Stoplights and Stopboxes

Where do you wait?

Thanks to Sean, a CiW reader who wrote in to ask about stoplight sensors for bikes after waiting (patiently, or otherwise) in the right-hand turn lane on Willis onto Ghuznee.  After contacting Stuart Bullen, senior traffic engineer for Wellington City Council, we learned that 95% of Wellington’s stoplights have sensors that detect bikes at an intersection.  The signal loops, or sensors, are apparently cut and positioned to pick up bikes, although a fibre glass bike may go unnoticed.

Mr. Bullen also noted that Wellington is working on increasing the number of green-painted advanced stop boxes which serve two purposes: 1) detection of the bike at the intersection; and 2) allow the cyclist an advanced start.  According to Mr. Bullen,even at intersections without these designated markings, a bike should be detected if it is stopped near the center of the lane, although he concedes that there are daily problems with various signal loops throughout the city due to damage caused by contractors performing road works.

Mr. Bullen kindly offered to send along a list of intersections with green advanced stop boxes for cyclists.  I will post upon receipt. In the meantime, Sean also found a Google map plotting the location of these stops throughout Wellington.  Have a look to see if your favorite intersection is included or let us know if you think it should be.  Also, share your experiences about the intersections you use most.



5 thoughts on “Stoplights and Stopboxes

  1. Pip

    A friend and I recently got stuck for two light cycles at that exact same intersection. There was a car behind us but he’d considerately left us a lot of room, unfortunately meaning that he hadn’t triggered the light either. I had to turn around and wave him forwards so that we could all eventually go. We were both riding carbon fibre bikes. Given that it’s a popular turning point for cyclists coming down Brooklyn Hill and heading out around the Bays it would be nice if something more could be done.


  2. Mark

    The link below (to wikihow) provides some tips to triggering traffic light sensors. Tips include where to position your bike over the loop (if you can spot where it has been cut into the road) and gluing a strong magnet to your shoe, or even bike.


  3. Megan

    Thanks for posting the wikihow! I’ve always wondered how to spot a loop and didn’t realize until taking on this topic that the trigger is actually magnetic and not based on weight.


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