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Schrauf
09-11-2007, 06:30 AM
Many bikers run stoplights when no traffic is in sight. Unfortunately, many also run stoplights when traffic is nearby.

Regardless, from the legal standpoint of the police officer on the corner, is it okay to stop and go, in response to a light that is unresponsive because the biker is not heavy enough to trip the roadway sensor? Some sensors work great for bikes, but many don't, even when you hit them just right.

I see nothing on point in OR or WA law, except that I believe it is legal for any vehicle to stop and then go when safe in response to a malfunctioning stoplight. I assume a stoplight in this scenario is considered to be malfunctioning, since it is clearly doing so in respect to the vehicle currently at the intersection.

If a biker knows from prior experience a light will not respond, should they still wait through a stoplight cycle each time to prove it is malfunctioning, or just stop and go? Waiting through a cycle each time seems over the top, but the officer probably would not agree.

Some may argue the biker should walk around the intersection via the crosswalks, but I think it is ridiculous if a legal vehicle must become a pedestrian just because a road sensor is designed poorly. Of course if the cross street is full of traffic there may be little choice.

Again, just from a legal standpoint. I know what happens on the street most of the time.

Haven_kd7yct
09-11-2007, 08:29 AM
I read somewhere (might even have been here) that legally, you should wait about 3 minutes at an unresponsive stop light, then cautiously go through it. Be sure to report where this stop light is to whatever city official takes care of that (different cities, different people) so they can get it fixed.

My solution, instead of waiting 3 minutes? Go hit the button for the crosswalk.

nishiki
09-11-2007, 10:35 AM
Many bikers run stoplights when no traffic is in sight. Unfortunately, many also run stoplights when traffic is nearby.

Regardless, from the legal standpoint of the police officer on the corner, is it okay to stop and go, in response to a light that is unresponsive because the biker is not heavy enough to trip the roadway sensor? Some sensors work great for bikes, but many don't, even when you hit them just right.

I see nothing on point in OR or WA law, except that I believe it is legal for any vehicle to stop and then go when safe in response to a malfunctioning stoplight. I assume a stoplight in this scenario is considered to be malfunctioning, since it is clearly doing so in respect to the vehicle currently at the intersection.

If a biker knows from prior experience a light will not respond, should they still wait through a stoplight cycle each time to prove it is malfunctioning, or just stop and go? Waiting through a cycle each time seems over the top, but the officer probably would not agree.

Some may argue the biker should walk around the intersection via the crosswalks, but I think it is ridiculous if a legal vehicle must become a pedestrian just because a road sensor is designed poorly. Of course if the cross street is full of traffic there may be little choice.

Again, just from a legal standpoint. I know what happens on the street most of the time.


Blow the light.
The worst that can happen in the $30 class.

toddistic
09-11-2007, 11:02 AM
On streets I've had success by laying down your bike nearly parrellel with the street over a sensor and it will usually trip it. That is, when I don't blow the light. I'm all for being safe but when there are zero cars going through an intersection and I'm about to lose my pseudo trackstand then I proceed.

Regardless, lights are designed for autos, not bikes. Now if we had a ton more bikes on the road to where there was "bike congestion" at intersections then I would be all for signals.

Jakelin
09-11-2007, 12:13 PM
There is a light at the bottom of my hill that is like this. I'll roll over to the pedestrian crossing button and hit it and then roll back into the lane of traffic. Then I don't have to walk my bike at all. The added bonus is that based on how long it takes my car to trip the light, it would appear the light trips faster when it thinks there is a pedestrian waiting to cross so I get through faster than if the sensors did pick up my bicycle.

Simple Nature
09-11-2007, 04:00 PM
If the light fails to respond to a vehicle, it is okay to use good judgement. It is considered a malfunctioning traffic signal. I think 3 minutes is what the law states but that is only my recollection.

BillD
09-11-2007, 06:55 PM
If you have a malfunctioning signal detector on your regular route, you can have it adjusted so that a bike will trip the signal.


Scroll down to the bottom of this page (http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?c=35721&a=60935) and call the contact number for your district.

The traffic signal maintenance division will be happy to send an electrician out to adjust the detector but they have to know it isn't working.

For further information, see this post (http://bikeportland.org/2006/12/08/how-to-make-that-light-turn-green/) on BikePortland.org, especially responses#26 and #28.

Simple Nature
09-11-2007, 10:57 PM
And here I am sitting in the middle of the circle... silly me! Time to park on the edge.

And yes, Hillsboro and Beaverton have rectangular detection zones at a lot of the lights in the bike lanes. Some work and others don't. Anyone have a similar work request info for these municipalities?

bikejunkie
09-11-2007, 10:59 PM
Here is a great and legal (check first) alternative to sitting at unresponsive lights. First you make a right turn (or left turn onto the sidewalk. Ride down the sidewalk to the next intersection (usually a stop sign) and procede through that intersection as you normally would. The only place this wouldn't be legal is downtown where I think all the lights work quickly.
You can see lots of people taking this alternative at 7 corners where we all know the light is slow. Most people turn right onto Division and then left past the New Seasons.

bikejunkie
09-11-2007, 11:04 PM
A great and legal (check on this) solution is to turn right or left onto the sidewalk and ride down the sidewalk to the next intersection or driveway. Then travel across the street just as if you were entering from that intersection or driveway.
Many people already do this when traveling south through 7 corners. They turn right onto Division and then left past New Seasons.
It's only illegal to ride on the sidewalk in downtown.

Simple Nature
09-12-2007, 09:23 AM
If its one of those 'dead' intersections, the legal maneuver may be as simple as stopping, taking a right turn, u-ee in the middle of the street, and follow through with another right at you original destination. I think streets have to be signed "No U Turns" to make that an illegal maneuver.