How many cars run traffic lights?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Robert Dole, Dec 2, 2003.

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  1. Robert Dole

    Robert Dole Guest

    It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light:

    "In just its first three weeks of operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side
    (Chicago: 55th and Western) intersection nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials
    reported Monday....Only cars that enter an intersection after the light already has turned red are
    cited" - Chicago Tribune 12/2/03

    This was the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle every 27
    minutes, 24 hours a day.

    Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major intersection is
    considerably more dangerous to others, too.
     
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  2. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "Robert Dole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light:
    >
    > "In just its first three weeks of operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side
    > (Chicago: 55th and Western) intersection nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials
    > reported Monday....Only cars that enter an intersection after the light already has turned red are
    > cited" - Chicago Tribune 12/2/03
    >
    > This was the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle every 27
    > minutes, 24 hours a day.
    >
    > Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major intersection is
    > considerably more dangerous to others, too.

    Is the presence of the camera indicated to motorists, and/or has it been widely publicized.

    I ask because that rate seems low. I would expect it to be at least one every two minutes, or
    however long the light's cycle is. The drivers must be alerted, and most of them are being careful.

    RichC
     
  3. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <Bv5zb.38709$A%[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > "Robert Dole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light:
    > >
    > > "In just its first three weeks of operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side
    > > (Chicago: 55th and Western) intersection nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials
    > > reported Monday....Only cars that enter an intersection after the light already has turned red
    > > are cited" - Chicago Tribune 12/2/03
    > >
    > > This was the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle every
    > > 27 minutes, 24 hours a day.
    > >
    > > Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major intersection is
    > > considerably more dangerous to others, too.
    >
    > Is the presence of the camera indicated to motorists, and/or has it been widely publicized.
    >
    > I ask because that rate seems low. I would expect it to be at least one every two minutes, or
    > however long the light's cycle is. The drivers must be

    It may depend on the area, but I would disagree with this. Most of the time when I come up to the
    light, I do not see someone running it after it turns red. Occasionally, but definitely a relatively
    small percentage of the time.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  4. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > It may depend on the area, but I would disagree with this. Most of the time when I come up to the
    > light, I do not see someone running it after it turns red. Occasionally, but definitely a
    > relatively small percentage of the time.

    Red light running seems endemic to southern CA, but with hundreds of cars going through an
    intersection at every light, a few red light runners are still a small percentage of the total. So
    it probably seems worse than it is, compared to other places -- but I'd still put money on it
    actually being *much* worse. It would be interesting to see some statistics though.

    Matt O.
     
  5. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > It may depend on the area, but I would disagree with this. Most of the time when I come up to the
    > light, I do not see someone running it after it turns red. Occasionally, but definitely a
    > relatively small percentage of the time.

    I'm sure it varies by locality. There are intersections I encounter in Philadelphia where I assume,
    during rush hour, that at least two or three cars will run every light, and I'm rarely disappointed.
    There are lights (usually ones where the driver is crossing a "T") that are routinely ignored
    completely by many drivers.

    I don't think it can be understated: in the minds of many drivers, stopping their cars is abhorrent
    and they will do much to avoid it.

    RichC
     
  6. Mp

    Mp Guest

    Just my own observation in the area where I ride and drive, but I seem to see three main kinds of
    red light running by motorists.

    1. People seem to think that if they are close on the tail of someone else it's okay. If someone
    goes through a light at the last moment of the yellow, another three or four cars will follow
    him through, although the light has gone red by then.

    2. People will block intersections waiting to make a turn or go straight in heavy traffic, and
    still be sitting there when the light changes.

    3. While waiting at red lights, some drivers start edging into the intersection, hoping to save,
    what? fractions of a second? This can get almost funny. They'll edge so far into the
    intersection sometimes, that they've effectively already run the light, and sometimes they are
    actually almost under the light, and can't see when it changes. Then they lose time, because
    other drivers have to honk at them to let them know that the light has changed.

    On 2 Dec 2003 10:59:03 -0800, [email protected] (Robert Dole) wrote:

    >It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light:
    >
    >"In just its first three weeks of operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side
    >(Chicago: 55th and Western) intersection nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials
    >reported Monday....Only cars that enter an intersection after the light already has turned red are
    >cited" - Chicago Tribune 12/2/03
    >
    >This was the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle every 27
    >minutes, 24 hours a day.
    >
    >Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major intersection is
    >considerably more dangerous to others, too.
     
  7. Tony Wright

    Tony Wright Guest

    I bet there were far more cyclists running the red light (on a percentage basis) than cars.
     
  8. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Tony Wright" <[email protected]"REMOVE"wright-photo.com> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I bet there were far more cyclists running the red light (on a percentage basis) than cars.

    You may be right, but there's no comparison in the danger they present.

    Matt O.
     
  9. Mike Kruger

    Mike Kruger Guest

    "Rich Clark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:Bv5zb.38709$A%[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Is the presence of the camera indicated to motorists, and/or has it been widely publicized.
    >
    The program has been highly publicized; I haven't seen any signage at any Chicago intersection
    personally; I'm too far from 55th and Western (about 27 miles) to be motivated to check that
    intersection out.

    I looked up the article in the Trib. If everybody pays the tickets issued, this one intersection
    would generate over $30,000 a week in fines. This is MY idea of a revenue source: somebody else
    pays, and it makes the city safer.

    Here's a link to the full article (free Tribune registration required):
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0312020303dec02,1,7566222.story
     
  10. "Robert Dole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major intersection is
    > considerably more dangerous to others, too.

    Actually, what I see the most is "serial red light running," that while annoying and inconvenient to
    the motorists who actually have the green, is really not all that dangerous. It happens most often
    with motorists turning left. The green arrow will go away, and more often than not, at least three,
    sometimes as many as seven, vehicles will continue through the red light. Actually this morning was
    one of the few times I saw a single car run the red, turning left, long after the light had turned
    red and cross traffic
    (me) was halfway across the intersection.

    The city I live in has installed several cameras specifically to catch the left turn serial red
    light runners.

    While I don't run red lights, either on my bike or while driving, there are different degrees of
    dangerousness in the type of red light running.

    Actually, I think that running stop signs is a more apt comparison, since both motorists and
    cyclists routinely don't come to complete stops.
     
  11. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light: "In just its first three weeks of
    >operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side (Chicago: 55th and Western) intersection
    >nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials reported Monday....Only cars that enter an
    >intersection after the light already has turned red are cited" - Chicago Tribune 12/2/03 This was
    >the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle every 27 minutes,
    >24 hours a day. Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red through a major
    >intersection is considerably more dangerous to others, too.

    Another city trying to raise revenue. Red light cameras are simply easy ways to get money into city
    coffers. If safety was the real issue, the city would have an engineer examine the intersection and
    make recommendations on how to improve it. Often all that needs to be done is simply changing the
    length of the yellow light. Another thing to watch for is that unscrupulous vendors will alter
    yellow light timing when they install the cameras. They create a dangerous situation so that they
    can make more money.
    ----------------
    Alex
     
  12. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    >I looked up the article in the Trib. If everybody pays the tickets issued, this one intersection
    >would generate over $30,000 a week in fines. This is MY idea of a revenue source: somebody else
    >pays, and it makes the city safer.

    Yes someone pays. No, there is no safety aspect. Strictly a revenue generator.
    -------------
    Alex
     
  13. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Thu, 04 Dec 2003 17:38:04 -0500, <[email protected]>, Alex Rodriguez
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >They create a dangerous situation so that they can make more money.

    Bullshit. It's the impatient canned asswipes running red lights and tailgating who create the
    dangerous situations.

    Learn to drive it or give it back to the bank.

    Red lights mean stop. There is no discussion.
    --
    zk
     
  14. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >Alex Rodriguez [email protected]

    wrote in part:

    >Another thing to watch for is that unscrupulous vendors will alter yellow light timing when they
    >install the cameras. They create a dangerous situation so that they can make more money.

    Something else to watch out for are whackadoos spreading ridiculous conspiracy theories on Usenet.

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  15. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Zoot Katz <[email protected]> writes:

    > It seems that they're not such great money makers because people quit running that light.

    And if a local gov't wants to make money, all they've gotta do is put in a bunch of parking meters
    where there were none before. With a contingent of vigilant meter readers, parking meters are far
    more lucrative than red light cameras.

    And parking meters are the next best thing to bike racks.

    Thanx, drivers.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  16. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    05 Dec 2003 04:54:38 GMT,
    <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Hunrobe) wrote:

    >>Alex Rodriguez [email protected]
    >
    >wrote in part:
    >
    >>Another thing to watch for is that unscrupulous vendors will alter yellow light timing when they
    >>install the cameras. They create a dangerous situation so that they can make more money.
    >
    >Something else to watch out for are whackadoos spreading ridiculous conspiracy theories on Usenet.
    >
    Actually, it's all over the web: http://www.hwysafety.com/nma_rlc_timeline4.htm

    It seems that they're not such great money makers because people quit running that light.

    When sub-contractors take over the work, they've been found guilty of tampering with yellow timing
    in order to make money. That's supposedly led to increased accidents. It's just the whine of a well
    oiled lobby.
    --
    zk
     
  17. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Tom Keats" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>,

    > Zoot Katz <[email protected]> writes:
    >
    > > It seems that they're not such great money makers because people quit running that light.

    This scenario is sick -- in that they obviously don't give a shit about the increased safety, only
    the money.

    > And if a local gov't wants to make money, all they've gotta do is put in a bunch of parking meters
    > where there were none before. With a contingent of vigilant meter readers, parking meters are far
    > more lucrative than red light cameras.

    This is true. In fact, parking spots are the most valuable real estate in many cities. Note your
    local meter rates, and do the math.

    For example, let's say a parking space is 10'x20', or 200 sq ft (it's usually a little smaller, but
    let's make it easy). At a dollar an hour, eight hours a day (it could be more hours, but let's allow
    for vacancy), that's $320 a month, divided by 200 yields $1.60 per sq ft per month, $192 per sq ft
    per year. Impressive -- considering this is everywhere, not just the best districts where the high
    office, retail, and residential rents are.

    So if you wonder why they won't sacrifice even one parking space to put in a bike rack, that's why.

    Matt O.
     
  18. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Zoot Katz" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Thu, 04 Dec 2003 17:38:04 -0500, <[email protected]>, Alex Rodriguez
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >They create a dangerous situation so that they can make more money.
    >
    > Bullshit. It's the impatient canned asswipes running red lights and tailgating who create the
    > dangerous situations.
    >
    > Learn to drive it or give it back to the bank.
    >
    > Red lights mean stop. There is no discussion.

    Spoken like a true anti-auto cyclist. Why don't you start your research here:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/079bkyhi.asp

    Just as most drivers don't understand that bicycles can go over ten miles an hour, people who don't
    drive cars regularly don't understand the dynamics that affect reactions at stoplights.

    Some stats from the article: "...of drivers classified as "red light runners," 80 percent enter an
    intersection less than a second after a yellow signal has turned red."

    In San Diego, "lawyers representing motorists found the city planting a red-light camera at an
    intersection where no accidents had occurred for years. But that didn't stop the camera from
    generating 2,000 citations per month, until engineers realized the yellow light was more than
    a second too short. When they increased it, the number of citations dropped to fewer than 300
    per month."

    "...though cities are typically coached by contractors to place cameras at heavy-volume
    intersections (generating more tickets), statistics from the same office [District of Columbia's
    Department of Public Works] reveal a noticeable shortage of red-light cameras at the city's most
    dangerous intersections."

    "Of the top 10 high-crash intersections for the two years that preceded the District's installation
    of 39 cameras in 1999, the 1997 figures show four of the top 10 (including 2 of the top 3) did not
    warrant red-light cameras (even though one of them accounted for two of the only three reported
    deaths). Additionally, 7 of the top 10 high-crash intersections for 1998 didn't rate cameras--even
    though they were installed just a year later."

    And the list of evidence goes on and on. I'd like to reproduce the entire article here, but I think
    it is better if you all go read it at the source.

    -Buck
     
  19. Kerry

    Kerry Guest

    "Alex Rodriguez" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > >It's not just wayward cyclists who run the occasional red light: "In just its first three weeks
    > >of operation, an automated camera system at a Southwest Side (Chicago: 55th and Western)
    > >intersection nabbed 1,114 motorists who ran red lights, officials reported Monday....Only cars
    > >that enter an intersection after the light already has turned red are cited" - Chicago Tribune
    > >12/2/03 This was the first intersection where the camera has gone live. That's one motor vehicle
    > >every 27 minutes, 24 hours a day. Of course, in terms of danger a motor vehicle running red
    > >through a major intersection is considerably more dangerous to others, too.
    >
    > Another city trying to raise revenue. Red light cameras are simply easy ways to get money into
    > city coffers. If safety was the real issue, the city would have an engineer examine the
    > intersection and make recommendations on how to improve it. Often all that needs to be done is
    > simply changing the length of the yellow light. Another thing to watch for is that unscrupulous
    > vendors will alter yellow light timing when they install the cameras. They create a dangerous
    > situation so that they can make more money.
    > ----------------
    > Alex
    >

    I don't agree with you Alex. I think motorists running red lights is one of the most potentially
    dangerous traffic violations there is. I rank it up there with excessive speeding and drunken
    driving. I haven't seen any result in changing the length of the yellow. I can tell you first hand,
    because I called MODOT and voiced my concern about an intersection with blatant red light runners.
    They did exactly as you suggested - extended the yellow light. Drivers just got used to the extended
    yellow and the same number run the red as before.

    I would like to think our lawmakers and traffic engineers are thinking first about saving lives as
    opposed to generating money. But if they generate money (with as little tax burden as possible)
    while saving lives - more power to em!

    Kerry
     
  20. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Kerry" <k n i k o l a i s e [email protected] b c g lo b a l.net> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...

    > I would like to think our lawmakers and traffic engineers are thinking first about saving lives as
    > opposed to generating money. But if they generate money (with as little tax burden as possible)
    > while saving lives - more power to em!

    Unfortunately, the real money they're trying to generate is campaign contributions -- which I'm sure
    these camera contractors are very generous with.

    Matt O.
     
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