Salt Lake City has installed ten traffic signal detectors that are triggered by people riding bicycles, while also functioning normally for motorists. The signals were upgraded with a $53,000 federal grant administered by the Utah Department of Transportation with matching funds from the City.
The signals use a radar device which enables reliable detection of bicyclists, motorcyclists and motorists. The devices help end the frustration cyclists feel while waiting for a red light when no traffic is around.
Bike Utah Executive Director Phil Sarnoff said the detection devices make it easier for people to get out of their cars and on their bikes to go places. “These upgrades make it easier and safer for people to bike as a means of transportation and recreation,” said Sarnoff.
“State law allows bicyclists to go through unresponsive lights after 90 seconds. However, this is not ideal for either keeping people on a bicycle moving or keeping them safe. With Utah facing massive population growth in the coming decades, more people need to begin bicycling and walking if we are going to address those transportation challenges.”
The bike detection devices are part of Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s plan to make it easier to get around town on a bicycle. “We have been listening to the bicycling community and identifying ways to make biking a more attractive way to travel,” said Mayor Biskupski. “These bike detectors allow cyclists to cross streets quicker and safer.”
The majority of City traffic signals were installed to operate on a valley-wide timer designed to detect motorists on state roads. The new technology uses 16 microwave signals to recognize any person or vehicle that enters the detection zone. For bicyclists, the zones are marked with a bicycle symbol on the right side of the road.
“The goal is to provide people riding bicycles with the same ability to cross the street as a motorist,” said Becka Roolf, “City staff worked with the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and also considered past complaints from the public to identify intersections in need of the upgrades.”
The same technology is being used on hundreds of Salt Lake City intersections on main thoroughfares maintained by UDOT. The City has made this bicycle detection a standard when replacing traffic signals.
The following is a list of all the intersections where the equipment has been installed:
- 800 East & South Temple
- 5600 West & Amelia Earhart Drive
- Main Street & South Temple Street
- Wolcott Street & 100 South
- Wiley Post Way & Wright Brothers Drive
- 200 East & 1300 South
- 400 East & 1300 South
- 300 South & 700 East
- Star Crest Drive & 700 North
- Emery Street & California Avenue
More information about what Salt Lake City is doing to help bicyclists can be found at http://bikeslc.com/.