I’ve become more diligent recently about calling in road issues to RIDOT and local city/town governments. For the most part, the comments have been well received and are acted upon. Today, I thought I would try my luck calling in to RIDOT’s maintenance division (401-222-2378) about a light sensor which I can’t trigger with my bicycle. The conversation went something like:
Me: Hi, I’m calling to report that there is a traffic light sensor at the corner of Chestnut and 114 that I can’t trigger with my bicycle.
Call Center: So you can’t trigger it with your motorcycle
Me: No, I can’t trigger it with my bicycle
Call Center: Well, the sensors don’t work with bicycles
Me: Actually they do, there are plenty of sensors that I trigger all the time. I’ve been told that they can be adjusted so that they will respond to bicycles.
Call Center: They can’t be triggered by a bicycle, it doesn’t weigh enough
Me: Actually, the sensors work by means of magnetic induction. I ride a full steel bicycle that has plenty of metal and it should be able to trigger a properly tuned sensor
Call Center: Okay, what town was that again… I’ll send out a crew
… and there ended the conversation. I frequently ride by this intersection and I’ll be sure to check on it during upcoming weeks. It’s unfortunate that I seemed to know more about how these light sensors work than someone who is answering the phone at the maintenance division. Regardless, I thought I would share my experience and some wisdom about how such a conversation can go, giving others enough information to combat any sort of challenge that it should be possible for bicycles to trigger a light sensor.