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The comment about motorcycles makes me wonder if you would support license plates on bicycles to identify and ticket those that run stop lights/signs and otherwise break the law?

Licence plates on bikes wouldn't do any good. They don't do much in the way of law inforcement on drivers. Speeding,running stops signs and even lights is almost as prevalent for drivers as it is for cyclists.

Brad, it wouldn't do any good. They'd have to be so small that they'd be hard to see. Where would you place it? How would it not be covered by bags or coats or something? Is there anyplace in the world that uses them effectively? Would they come with a fee - if so, I'd definitely be against it.

Somehow using speed cameras to raise revenue does not bother me in the slightest. Government entities raise revenue with a whole raft of sin taxes (tobacco, alcohol, gambling, etc.) Speeding is an undesirable activity, just as smoking or gambling is, why not tax it? If you don't want to pay the tax, don't speed or smoke.

I'd like it if the fine were proportional to the mass of the vehicle, representing the increased danger and stopping distance of unnecessarily heavy cars on the road. (Otherwise, I agree with PdE.)

Motorcycles, as motor vehicles, are required by law to display registration. Bicycles, as human-powered vehicles are not. Neither are skateboards, or roller-blades, or jogging shoes.

So I'm not sure what Brad's point is. Yes, motorcyclists should have to obey the law. No, cyclists should not have to display license plates. No, there's no hypocrisy there.

Somehow using speed cameras to raise revenue does not bother me in the slightest.

Also, agree with this.

My beef with the current enforcement regime is that there seems to be zero desire to actually roll out automated enforcement on residential streets.

One explanation for this could be the combination of a) the somewhat high speed limit of 25 mph; coupled with b) the 10 mph "cushion" that drivers are allowed before a camera is triggered. The combination of the two means that the effective speed limit on residential streets is 35 mph. Which I would imagine very few drivers are exceeding.

You either have to lower one of those or the other. But every time you try, entitled drivers scream bloody murder.

As a condition of lowering the speeding fine, we should both lower the residential speed limit to 20 mph, and lower the "cushion" to 25% of the speed limit.

So 25 in a 20 mph zone nets you a speeding ticket, and 78 in a 60 mph zone nets you a speeding ticket. Etc...

Sorry, "75 in a 60 mph zone"...

I call BS on the MCPD's explanation for speed cameras. On Goldmine Rd outside of Olney they lowered the speed limit from 35 to 25mph and then installed a speed camera. It's pure deceit aimed at driving up revenue. What's more amusing is that they had speed bumps just up the road for years before the speed cameras. So they tactly acknowledge that they believed speeding to be a problem, but only adjusted the speed limit when there was a financial incentive. Like I said, pure BS.

I get the idea of using speeding as a Pigovian tax (technically I think a sin tax is on something that's legal but undesirable. At least, that's what I was told) and I'd rather tax dangerous driving than, let's say, going to work. But, the primary goal should be safety, and trying to use to gain revenue undermines that in two ways.

1. Politically - it's hard to maintain political support when people see it as just a way to get revenue. Right or wrong, I think that's true.

2. Perverse incentives - it incentivizes the government to put cameras in places where there is a lot of speeding, but not a lot of crashes. Or to maintain artificial speed limits or to lower limits unnecessarily. Or to shorten the length of yellow lights (that actually happened someplace). And even if jurisdictions don't do any of these things, the incentive itself creates the impression among many that that is what's going on - which feeds back into #1. But I also suspect that it goes on as well. If the city budgets for $30 million in revenue and people stop speeding, what is the city going to do then?

So lowering the fine could be coupled with lowering the limit. It could even go down to 1mph over, and we could charge $1 per mph over. 20 $1 tickets a month might do more to slow drivers down than 1 $125 ticket every six months.

Or, we could give people an option to go to driver class/detention in lieu of the ticket. If you don't want the city taking your money, you can go to a $10 4-hour driver safety class on Saturday morning - pass the test at the end and your ticket goes away. That would take away the claim that it's all about money.

Or....we can escalate the tickets like they do for HOV violators. First ticket $5. They double every time after that, unless you can go 2 years without another one. By having the first tickets be so low in cost, it would mean that most marginal drivers never get charged much.

Anyway, that's how I see it, but I'm very sympathetic to PdE's point.

In my opinion, high traffic fines are at least a partial deterrent to unsafe driving. A fine reduction for running red lights could lead to an increase in accidents caused by doing so.

The comment about motorcycles makes me wonder if you would support license plates on bicycles to identify and ticket those that run stop lights/signs and otherwise break the law?

I'll bite. Ignoring the practical considerations, there is no rational philosophical objection to registration of cyclists. However, nobody has ever come up with a scheme that is practical.

Tying into the larger discussion, you can say the same thing about speed cameras: there is no rational philosophical objection. (I don't consider "I like to speed and I don't like getting caught" to qualify). So the objections are purely practical. That doesn't mean they aren't real, but they can be addressed.

On a trip to Australia in January, we discovered that they give no grace speed on cameras. If you're over, you get a ticket. For five kilometers over the speed limit, it netted us a $200 fine.

Needless to say, very few people speed there. I hate speed cameras and I hate speeding fines. But if you want effective, eliminate the grace, ticket people for being over the speed, and fine the hell out of them. People will slow down if the fine is steep enough.

A large tree fell across the roadway late Wednesday night, blocking all lanes and pulling down several utility poles and their electrical, cable TV and phone lines.

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