.


Someone should tell them that blue 'Cyclists Dismount' signs have no legal force...

Richard Mann
Posts: 427
Joined: 21 Nov 2009, 12:46am

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Richard Mann » 2 Mar 2012, 9:36am

Yeah it should be a no vehs (empty red circle) except authorised. But nobody would understand that either.

basingstoke123
Posts: 156
Joined: 13 Feb 2008, 10:05pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby basingstoke123 » 3 Mar 2012, 12:04am

thirdcrank wrote:
petelucas wrote:I have raised the issue of unresponsive traffic lights more than once at the local Local Authority sponsored Cycling Forum (in this case Dudley MBC), but to date I can't see any improvement.

Pete


IME it's the type of thing where you have to report specific problems directly to the department dealing with traffic lights.

Traffic lights that don't detect the presence of cyclists have been a problem since the days when the detectors were some sort of mechanical switch hidden under a whacking great rubber cover. It's something we all moan about and with good cause, but it's only ever likely to be dealt with on an individual installation basis till some new magic detection system is devised in the future. It's not something that's always apparent on a busy road during the day and it's probably unrealistic to expect all lights to be regularly tested for the ability to detect cyclists. (I suspect the only way to test it properly would be to stop the traffic and ride a bike over.) As it's generally mainly a problem for the lone rider going home off a night shift etc., I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to report faults. I found it was useful to know how different types of detector work. In my RtoR days I had the direct dialling in number for the traffic light czar in Leeds and I found they were always helpful at this technical level.


Agreed.

In Hampshire, you can report faults with traffic lights using:
https://eforms-ext.hants.gov.uk/AF3/an/ ... JyRbjf0O0D

I usually also inform the police on 0845 045 45 45 (and have never been told I was wrong to have cycled through the faulty red light - especially the time I had a couple of cars stuck behind me).

Reporting faults does work - eventually! But it takes a lot of persistence and some more persistence. And a long time. Especially if it takes more than just increasing the sensitivity of the loop sensors.

With two particular lights that I've reported, eventually the loops detectors in the road were replaced. And for the one which was intermittent (failed to detect me approx 1 in 4 or 5 times), this still didn't fix the problem and so a microwave movement detector was also added. It has worked every time since.

I have also discovered that the procedures followed to 'resolve' problems with lights faulty lights are also faulty. Several times I've been told that an 'engineer' (*) had adjusted the settings, only to find that the detectors were still failing or unreliable. So, I started to suspect that either I was being given the run-around, or that the 'engineer' was only testing after making adjustments, instead of testing before to verify the problem. If you can't (or don't) repeat the problem, how do you know that the problem has been fixed?

However, I was told that the 'engineer' cannot even test to see if any changes work (unless a cyclist happens to go by while they are there)!!!!!! They hope the adjustments have fixed the problem, and close the case. If the problem is reported again, they try again. Only after this is repeated a few times, will a real engineer go to the site with a test cycle and actually test to see if the detectors work. If the problem is something other than sensitivity, no end of adjustments will help.

So, if you report a problem, someone will make an attempt to fix it, but the first few times might not resolve the problem. Each time the lights fail - report it. After 6 months tell them that you first reported it 6 months ago, and it's still not resolved. And again at 12 months.

Keep the police informed.

* - sorry but you cannot call someone an engineer if they attempt to fix a problem without first trying to reproduce it, let alone not even testing afterwards to prove the fix. If I did that in my job, I would be unemployed.

Ribblehead
Posts: 366
Joined: 21 Jul 2011, 3:08pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby Ribblehead » 3 Mar 2012, 9:21pm

I've rarely had problems getting traffic lights to change for me.

The ones with a chevron shaped pattern are a groove cut in the road, with wires installed, and then filled with some kind of sealant. These are some kind of inductive loop, and are easy to trigger with an aluminium rim. The most sensitive area is directly over the wire, so you need to have good bike handling skills to follow the chevron from the kerbside to its point.

The ones with sensors on top of the lights may require you to ride in primary position from some distance away to trigger them.

sirmy
Posts: 599
Joined: 11 Mar 2009, 10:53am

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby sirmy » 4 Mar 2012, 11:08am

FatBat wrote:Aha - I've found my reply from Leeds City Council about the traffic lights that will never change;

This section of road is for permit holders only. Instructions for how to use the detection were distributed with the permits. When the site was installed, blue signs were put on the signal poles instructing that 'cyclists dismount', (these are shown on the attached pictures). If it appears that these signs have been removed, please get back to us and we will replace them as soon as possible. In future when going through this site please dismount, and push your bicycle to the next set of signals, making sure you are aware of the possibility of traffic coming from either direction.

Regards,

Emma Russell - UTC Control Room.


Pehaps someone should tell Google as well as their camera car obviously drove though it. From street view the only sign I could see saying that there was o public access was on overgwon sign beneath one of the traffic lights. And if a cyclist dismpunts and walks between the lights wahts the chance that they would have changed beofre you were half way through and find yourself confronted by bin wagon?

basingstoke123
Posts: 156
Joined: 13 Feb 2008, 10:05pm

Re: Traffic lights discriminate against cyclists!

Postby basingstoke123 » 4 Mar 2012, 8:42pm

Can anyone beat this? I just experienced the weidest fault: a light that goes green when there is no traffic but stays red when it detects a cyclist.

For anyone familiar, this is the junction of Beggarwood Lane with the A30.

Background:
Earlier in the week, I got stuck at a red light, at this junction. Was about to proceed cautiously after waiting about 1 minute, when a car stopped behind me. So, a waited a little bit longer, but probably not long enough for the lights to respond to the car, and went through the red light (when safe). Was quite expecting the lights to then change as I was crossing, but they didn't. Looking back, it seemed ages before the lights eventfully changed and the car managed to escape.

On Saturday, I observed the lights, and saw that they took about 20 sec to respond to traffic, so I wasn't impatient when I gave up waiting! Also, the lights did respond to me this time.

This evening, I had another look. But now, the lights go green periodically even when there is no traffic. Left hand lane goes green, followed by both left and right hand lanes going green. Am wondering, did the driver behind me report the fault?

Now for the really weird bit:
I then cycle to the lights, on the right hand lane. Left Lane goes green with no traffic. Expecting that my lane will then go green. But no! Left lights go back to red, leaving out my phase! This happened 3 times. Would have gone sooner, but had a car and bus behind, and didn't want to give the impression that cyclists ignore red lights. Was about to when to go when the car driver gave up waiting, and passed me on the left, pausing to ask how long I had been waiting - at which point, the lights magically changed.

So, these lights go green even when there is no traffic waiting. Go green for cars etc. But stay red when they detect a cyclist.

Can anyone beat that?

(I have now reported it to both the police, who said they weren't responsible for traffic lights - but I wanted to make it clear that some RLJ is due to faulty lights) and to Hampshire Highways.