Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

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althebike
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Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby althebike » 23 Oct 2018, 11:15am

I went for a nearly nice ride yesterday, beautiful day, but lots of roadworks. Near Bramshill, just south of Reading stopped on a read light by some roadworks, the lights changed and off I went, I got about halfway along the works when the lights changed and I was met by oncoming traffic, the first car just charged at me, I had no where to move either my bike or myself out of the way so I just stood there , the car braked hard and passed slowly , the next two vehicles were large lorries, the 2nd lorry inched past , the driver wound down his window and gave me some abuse for cycling through a red light. So here I was thinking the oncoming traffic should wait for the lane to clear before proceeding and all along it was my fault for cycling past a green light. Traffic lights, whether at road works, or other junctions, do need to give cyclists and other vulnerable road users time to clear out of the way before changing.

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meic
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Re: Road works

Postby meic » 23 Oct 2018, 11:23am

You are not the first and you will not be the last.
The traffic lights people argue (with some justification) that if they leave a long enough time for cyclists to get through, then impatient motorists will "assume" the traffic lights are not working properly and go through the red light.
By law the traffic should not go through the green if they can see you coming along, if they cant see you then they can set off with the green.
At least on a bike, when the inevitable head to head happens between two loads of motor vehicles coming different ways, we can scoot down the side and leave it all behind. :mrgreen:
Yma o Hyd

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meic
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Re: Road works

Postby meic » 23 Oct 2018, 11:30am

Yma o Hyd

thirdcrank
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Re: Road works

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2018, 12:06pm

Around here, at least, a lot of temporary traffic lights are controlled by somebody with a remote sitting in a van, especially at peak periods. Not ideal, eg they sit with the engine running and their attention may be anywhere but on the traffic flow, but better than sensors that don't recognise cyclists or give them long enough.

Human involvement isn't always the best. I've been riding towards roadworks controlled by a man with a STOP/GO lollipop. We got the GO side but as we were right up to the blithering idiot, a big tipper truck came round a corner and he just reversed the sign, meaning my riding companion was nearly hit by the truck.

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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby Vorpal » 23 Oct 2018, 12:59pm

They are supposed to recognise cyclists. I have gotten them fixed sometimes by contacting the local highways authority.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2018, 2:05pm

Vorpal wrote:They are supposed to recognise cyclists. I have gotten them fixed sometimes by contacting the local highways authority.


You know that, I know that, but they often don't. There are a lot of specialist traffic management firms involved in this now and I think things are better. It's normal for there to be a contact number on the lights if there's a problem. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a work creation scheme for those firms and they seem to do the all singing, all dancing set-up even when it's unnecessary. I live in a cul-de-sac off a cul-de-sac but when Yorkshire Water's sub-contractors had a van outside our house last week, they coned it off, placed a load of roadworks signs (even though they were working in my back garden) then took pics of it all to be archived. No temporary traffic lights, BTW. :wink:

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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby eileithyia » 23 Oct 2018, 5:28pm

Same happened to me recently, changed to red on approach, then rapidly changed back to green, passed the lights and within moments was faced with abusive on coming motorist.

Some years ago we were camped on the south side of the Mawddach estuary, on the road just up from the farm were temporary traffic lights, the uphill direction definitely meant there was no time to get through by bike, downhill direction was a different matter :lol:
We just learnt to ignore the red light when travelling the uphill direction as it was a waste of time anyway.
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby Vorpal » 23 Oct 2018, 5:32pm

If we don't inform the contractors and/ or local authority that it hasn't been done correctly, it will never be done correctly.

My experience is that if I make a complaint, about temporary traffic lights with incorrect timing, it is usually put right.
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Oct 2018, 6:16pm

Since PUSWA was replaced by NRSWA, local authorities have a much smaller programme of roadworks than before, while statutory undertakers are at it all the time. There is a tendency to use separate specialist sub-contractors at every stage: one lot to put up the signs; another to dig the hole; another to work on the pipes or cables etc. The only times I remember contacting the operators of temporary lights - using the contact number on the unit - it was dealt with PDQ. On each occasion it was something dangerous like lights out at one end of roadworks and working normally at the other: a dangerous combination. They need some internal communication system to ensure one out, all out.

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mjr
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby mjr » 23 Oct 2018, 6:22pm

Vorpal wrote:If we don't inform the contractors and/ or local authority that it hasn't been done correctly, it will never be done correctly.

Amen. www.fixmystreet.com

Vorpal wrote:My experience is that if I make a complaint, about temporary traffic lights with incorrect timing, it is usually put right.

My experience is that I'm told they are but the traffic lights have micturated off before I use that road again, so who knows if they're telling the truth.

How do others get on reporting mistimed permanent traffic lights? I know two sets locally that show green to conflicting cross traffic while I'm still mid-junction (having entered on green), as well as one complex where the council refuses to time it for cyclists to get a green wave because motorists get priority through a twisted interpretation of official policy to prioritise walking then cycling.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby PT1029 » 29 Oct 2018, 1:45pm

A few years back we (local campaign group) had our local Highway Authority trafic lights boss give a talk on traffic lights. A dry subject you might think, but it was one of the best/most entertaining talks we have ever had. Anyway, yes you can use fixmystreet, but also, at said meeting, we were told if we contacted the traffic lights office direct, they could set most lights (not road works ones though) from their office desk. So if you know/can find out who to contact, contact them direct.

NB On the matter of detecting cyclists (detector in tarmac variety), he said they should detect cycles as the should detect the steel toe cap in his work boots.

An old boss of mine had road works traffic lights issues. I think we found out from te regs that they shouild be set to allow you to get through at 10 mph (or was it 15 mph, I forget now). He tried this on his bike, it still didn't work, so he contacted the police. A polce car came round at some point, and the police car duly drove through at the 10(or 15) mph limit, and was met by oncoming cars that had started on green. The lights were adjusted soon afterwards. That was about 20 years ago, I doubt you'd get a police officer coming out now....
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mjr
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby mjr » 29 Oct 2018, 2:09pm

PT1029 wrote:Anyway, yes you can use fixmystreet, but also, at said meeting, we were told if we contacted the traffic lights office direct, they could set most lights (not road works ones though) from their office desk. So if you know/can find out who to contact, contact them direct.

Is it ethical for highways department to reward people for contacting them directly discreetly and keeping some of their neglect out of independent performance statistics, plus out of view of any member of the public who suffers loss as a result?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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thirdcrank
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Oct 2018, 2:58pm

One of the problems with permanent detectors not detecting cyclists is that at busy times, the presence of motor traffic can disguise what's (not) happening. You are only affected if you arrive at quiet times and if you don't report it, nobody knows.

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andrew_s
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby andrew_s » 29 Oct 2018, 5:38pm

Unless I can see the far end of the temporary lights, and it looks OK, I'll routinely ignore the lights and ride in the coned-off section.

If anyone objects (which they haven't, so far), I'd explain that the alternative is that I join the queue of traffic and make damned sure that I don't get overtaken (from a safety point of view, obviously).
If two queues of cars meet in the middle, it takes quite a while to disentangle them and get the traffic moving again.

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mjr
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Re: Temporary traffic lights - inadequate time for passage

Postby mjr » 29 Oct 2018, 6:14pm

andrew_s wrote:Unless I can see the far end of the temporary lights, and it looks OK, I'll routinely ignore the lights and ride in the coned-off section.

If anyone objects (which they haven't, so far), I'd explain that the alternative is that I join the queue of traffic and make damned sure that I don't get overtaken (from a safety point of view, obviously).
If two queues of cars meet in the middle, it takes quite a while to disentangle them and get the traffic moving again.

The contrary view would be that you're putting yourself at risk of riding into roadwork holes or undermined surface by using the coned-off section, plus that you are enabling the bad roadworkers' continued use of mistimed traffic lights by not causing huge queues of cars to meet in the middle and need disentangling.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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