Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Bicycle Commuter Perspective: New Stoplight Timing at 44th Street and Campbell

As a bicycle commuter known to try out different things to trigger lights, as well as using a stopwatch to time them, I notice when the timing of stoplights change. The repaving of 44th Street in Phoenix has, at least temporarily, resulted in what seems like a change in the stoplight timing with great advantages for the bicycle commuter. In the video above, I show how well it works. This video is representative of what I have experienced on my recent commutes, too: I now have enough time to make it to the turn-off before being overtaken by northbound traffic. These few extra seconds are HUGE. Compare it to my previous video below.

It seems that there are 10 to 20 more seconds in the cycle, which is more than enough time to make the turn. I wanted to be super-accurate about this timing, but since it was a Saturday morning, picture me in a low-caffeine state rolling up to a stoplight trying to activate the stopwatch, take a photo of the sensing loop, make sure the camera was recording, and watch the light and traffic to make a safe turn. I succeeded at the essentials except for careful timing. So the 10-20 second observation is based on reviewing the video, as well as my subjective experience this week. Adding in 20 seconds to the light is all that is, or would be, needed, that is clear in the videos. I hope that it stays this way, but my uncertainty derives from the ongoing construction in this zone. The extended timing may just be while they finish the repaving and repainting. 

Here's the same zone going back the other way, for comparison, also on a Saturday morning. At rush hour, it's a much more frantic turn for a bicycle commuter, for sure.

Southbound shows the significant differences. That entering driveway about 2/3 of the way through, the five lanes of traffic to negotiate, the odd angle of the intersection itself all come into play. The video speaks for itself, I think, just one more thing to show you:


Finally, a rear-facing mount I am happy with! Gorilla tape firmly holding the supplied mount to my rack is the perfect solution for me for this camera. I've tried many different methods, and found this one to be the most satisfactory. It is stable, firm, removable, and shows very little vibration compared to the others I've tried. Get up. Go ride.


  1. For some reason I wouldn't have thought that Phoenix was a rather bicycle friendly city. Great footage of your commute. It makes a big difference when lights take cyclist needs into consideration. Here in Brisbane I also noticed a few additions of cyclist specific road furniture, e.g. little pilons with light trigger buttons right at the cycle lane. This is especially handy at intersections where the bike does not trigger the light.

  2. Your solution looks good for aft facing camera. You have a similarly simple good solution for looking forward?

  3. Hey Groover, thanks for commenting. Phoenix is a huge, hot, and car-centric place. However, to a certain extent, "bicycle friendly" goes both ways--a cyclist going out of his way to be at peace with traffic will often find that traffic is at peace with him.

    Steve, not quite, the helmet mount is the best bet so far, but I would prefer an approach that would yield results equal to the rear-facing rack mount.


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