Thursday, September 20, 2007

Make a Traffic Light Think Your Bike Is A Car

Ever wonder what makes a traffic light turn green? Some people think it's timing; others are sure there are weight sensors in the road. Still others claim it's some sort of camera system. But actually, it's magnetic field detectors: coils in the road detect large metallic masses over a plate by the stop line, and the traffic light begins its cycle. No cross traffic, no need for a light change. Slick, eh?

Except if you ride a bike.

See, those carbon and aluminum frames are great for speed and lightweight...but not for telling magnetic sensors you are there. Result? Every morning, I face the ethical dilemma of either waiting for a car to pull up to a certain light so I can turn left...or run the light. Guess what wins most days?

However, my lawbreaking may be at an end. The Green Light Trigger pumps out a strong enough field to fool those sensors into believing my Fuji Robauix is a Ford F-150. No, it doesn't override lights like emergency vehicles, but mounted to the base of the frame, it promises to let me keep up with the other four wheeled traffic on the road, with my two wheels. For $25 and two extra grams of weight, worth a shot, no? The folks at Lifehacker seem doubtful, but the comments there give me hope.


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