Traffic Signal Detectors Throwing You for a Loop?

Most intersections in OC have a detector to let the signal know someone is waiting. The most common is a loop of wire in the road that acts like a metal detector. California requires these sensors to detect one bicycle wheel – metal or carbon – but shifting pavement and rain degrade function. A coat of asphalt or slurry seal can reduce sensitivity and hide the location of the wires.

Here is what you need to know about getting a green light:

  1. The sensors are usually BEHIND THE LIMIT LINE. If stop in a crosswalk, you have broken the vehicle code and are likely past the sensor loop.
  2. They can pick up one wheel, but both wheels (or the wheels of more than one bike) should be on the wire.
  3. If the loop does not detect you, and no car or truck comes along, the best option is to use the crosswalk button. If you are already waiting in a left turn pocket, carefully cross to the corner on your left. Technically, you can only run the light if it is inoperable. Not sensing you does not mean inoperable in some cities, and people have been cited. You may prevail in court, but what a waste of time!
  4. Tell some one! The loops are adjustable, so contact the local city Director of Public Works. In unincorporated areas, contact OC Public Works. For freeway intersections, contact Caltrans. Copy us at infrastructure@OCBike.org, and we will try to help.
How to use a traffic sensor loop

Credit: California Association of Bicycle Organizations

We’re Working For You!

August 12 Edition

Here’s an update on some recent OCBC activities:

  1. Notified CalTrans about a dangerous drainage grate under the El Toro undercrossing of the I-5 freeway. One picture (below) shows what happened to a rider’s wheel when the rider was trapped in the grate. The other photo illustrates the hazard. CalTrans has replaced the grate.
  2. Notified the City of Los Alamitos of a hazard on the bridge along Coyote Creek that is near Los Alamitos High School. The handrail was missing, exposing brackets that could have injured someone. The city has repaired the handrail.
Bicycle wheel ruined by unsafe drainage grate

Bicycle wheel ruined by unsafe drainage grate

Bike wheel in drainage grate

This is what can happen when there is an unsafe drainage grate in the road.

For up-to-the-minute news from the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, please visit our Facebook page.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition’s mission is “To promote bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation”. Join the OCBC Today!

We’re Working For You!

May 9 Edition

Here’s an update on some recent OCBC activities:

  1. Notified the City of Irvine, OCTA, California Association of Bicycling Organizations, and Orange County about dangerous conditions in right hand turn lanes near 9740 Irvine Blvd in Irvine. The city will require new owners of the property to make improvements.
  2. Contacted the City of Irvine and Orange County requesting improvements to the detour around construction near the Como Channel segment of the Walnut Trail bikeway. The city agreed to make improvements.
  3. Continued to promote the long-planned bikeway through the Peters Canyon Regional Park, despite failure of the OC Parks Commission to prioritize all Orange County residents over NIMBY opposition.
  4. Reported sinking asphalt along the San Diego Creek segment of the Regional Parks Connector Bikeway at Mesa near UCI.
  5. Responded to a somewhat misleading advice given to an Orange County Register column by the CHP. In fact, bicyclists are NOT required to “hug the right-side curb”.

For up-to-the-minute news from the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, please visit our Facebook page.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition’s mission is “To promote bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation”. Join the OCBC Today!

We’re Working for You!

April 25, 2019 Edition

Here’s an update on some recent OCBC activities:

  1. OCBC contacted the City of Laguna Hills requesting signage at the intersection of northbound Avenida de Carlota at Los Alisos Blvd to indicate where bicyclist should stop to trigger a stop light change. OCBC also requested that the light stay green long enough for bicyclist to safely cross busy Los Alisos Blvd. Map of This Intersection. The city responded with a plan to install a “bike button” to change the traffic signal for bicyclists when requested.
  2. Thanked the City of Tustin for their commitment to OCBC to replace five drainage grates along Irvine Blvd that could catch bicycle wheels.
  3. OCBC recommended to the City of Lake Forest changes to the area of Cook’s Corner that are dangerous for bicyclist. Map of This Area
  4. Thanked the City of Irvine for filling in a valve cover in the middle of a street. It was a hazard to bicyclists.
  5. Attended an OC Parks Commission meeting to discuss the long-promised Class 1 trail through Peter’s Canyon Regional Park. Unfortunately, although regional parks are supposed to serve all Orange County residents, OC Parks Commission decided to relegate Peter’s Canyon to be a publicly funded private reserve for the neighbors of the park. This leaves a gaping hole in the Class 1 trail that was has been planned for decades to run from the Orange County mountains to the sea. OCBC is considering all options to revise plans for Peter’s Canyon Regional Park so the plans will serve all Orange County residents.
  6. OCBC contacted Orange County Public Works, Orange County Parks and the City of Tustin with serious concerns and objections to bicycle infrastructure plans meant to bypass the Peter’s Canyon Regional Park.

The Orange County Bicycle Coalition’s mission is “To promote bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation”. Join the OCBC Today!