Malfunctioning Traffic Signals

Another important law that was updated via HB 154 relates to malfunctioning traffic signals.  Cyclists...how many time have you not been detected as traffic at a traffic light intersection?  This part of the new law is for you!  You may have seen news reports like "Drivers in Ohio may soon be able to legally run red lights" and others that mislabeled it as the "Red Light Law" verses the "Malfunctioning Signal Law".  We already had a law in ORC 4511.132 that provide guidance on what to do if the traffic light was malfunctioning.  Here is the existing ORC with the new portion added in green:

(A) The driver of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley who approaches an intersection where traffic is controlled by traffic control signals shall do all of the following, if the signal facing the driver exhibits no colored lights or colored lighted arrows , exhibits a combination of such lights or arrows that fails to clearly indicate the assignment of right-of-way, or the signals are otherwise malfunctioning, including the failure of a vehicle detector to detect the vehicle:

Note the term "vehicle" was used so as to include bicycles, horse-drawn carriage and...cars.  All the other conditions in ORC 4511.132 existed before the new law, including the due care for safely passing through the malfunctioning signal.  The publicity of the dreaded "Red Light Law" caused lawmakers to include a provision to change to say "bicycles" verses "vehicles".  Wow!  The good news is that the original intent remains, to support bicyclists who are not detected at traffic signals.

When you encounter a signal that is not recognizing you as traffic, use the following guidelines:

  1. Look for grooves or marks in the roadway that form a circle, this may be the inductive loop that is meant to sense the metal in your "vehicle". Place you bike directly on top of one of the lines that run in your direction of travel.  This may help the signal detect you.
  2. Look for camera at the intersection that may be used for detection, it will be directly across the street, usually connected to the light that you are waiting to change.  If may need to motion with you arm but generally, these systems are better than the inductive loop.
  3. According to ODOT, traffic signals usually cycle within 2-3 minutes depending on time-of-day. If you've waited ~4 minutes, you can feel fairly certain that it will never pick you up to change the signal.
  4. Now you should treat the intersection just like you have a stop sign with cross traffic that does not stop.  Look for a break in traffic, both to the left and right and when clear, proceed through the intersection with caution.

In reality, we encounter this same intersection on a regular basis, on a side street with stop sign, waiting for cross traffic to clear in order to proceed. This change in the law only recognizes that traffic signals may not register bicycles due to their low metal composition, allow us to proceed through a malfunctioning signal legally.

Cyclists should note that if you encounter a traffic signal that does not detect you, report the intersection with details to ODOT.  They will try to correct or refer your inquiry to the jurisdiction that owns the signal (may be city or township).  They successfully corrected a signal on my commute!

"Real News References"
http://kfor.com/2017/01/25/drivers-in-ohio-may-soon-be-able-to-legally-r...
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/local/what-you-need-know-about-ohio-...
http://nbc24.com/news/nation-world/new-law-allows-drivers-to-go-through-...

3-Feet Safe Passing Distance Becomes Law on March 21, 2017

After many years of hard work by the Ohio Bicycle Federation, and the support of the bicycle community across the state, the 3-foot law will go into effect on March 21, 2017.  Here is the important part of ORC 4511.27:

The operator of a vehicle or trackless trolley overtaking another vehicle or trackless trolley proceeding in the same direction shall, except as provided in division (A)(3) of this section, signal to the vehicle or trackless trolley to be overtaken, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle or trackless trolley. When a motor vehicle or trackless trolley overtakes and passes a bicycle, three feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.

Motorist are encouraged to change lanes to pass cyclists, providing ample clearance when passing. Cyclist are permitted to use the full travel lane for their safety when certain conditions exist, see ORC 4511.55 "Operating bicycles and motorcycles on roadway".

Special thanks to joint-sponsors Representative Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) and Representative Michael Henne (R-Clayton) for their tremendous efforts to move HB 154 through the House and Senate for passage and ultimate approval by Governor John Kasich, who signed the bill into law on December 19, 2016.  We would be remiss without mentioning the hard work by OBF Chair Chuck Smith, who worked in front and behind the scenes at the statehouse in Columbus for many years to make this a reality!  Lastly, thanks to the Ohio cycling community that worked together in support of this bill! 

Help spread the word about the new law!  Let us know if you would like one of the oval 3-foot stickers for the back of your other vehicle (car).  Coming Soon!

Toledo Blade: "Bicyclists get more room on road today 3 foot buffer zone law taking effect"

City of Bowling Green - Educating Cyclists and Motorists

It was very exciting to see "Bicycles May Use Full Lane...It's State Law" on the electronic sign in front of the Bowling Green Public Works building.  Educating the public about the cyclists rights and responsibilities is a team effort in Bowling Green.  The City's engineer, Jason Sisco, has been instrumental in aiding the staff in learning about bicycle related issues, including Complete Streets.  Please help us in thanking Brian Craft (Public Works Director), Bowling Green Police Department, Fire Chief Tom Sanderson, and especially Jason Sisco for getting the word out!

King Road Bike Lane Improvement

In conjunction with the new Sylvania King Road Branch Library, the City of Sylvania is finishing up on the new right turn lane (King Road onto Sylvania Avenue).  We are pleased that the City improved the existing bike lane and also included a new "right turn bike lane".  Cyclists traveling north on King would stay in the straight-through bike lane, cyclists traveling east on Sylvania would use the new right-turn bike lane.  While this design looks like an improvement for cyclist safety, due care should still be taken to avoid a possible right-hook from motor vehicles that could turn into the bike lane. This is especially true with big trucks (semi, dump truck, etc.) that need large turning spaces.  It is never a good idea to find yourself on the right side of a large truck, take control of the regular turn lane to prevent the possible right hook crash.

Help us in thanking the City of Sylvania for these improvements, and future improvements to make Sylvania friendly for bicyclists!  Emails can be sent to Mayor Stough at city.mayor@cityofsylvania.com

 

King Road Library Grand Opening - Ride your Bike!

King-Road-Library-Lucas-County.jpgUPDATE:  The library is now open!

Join us October 10 at the grand opening of new Sylvania library on King Road starting at 10AM.  The Southview Band will greet guests and there will be remarks by library officials, Sylvania dignitaries and other special guests with tours of the new library.

If you're able to join, consider riding your bike to the event to show our appreciation for including secure bike parking.  Easy access from the U/P trail to King Road, bike lane to the library entrance!

We are thankful for the excellent bike racks in front of the building, special thanks to Kevin Kennedy of HBM Architects for including them in the project!

Woodley Road Bridge Reopens!

Woodley Bridge ReopensThe Woodley Road bridge that spans I-475 has re-opened!  This is an important link for commuters that need to cross 475 without using one of the busier roads nearby.  A recent article in The Blade reported that the bridge may need additional work that could close the crossing intermittently, but it should be passable by bicyclists and pedestrians.

Maple & Main Bike Valet


Maple and Main Art Fair Bike Valey

Update:  Saturday was very hot but we still had a steady flow of cyclists attending the Art Fair.  Cooler temps on Sunday brought out the regular crowd with many more bikes to park...a very successful weekend!  Thanks to the many volunteers that helped to make this happen, we couldn't have done it without you!

We are partnering with the Sylvania Slow Ryders and Maumee Valley Adventurers to support free bike valet parking at the Maple and Main Art Fair on June 11 & 12.  Help promote transportation to the event by bicycle as we provide secure bike parking for attendees.  Come enjoy the Art Fair and set aside a couple of hours to work with another volunteer parking bikes!  It's a lot of fun and you'll have a chance to meet other bicyclists at the event.  On Sunday, check out the 6th Annual Sylvania Cycling Classic, take in the Art Fair...and volunteer for the bike valet!

Volunteers will receive a Maple & Main Art Fair t-shirt from a prior year, you can pickup at volunteer check-in before your shift.

 

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Bike Valet Parking at Red Bird Art Walk

Sylvania Art Walk Bike Valet May 6 

Update:  We had a great time providing the Bike Valet with over 30 bikes parked during the event last night.  All of our equipment was transported between my Bullitt Cargo Bike and Steve Atkinson's trailer (thanks Steve).

Sylvania Advantage Article HERE

Join the festivities in Downtown Sylvania for the monthly First Friday Red Bird Art Walk from 5~8pm this Friday, May 5.  In celebration of Bike Month, there are many bike themes activities including our debut of our new Bike Valet Parking racks.  We will set up near Maple and Main, ride your bike to the event and we'll take care of your ride as you enjoy the festivities.  This is made possible through a grant from Maumee Valley Adventurers.

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