The Intersector, a life saver for bicyclists


It detects bicyclists with a deft pulse of microwave radiation, and adjusts traffic lights to accomodate their distinct pace. If you ride a bike, it could save your life.

It’s The Intersector, coming soon to Pleasanton, Monterey and hopefully other California cities near you.

A California law passed in 2008 mandates that cities begin to phase in traffic control equipment include the capability to detect and adjust traffic for motorcycles and bicycles. The Interceptor can distinguish between bicycles and other types of traffic, giving bicycles 14 seconds to clear an intersection, but cars only four. It can also tack an extra five seconds of green light when it detects a cyclists in the intersection.

Financing for Pleasanton’s project came from sales tax revenue through the California Transportation Development Act.

Pleasanton has just installed its eighth Intersector as part of an extended pilot program. A YouTube video shows it in action, distinguishing slower bicycle traffic from faster cars.

Jesse Garnier
Jesse Garnier is the editor and founder of SFBay. A Mission District native, he also teaches journalism as associate professor at San Francisco State University.

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