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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Traffic sensors give bicyclists green lights [The Dispatch]


EAMON QUEENEY | DISPATCH
A cyclist at Milton Avenue and W. North Broadway in Clintonville rides past a bike detector that prompts an eventual change of the traffic light to green.
It’s hard to miss the growing number of bicyclists in central Ohio. But to some city traffic signals, they are all but invisible.
Columbus officials say they are changing that.
Nearly all the city’s 1,000 traffic lights are connected to road sensors that detect the presence of autos at the intersections and adjust the lights accordingly.
Bicycles are another story. These sensors are basically metal detectors, and bicycles don’t have enough metal to trigger a light change.
That has caused some cyclists to go through a bizarre system of steps to get noticed.
Some ask drivers to replace them at the front of the line at a red light to trip the sensor. Others lay their bicycles flat on the road to increase the odds. Desperate cyclists might even get off their bikes and push the pedestrian button to signal a change.
And as a last resort, some cyclists look both ways and run the red light that won’t change.
“It’s a big safety issue,” said Ray George, president of Yay Bikes, a Columbus organization that advocates for cyclists. “It’s not the best situation for anybody.”

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