The City of Victoria has installed new sensor lights at the end of the Fort Street bike lanes near Wharf Street.
Traffic lights at that intersection are not timed, but rather work on a sensor. In the past, cyclists were not certain whether or not their presence had been detected.
Thanks to the new lights, however, that should no longer be a worry: an illuminated blue bike appears if the signal has been triggered.
“North-south travel movements on Wharf Street are prioritized through this intersection. The bicycle-and-pedestrian phase is only activated when a pedestrian or cyclist presses the cross button, or a bicycle is detected by the sensor,” explained Sheldon Johnson, manager of engagement at the City of Victoria. “The lights provide a visual cue to communicate that a cyclist’s presence has been detected by the traffic signal and that soon vehicles on Wharf will be stopped to allow a safe crossing.”
The sensor lights were installed on Tuesday for a total cost of $700, a sum the city said is part of the ongoing bike network budget.
Cycling advocates are happy about the installation.
“What this offers is a way to tell the person riding the bike to know ‘hey you’ve been seen, you will get a light,’” said Corey Burger, member of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. “Many lights in the region don’t trigger for bikes, so it’s hard to know if it’s working or not.”
Provincial laws state that in situations where lights aren’t working, intersections be treated as four-way stops. If cyclists aren’t certain whether they’ve been detected, they might mistakenly take on this rule, Burger explained.
The lights are positioned on both sides of Wharf Street and turn on when a cyclist approaches the sensor from the west side, or if they push a button on the east side. The City said similar signals are likely to installed at some of the upcoming bike routes.