Stoplights Responding to Cyclists
The city just launched a pilot program to mark some intersections so stop lights will change when bikers approach. Some of Columbia's busy intersections are hard on cyclists who often endure long waits for stoplights that never seem to change.
"It can be frustrating because as someone who wants to obey the laws, you've got to wait for this to change before you can cross," said cyclist Tom Brinker.
Bikes are too light to trigger sensors that turn stop lights. That's why the Public Works Department is now marking exactly where the cyclists should be when the light is red. The markings work for motorcycles and scooters, too. Waiting at the right spot will trigger the sensor, just like a car. Usually, there are enough cars around to trigger the traffic light sensors for bikes, but when they're not around, the sensors will come in handy.
"A bicycle has to ride in traffic just like a vehicle does, and it was hard for them to get the signal to change, they might have to sit through two or three stoplights to wait on a vehicle to come and trigger the light," said Jill Stedem of Columbia Public Works.
Last week, the public works department marked the intersection at West Boulevard and Worley Street. Intersections along West Worley on Clinkscales, Garth, and Bernadette will be marked within the next few weeks.
Columbia officials say this is part of the city's program to encourage more people to take to the streets on their bikes. City officials also say drivers shouldn't see any difference in signal changing times