Clever Cycling Stuff: Cycle Detectors

We showcase a lot of neat overseas cycling facilities here on this site, but Christchurch has actually developed some pretty world-beating stuff itself over the years. Exhibit #1: cycle detectors at signalised path crossings:

Another satisfied customer…

As a cyclist approaching a signalised crossing, the traditional approach is to treat it like a pedestrian crossing: push a button and wait for your signal. Now if it was a pedestrian crossing, you’d see a “red man” show up when you pushed the button and you’d know to wait for the “green man”. But if there’s already a red cycle signal showing, how do you know if your request to cross was picked up? Hmm, maybe you should just sneak across anyway?

Waiting to cross Deans Ave – note the little red light by the cyclists

The clever bods at the City Council decided to take a standard pedestrian call button and insert a little red cycle light. Then they connected this to detectors under the pathway tuned to pick up when a bike crossed over them. The net result: you rock up on your bike and even before you’ve pushed anything the little light lets you know that you’ve been detected!

You can see the shape of the rectangular detectors in the path surface

You’ll find a bunch of these crossing detectors scattered around the periphery of Hagley Park, and along the Railway Cycleway; there’s also a set on Oxford Tce where the Antigua Boatshed route crosses over, and on the Matai St cycleway crossing Straven Rd.

Railway cycleway crossing: Small diamonds show you where to place your bike for best detection

In the case of the Railway Cycleway, the detectors are not only at the crossings but about 30m in advance. That way, you are detected well before you reach the crossing, by which time you usually have a green crossing signal!

These detectors in the approaching pathway give you an uninterrupted ride at the crossings

What do you think about these cycle detectors? Any other places where they could go?


8 thoughts on “Clever Cycling Stuff: Cycle Detectors”

  1. yes, they’re great!
    As for where I’d like to see more of these: everywhere?
    I know I’m the spoilt Dutch cyclinst here, and make all these grumpy comments about how everything is wrong here, but in my opinion it would be a normal thing to have cycle paths along all major roads, over all major intersections, and all of these would have bicycle detectors at traffic lights.
    I think that technically a bike should activate a car detector as well, but often this is not the case, or you have to place yourself in such a position that car drivers get annoyed and you run a huge risk of being run over.
    Either way, this is a good start and I’m glad there is some good infrastructure around at all.
    slightly unrelated: we visited thegapfiller bar at the pallet pavilion yesterday, which attracted an insane amount of cyclists. Just FYI

  2. I moved here recently and I’ve been raving about these to my friends. Then I discovered the inventors worked in the office next door and was able to burst in and tell them I love their work 😀

    As to where else they should go: everywhere, of course.

  3. These are great and I love the advance detectors on the rail path. Put these everywhere to make cycling an even more obvious choice. Also of note are the rails which a cyclist can lean against. Another good idea.

    It would be exciting and practical to let the cycle wonks at CCC work with Spokes to develop and implement cycling infrastructure city wide. But, that would make Gerry grumpy.

  4. I loved cycling along there when I lived in Chch. So cool having the lights change just when you get to the traffic lights 🙂

  5. I think it is really awesome that the council has installed these. Good on them and I do hope these are the first things of great things to come. These improvements really help to get people back on the bike again. It is just what we need, practical solutions that make day to day cycling safer and even more enjoyable!

  6. I agree , they are brilliant. Riding the northern rail bike path is a great experience and if it could just be extended to provide off-road cycling all the way to the Styx Bridge. We are not asking for too much , it is just that we need it now.

  7. They’re a great start & the city needs a lot more

    They’re working really well around Hagley Park however the pathways in the park need a lot more cycle AND walker signage (vertical signs & symbols on the path surface). Majority of walkers (& slow cyclists) are oblivious to other cyclists coming from behind. Yes, bells are a possible solution but simple courteous keep left works better.

  8. I’ve started to notice a trend of blocking the cyclist crossing request buttons with a blue cap where there are cyclist detector loops. The detector loops don’t always work, for example if you have to dodge a pedestrian walking near the loop. Anyone know what’s going on? Examples are Deans Ave/Old Blenheim Road and Oxford Terrace/Montreal Street

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *