Anyone who uses many of the new Major Cycle Routes will appreciate the way that most of the signalised crossings along the way quickly detect a rider and then provide a crossing phase for riders. Some of the detection technology used now is new, in the form of overhead video detectors, but the concept of giving riders an automatic leg-up (and letting them know it’s coming) is not that new. This article from Jan 2013 explains how it works…
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:
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?
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’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.
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!
What do you think about these cycle detectors? Any other places where they could go?