Reflections On Red Light Cameras and Lawful Behavior

Background Reading

Cyclists have a rather weak sense of personal responsibility when it comes to just about anything have to do with “Lawful Behavior“. For some reason the thinking in the Cycling Community is that what applies to cars and their drivers really ought not to apply in any way to bicycles and their drivers. Take for instance this conversation about red light cameras; their purpose, value and the reactions to drivers who break the law.


The first response of interest was this one:

Red light cameras aren’t about creating safety they are about making new revenue.
Otherwise, their would be consequences for drivers  with repeat offenses.

Actually all of governmental control is about revenue. That is the life’s blood of any municipality. What is interesting is how much like listening to a Tea Party proponent reading this sort of response is from a member of the Cycling Community. Whether they wish to admit it or not Urban Cyclists are the mirror reflections of the Tea Party and its ultra-conservative anti-control stance. If you understand this then everything else that they either like or are against makes more sense.

Several years ago at Fullerton and Kedzie they did just that with red light camera.
Drivers got used to light and it was removed as it did not make the revenue it cost to run it.
Did it make it safer???
Did drivers save there (should have been, “their“) irresponsible  moves for the next light, stop sign, bike lane?
A speed camera is set up on my Madison commute through Garfield Park and I still see speeders marking 20 over the speed limit even with  a big sign showing there is a speed zone and indicating passing cars speed.
Making drivers pay fines does not make the world safer , I think taking away license and registration will.

Now this is a fairly unremarkable response until you remember the reactions of such riders to accusations by John Kass that they do not themselves follow the traffic laws on a consistent basis. The fact is that Urban Cyclists are like the Tea Party a law unto themselves. What is even more interesting is that they are dismayed that the presence of speed cameras (something they would take to the streets to avoid for themselves) do not curb all of the bad motorist behavior. Well, guess what neither do bicycle-specific turn signals at intersections create Good Citizenship on the part of cyclists.

You either see value in doing your part to keep Society orderly or you don’t. It is the height of hypocrisy to complain about motorists who mimic the very behaviors we cyclists like to reserve for ourselves. Not cool.

I think, that like those metal teeth that pop up to prevent cars from reversing should be deployed when lights turn red…no need for cameras then.

Yikes! See how aggressive these folks can get when they are daydreaming about ways to punish their motoring counterparts?

If there was a way that red light camera could catch cyclists this whole thread would read WAY different.

Amen to this reality. It is too bad that cyclists have such a “blind spot” when it comes to themselves.

And if careless and reckless drivers didn’t kill people, this whole thread would read WAY different. as well.

Of course this is reflection of the commonly held misconception that “Cars kill, Bicycles do not kill“. It shows a lack of  understanding or willful ignorance. I am guessing a little of both.

Thunder gave the pat answer the city gives, but when you boil it down it is all about money.  Which is also why it is a fine/fee NOT a moving offense.  However you get caught speeding on the expressway by IDOT that is a moving violation because they get your plate AND your face.

Chicago’s pockets are deep because once the politicians find the hole in their pocket, well they find yours doesn’t have a hole.  And your neighbor’s.  And your friend’s.  Infinite amount of pockets.

I have always maintained that the primary reason that bike registration and licensing is such a “hot button” issue is because it represents a “slippery slope” where the undertaking of personal responsibility is concerned. If you and your bike are easily identified in a manner not unlike that for automobiles it means that your scofflaw actions can have consequences.

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of Tea Party types than the notion that a machine can catch them breaking the law and suddenly they might have to answer to a judge for their actions. Now if that same machine catches a turban-wearing dark-skinned foreign-looking fellow, no problem. But why should a white, Protestant ever be subjected to the same standards? Urban Cyclists are cut from the same cloth where their sense of entitlement is concerned. It was bad enough that an alderman suggested taxing bicycles. It was most insulting that that individual was both an African-American and a Woman. Oh, the indignity!

My only problem with the red light cameras is that I have to take my eyes off the road in order to look to the right at the pedestrian second counter to see how much time I have left to get through the intersection because the yellow lights are ridiculously short. When the cameras go in the yellow light time gets reduced. The Peterson and Western intersection is notorious for an overly short yellow light. I start breaking while the light is still green if the pedestrian second counter is down to one or two seconds left in order to avoid a ticket….that is a safety hazard, especially if the guy behind me is also looking at the pedestrian second counter instead of looking at my break lights.

In Britain he would be known as an “amber gambler“.

If you’ve ever received a red light ticket, you can see the video of the infraction and the camera calculates your speed and the length of the yellow light. The duration of the yellow light is indicated in seconds in the bottom of video

This is an interesting fact. You learn something new every day.

Ah, yes. That perennial favorite argument of the camera-haters was bound to make an appearance in this thread. Too bad it isn’t true. The light is yellow for 3 seconds. A tribune story found no proof of the light being yellow for a shorter period in intersections with a red light camera.

Again, convincing Tea Party types that there is not plot to herd them into Concentration Camps is like convincing an Urban Cyclist that yellow lights are not personally rigged by Obama or perhaps more to the point, John Kass to cause them dyspepsia.

Hell Will Consist of 24/7 Contact Between Tea Party Types and Urban Cyclists

I would pay to be a fly on the wall when these two groups (cousins under the skin) get a chance to spend Eternity in the same room together.