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What to do at an intersection where the lights never change
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:55 pm 
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Hi, everyone.

Is an intersection where the traffic lights never change considered defective? (I'm referring to an intersection where the lights are always red in one set of directions, and always green in the perpendicular set, unless the pedestrian "cross" button finally gets pressed.) Would you then be allowed to make a left turn, once you check that it's safe to do so, even though the light remains red for you? Or would you be expected to leave your vehicle in order to press the pedestrian "cross" button? I'd really rather not leave my infant daughter in her bicycle trailer while I walked over to the button, and, like any motorist, I don't think that I should have to take my vehicle(s) off the road just in order to get the lights to change in my favour. I've even been advised (by a city official) to use the pedestrian crosswalks, rather than make a left-hand turn at such "defective" intersections, which again is frustrating, since motorists are never asked to do so. Is there a solution that evades me? (Keep in mind that I've contacted city officials regarding this matter, but they have no solution that would treat me the same as a motorist.)
In case it's unclear, certain vehicles (e.g., carbon-fibre bicycles/trailers, horses/buggies) will fail to get the buried metal detector to register their presence, and thus fail to get the lights to change. The same would occur if the buried detector's sensitivity were incorrectly set. My city very quickly adjusted the sensitivity of a nearby detector, but that's not going to help detect certain non-metallic or low-metal vehicles, and the city has no solution for them, other than advising them to push the "cross" button and/or use the crosswalks. That adds insult to the original injury (having to wait ages for the lights to [never] change), as it underlines that my daughter and I, our two legal vehicles, and our time, aren't very important in the minds of road planners and law enforcers.

Thanks for any clarification in this matter.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:20 pm 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
Rather than the city officials, bring the issue to a City Councillor, actually email them all. Have your matter put on the Council meeting agenda and present you case right in chambers if the first item does not help out. I'm sure you are not the only bicycle to have this issue.

Failing that, would be to get the media imvolved and bring the ole' "green environment" thing in too.

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Above is merely a suggestion/thought and in no way constitutes legal advice or views of my employer. www.OHTA.ca


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:24 pm 
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Getting off your vehicle could get you in some legal hot water. I usually just ask a pedestrian to push a button. If there are no pedestrians around, you can always make a right and pull a U-turn. If there is plenty of traffic and a cager pulls up behind me, I just go forwards and beckon him to drive up to the sensor. If there is no traffic and I've been waiting for a few minutes without any change and have no other options, I make sure the coast is clear and go (risking a red light ticket in case the constable has a real hardon for you). Of course, with a cf-bicycle, chances are you won't be able to clear the intersection safely, so I'd recommend becoming a pedestrian for those intersections.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:10 pm 
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Can you see the sensor buried in the road, or guess where it might be? If so, get some strong magnets from Princess Auto and attach them to the bottom of your bike or the bike trailer.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:24 pm 
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You can see them. They appear as about car-sized rectangles in the pavement, just in front of the white line. Magnets don't work no matter what e-bay sellers say. People have been trying rare earth magnets and hard drive magnets, to no avail. One thing that works if the calibration isn't TOO far off is to lay the kickstand on the strip (as long as you remember to put it in neutral unless you don't mind restarting the bike).

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