Holiday lights, traffic lights, and bike lights

I went on a Christmas lights ride with Jen of Loop-Frame Love last night and learned the most amazing thing: the little T’s painted near where bikes wait at intersections are sensors that trigger stop lights to change for bikes. Here’s the older style T we biked by in Ballard:

And here’s a newer style bike icon in Wallingford (N 34th St at Stone Way N):

Read all about the triggers on Loop-Frame Love: The Magic Stoplight and Seattle Bike Blog: The magic little biker near the stop light.

A couple salient points: from SBB commenter JRF: if a sensor doesn’t work, report it and SDOT will adjust it within a few days. And from Jen’s update after meeting with a traffic engineer: placing the crank over the trigger will have best results, especially if you don’t have a steel frame.

The holiday lights were great. My four-year old wisely opted to stay home and warm, but my two-year old fared OK for a while under a blanket. Jen’s six-year old is on a trail-a-bike so he was able to keep warm pedaling. I can’t wait to have help pedaling!

We didn’t make it all the way to Olympic Manor, but we saw some great Ballard lights. The best house had Santa, Frosty, a helicopter, and a firetruck:

I was very impressed by Jen’s USB-rechargeable Expelion 250 CygoLite. Of course, I was more into it when I thought she said it was called “psycho light,” but no matter the name it’s extremely bright. I’m still loving my dynamo lighting, but the Expelion is a great alternative for battery-resenting riders who want a very bright light and don’t want to wait (or pay) to have a dynamo hub installed.

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4 thoughts on “Holiday lights, traffic lights, and bike lights

  1. I want a back-up for our headlight. Every once-in-awhile it’s really wet (surprise!) and the generator doesn’t have a good connection and lucky us, no lights. Thanks for the link and the mnemonic. I’m off to look into a psycho light.

    • And thank you for the warning about wet weather affecting the generator lights. That sucks! I’ve since learned that ideally, a safe rider has a lower light for seeing the road and a higher light for being seen by cars. So if you want to look into a helmet light, the one a Kidical Mass dad here sports is the USB-charging Light & Motion VIS 360. Very, uh, sporty.

      • It also turns out that the “pulley” (replaceable part that actually makes contact with the tire) doesn’t really last 3 months when you have it on continuously. Replaced mine yesterday and I’m betting that we’ll have better light even in the next rain. If I replace it every 2 months as a habit that works out to about $25/year. (BTW, I don’t have the internal stuff you have so I’m not sure we’d have the same issues.)

        The psycho lights were out of my budget. I’ll go check out the other one. Otherwise I may just get the little clip-on $5 jobs from Amazon.

      • I’m not sure you’ll be content with a little $5 light now that you’re used to your nice big one. Or is the clip-on one also USB-charging? I have a feeling that in general any chargeable light will be brighter than a battery one. My fave shop here is having a light sale right now so perhaps some Portland shops are, too? ‘Tis the season for pushing lights on customers, after all! Let me know what you end up doing.

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