Bicycles

Veloloop lets bicycles trigger traffic light sensors

The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay
The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay
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The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay
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The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay
The Veloloop is powered by two AA batteries, and can reportedly run for at least a year on one pair
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The Veloloop is powered by two AA batteries, and can reportedly run for at least a year on one pair

If you're a regular bicycle commuter, then you've no doubt experienced the following scenario: you're the only vehicle going in your direction at a controlled intersection, and the light is red, but it won't change to green because the traffic sensors embedded in the asphalt can't register your presence. Well, that's where the Veloloop comes in. It's designed to make those sensors think that your bike is a car.

Embedded "inductive loop" traffic sensors work by creating an electromagnetic field in the surface layer of the road. When a sufficiently-large metal object – such as a car – stops above the sensor, it creates eddy currents within that field. This is detected by the system's traffic signal controller, which causes the light to change.

Bicycles, however, simply don't consist of enough metal to trip the sensors. Approaches such as positioning your bike in exactly the right orientation relative to the sensors' looped electrical wires are claimed to work (as are magnets in the rider's shoes), but the Veloloop looks like it's considerably easier.

The Veloloop is powered by two AA batteries, and can reportedly run for at least a year on one pair
The Veloloop is powered by two AA batteries, and can reportedly run for at least a year on one pair

It remains in standby mode while the bike is in motion, but sets to work once an accompanying spoke-mounted magnet indicates that the rear wheel has stopped turning. Using its looped aluminum antenna, the Veloloop then starts by searching for the sensor's electromagnetic signal, scanning a variety of frequencies. Once it locates the signal and "locks on," it then emits its own signal. This affects the sensor's magnetic field in the same way as the metal in a car, triggering a traffic light change.

The Veloloop is powered by two AA batteries, and can reportedly run for at least a year on one pair. Its California-based creators are currently raising production funds, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$99 will get you one, when and if they're ready to go.

More details are available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter via BikeRadar

5 comments
Jeffrey A. Edwards
I checked the website and there is no mention of a motorcycle variant. Some motorcycles and scooters have the same problem usually fixed with a couple of welding magnets fixed to the underside of the bike.
JweenyPwee
Yup. A $5 rare earth (Neodymium) magnet under your frame solves that. Motorcyclists have been doing it for years.
Nat Collins
Magnets don't work. Magnets don't affect high frequency signals such as wi-fi, bluetooth, cell phones, or inductive loop sensors. That's why those $5 magnets have such terrible reviews on Amazon.
The Creator
What you need, and this goes for all vehicles, maybe even more so for passenger vehicles/motorcycles, is one of those devices that emergency vehicles (fire trucks, ambulance, cop cars) use that automatically trigger the light to turn immediately to green. I don't know if it still applies with modern technology, but a few years ago I read you could make one yourself. Basically its just an infrared light strobing at the correct frequency. The tricky part is finding the correct frequency. Apparently its different by city and/or state, and I doubt that's information that's publicly available.
wahip
Useless. One of the advantages to urban bicycling is the ability to blow red lights when a gap in traffic permits. If the intersection is too busy for this gap, there are usually plenty of cars in my direction anyways. I have never encountered a cop that is anal enough to ticket a bicyclist for a violation at 3 AM on empty streets. I also have a small motorcycle that usually triggers these late-night signals by simply leaning it to a 45° angle to increase near-field mass.