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ASK YOUR GOVERNMENT: When traffic lights don’t sense bicyclists

Q. What are bicyclists supposed to do when the sensors on traffic lights don’t see us? Sometimes traffic or sidewalk construction may inhibit us getting off our bikes and pressing the crosswalk button.

A. Some intersections in Grand Forks are designed to see bicycles while others aren’t, said John Bernstrom, city spokesman. If you are wondering about a specific intersection, call the city’s public information line at 311.

According to police Lt. Dwight Love, if you are at an intersection with a malfunctioning traffic light, you can navigate through the intersection as long as it is safe to do so.

Q. Could you do a refresher on the rules of the road concerning stop-sign intersections? People seem to handle a four-way stop OK, but I’ve seen a lot of confusion at two-way stop intersections. People often treat them like a four-way.

A. Two-way stop intersections are somewhat rarer and therefore seem to be less understood, Lt. Love said.

In a four-way stop intersection, the driver who stops at the stop sign or stop line first has the right of way among all directions, or if two or more vehicles stop at the same time the vehicle on the right has the right of way.

In a two-way stop intersection: first, the right of way belongs to the person turning right. Next, the vehicle going straight through the intersection, and last, the vehicle turning left.

A common myth for two-way stops is that the vehicle that gets to the intersection first gets to go first, Love said. This sometimes leads to a vehicle turning left in front of the vehicle going straight in the opposite direction across the intersection.


Have a question? Call Haley at (701) 780-1102(800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
(701) 780-1102