Thursday, October 22, 2009

Simon Says...Change!

I've even tried Simon Says, but many traffic signals just won't change to green when I'm alone at an intersection on my bicycle.

While that won't change overnight, there is now a mechanism to address those signals thanks to the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. Last legislative session they succeeded with Senate Bill 5482 (Section 10) to create some accountability.

According to the Alliance: "The bill requires that vehicle traffic control systems be upgraded to reliably detect both bikes and motorcycles. Districts must prioritize upgrading on existing systems for which complaints were submitted. They must also establish and publicize a procedure for filing such complaints in writing or by e-mail, and must maintain a record of them."

The address for Seattle is:

For Washington State highways:

To get the proper address for other municipalitie and counties in Washington, go to for cities and for counties.

Also, the Alliance would appreciate your letting them know how your experience goes as you interact with this new system. You can reach them at:

I submitted such a complaint yesterday. I also asked how these signals register a vehicle anyway. Is it by weight? Do I have to stand in a certain place? Is there an "electric eye" as we used to call them at some signals?

Haven't heard back yet, but I'll let you know what I hear.

What I like about the Alliance's work is that not only might we get some progress on the signals, but it is yet another step toward bicycle parity.

Keep it turning green...gotcha! I didn't say Simon Says: Keep it turning green,



  1. A megnetic loop under the pavement. Well not quite a loop as the metal in the car's body (or sometimes your bike)completes the loop thus sending a sgnal to the light to change in 3.... 2.... 1... seconds. If the loop does not close for you, sometimes it will help if you lay your bike down, almost to the pavement (if it is ferrous metal of course) thus creating the mass needed to trigger the loop to close. Those carbon fiber dudes.... oh well.

    Sometimes you if you look at the pavement you'll see tar tracks (in a loop where the first car might be waiting for the light to change, just back from the stop line) where the asphalt has been opened to put the wire under the pavement. This most often at an intersection where traffic has increased a lot recently thus making the light a 'smart' light.

    Yr Pal, Dr C