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The magic little biker near the stop light

I saw this little guy riding up the still-under-construction 10th Ave the other day and got more excited that I probably should have. Get ready, Seattle, you streets are about to get way more adorable.

But why is the city painting cute miniature bikers on the streets at stoplights? Well, it’s magic. If you line your bike up on top of the little guy, he’ll ride off and tell the stoplights you’re there and that they should change for you at their earliest convenience.

Some of you (though probably a very small percentage of bikers in the city, judging by my informal surveying) already know to line up your front wheel with the painted T when they are there. Because the traffic signal sensors are built for cars, bikes must be aligned properly in order to trip the signal. If you have never heard of this, that would explain those times that the signal seems to just skip you in the rotation (I was completely baffled about this for a while).

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As you can see by my sandle, this photo was taken a while ago.

Want to know more about how these things work (and even a handy trick where you line your wheel rim up along the sensor)? This video from Redmond is awesome.

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6 responses to “The magic little biker near the stop light”

  1. JRF

    I have found SDOT to be quite responsive to reports of sensors that don’t detect bikes, dispatching crews to adjust them within days.

    Report insensitive sensors here: http://www.seattle.gov/Transportation/potholereport.htm

    Be sure to clearly specify the intersection and the direction of travel through the intersection that is problematic.

  2. […] your lane on the road. Look out for large circles cut into the cement, small white “T”s, or a white image of a bicycle, all located just before the cross walk. These indicate traffic signal sensors beneath them. The […]

  3. antijen

    This is awesome! I shared the trick with 3 bicycle-commuting friends today.

  4. […] Read all about the triggers on Loop-Frame Love: The Magic Stoplight and Seattle Bike Blog: The magic little biker near the stop light. […]

  5. […] the pedestrian signal. Both options are annoying. Last fall, my world changed. I discovered the Magic Stoplights. When a secondary street crosses an arterial, the city of Seattle typically installs an induction […]

  6. […] This has been around for a few years now, but it seems like many people don’t know about it. […]

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