Tangled Metal wrote:A red light with a sensor to change it that does not detect a cyclist is not defective it's just been designed without taking into account all potential road users. It's a failure of planning, design or installation. If it's working as designed can you still go through on red or is it better to walk with your bike round the corner as outlined above?
It is defective, in that it does not comply with the regulations. No light is designed to ignore cycles completely. It's an installation failure. If they are reported, they are fixed, eventually. Sometimes traffic lights are designed so the timings are unhelpful for cycling (a "red wave" for example) but never to totally ignore.
Agree with MJR.
When you are stopped at a red light, and it's gradually dawning on you that it's not going to change, at that point, the cause of the failure is not of interest. The lights have failed. You are not breaking the law (my non-expert view) by going through on red, provided you do so carefully and safely.
How do you to know if the lights failed to detect you due to a component failure (e.g. a part has degraded causing a reduction in detector loop sensitivity), or this is how they were designed? You don't. And most of the time it is impossible for road users to know the cause of the failure. To expect different responses depending on the cause of the failure is nonsense.
The Highway Code, rule 176: "If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care."
Also, when I have reported faulty lights to the police, it's never been suggested that I should not have gone through on red, nor not to do so again.
How do you respond? Wait indefinitely (in freezing rain)? Cycle through on red? Get off and walk around the lights? I cycle through, when safe. If someone sees me, doubtless they will think, "Typical cyclist ignoring red lights, thinking they are above the law'. Tangled Metal will get off and walk. If someone sees him, doubtless they will think, "Typical cyclist! They expect drivers to wait at red lights. But oh no, they don't have to wait - they just get off and walk. That's cheating. If they want to cycle on the road, they should follow the rules of the road, which includes waiting at red lights."
One of the main objections I have with faulty lights is that it causes you to go through a red light, which doesn't help with the image that all cyclists ignore red lights.
At some junctions, walking is not a practical or safe option. For example, a dual carriageway with slightly staggered side roads, and right hand turning lanes from the dual carriageway. You are in the right turn lane, but the lights have not detected you to give you a green phase to turn right. It will be quicker (and thus safer) to cycle across the opposing two lanes and opposing side road than to walk across. The pedestrian crossing is 50m or more behind you, so would mean walking back up the right turn lane. Across the the right turn crossings. But then the central pedestrian has railings blocking your access.
I have reported faulty lights, and have eventually seen successful changes made. In two cases, above ground sensors were eventually installed. And more recently, the final loop had to be re-cut (it was too large). There are 3 main causes resulting in unreliable cyclist detection:
1) poor design
2) poor installation and set-up
3) equipment failure
Detectors can detect cyclists.
Detectors can detect cyclists reliably.
If you experience a problem, whether occasionally or frequently, then those lights are faulty.
If you don't report the problem, it will not be fixed! If you do report it, be prepared to repeatedly follow up, repeatedly complain, until it is fixed. You might be fortunate, and the instant default response to blindly adjust the loop sensitivity might be all that is needed. Instant means within a month or so. I also wonder if the first report is just noted, and nothing will be done unless further reports are received.
From my experience, reported faults have rarely been as simple as a wrong detector sensitivity, and have usually ended up with parts having to be replaced or new above ground detectors added - which adds more time waiting for parts, then waiting for installation.
But it takes perseverance, and time, and more perseverance. 6 months would be extremely fast. Be warned.
Confession - I am no longer willing to do this in Hampshire, unless it's for a junction that I use very frequently.