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I'm all for cameras. Still, DC has to re-think the amount of the fines and they have got to get their ticket adjudication system to be more responsive. Those two flaws are legitimate grips about the system. The latter is simply unacceptable.

I don't know what is wrong with him, My family and I often ride our bikes to church.

I think the bikers that ride through a red light and stop sign should be given tickets and that is not happening. Maybe then a biker will get the message that they are to follow the rules of the road for their own and pedestrians safety. Redlight cameras and tickets for just cars is not equitable. I have seen bikers trip the redlight camera as they go through a redlight and we all know they do not get the $125 ticket.

I think they should get a ticket, too.

All I can say is on my rides last night and this morning, I saw maybe 3 lawbreaking cyclists, and at least 100 lawbreaking motorists. The only one who got a ticket was the motorist driving on a shoulder.

Regarding cyclists not getting tickets...just enact an "Idaho stop" law and the argument largely goes away. I cannot figure out why DC hasn't done this yet.

As far as the speed cameras go, I fully support them, but my primary compaint is that they are installed in an inconsistent manner. On the main stretch of 695/395 for instance (from 11th SE to the Potomac), only one section has a camera, so people bomb down at 65mph until they hit the camera section at the L'Enfant exit, which causes a sort of accordion effect where traffic is fast, grinds to a halt, then rapidly speeds up again. This is probably more dangerous than having people drive higher speeds consistently.

Install cameras along the entire stretch and speeds will remain consistent and low, which really is the desired end result. This may be less applicable to surface streets, but I think overall, a greater concentration of cameras will produce more consistent driver behavior.

That little anecdote about "turmoil" on 295 is horrifying. Perhaps we need to consider raising the requirements for getting a driver's license, or lowering the speed limit on 295 so that drivers can maintain control of their vehicles.

Linking to the Census FactFinder takes away your geographic restrictions. You can use the following link to see DC only

http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/10_1YR/DP03/0400000US11

Thanks Corey.

MM - we don't have Idaho Stop for several reasons. One is that it is not as widely supported as you might think. Until recently it probably could not have even passed the Bicycle Advisory Council. On the DC Council it would struggle to get two votes. In addition, WABA does not support it as long as DC is a contributory negligence state - and various lawyer organizations (who for some reason DC Councilmembers defer to) absolutely oppose changing the law.

So, to understand it you should watch "Force 10 from Navarone." Contributory negligence is the Dam and Idaho stop is the bridge.

Redlight cameras and tickets for just cars is not equitable.

I do not believe that equity should be a goal. Safety is the goal. How would ticketing cyclists for these kinds of infractions make us safer? Show me that, and I'll agree.

Let's not put John Townsend and Courtland Milloy in the same class.

Townsend is looking for a balance and, given who he represents, understandably prefers bicycle safety infrastructure that does not take away car infrastructure (he endorsed the R4-11 signs because they promote better road sharing which the law already provides). WABA will never support conversion of a bikeable shoulder to a general travel lane along a state highway, for the same reason that Townsend will not support conversion of a travel lane to a bike lane. Of course AAA will not endorse widespread use of of speed cameras, but pay attention to when they howl and then they merely oppose. There is a combination of increased camera density and decreased fine that AAA will grudgingly accept.

Milloy is in a different class. My only question is whether reaching out to him is worthwhile so that his opinions are fact-based, or if the entertainment value of his poorly informed commentary is more valuable. While Chris Core will never be a WABA spokesman, efforts to communicate with him have tended to reduce the number of poorly informed statements

CM's column makes a poor case against speed cameras. With that said, I would like to see the data showing speed cameras are improving safety or reducing speed in anywhere aside from where the speed cameras are located.

I find this argument bunk: "If "killing the feeling" is what it takes to avoid killing our neighbors, that seems like a fair trade to me." You could easily expand this to say place onboard GPS' on cars that restrict the ability to accelerate past a particular road's speed limit. Or, prohibit the sale of alcohol ebcause it leads to abusive and dangerous situations. Or, require bicycle registration and licensure to ensure people know how to properly pass.

Thanks, but I realize that some choices in my life carry consequences and cycling/cycle commuting come with some risks. Sure I support very stiff penalties for those hit-and-run and related type of incidents. I just don't want to give up every choice in my life because the government says it's safer for all: never smoke a cigar, never buzz through a stop sign on my bicycle that's clear there is no one within miles of, never have a big soda, etc.

And if you don't think the slippery slope is possible in places like Maryland, then I only suggest you google Martin O'Malley slots to see the promises that Marylanders would never face the choice of full casinos. Enforcement of road laws, yes, but automated enforcement, particularly that driven by revenue, eh, no thanks because I know where it leads.

I still don't see how you can respond to the argument of "not one camera is legitimate until we are in the utopia of perfect speed limits for every road.". That's usually what it comes down to. Someone likes the idea of cameras just not on the road that they know they typically speed on. So they'd rather just change the speed limit to suit them.

I would like to see the data showing speed cameras are improving safety or reducing speed in anywhere aside from where the speed cameras are located.

Why would there need to be that data. Isn't making things safer only near cameras enough?

You could easily expand this to say place onboard GPS' on cars that restrict the ability to accelerate past a particular road's speed limit.

I'm not sure that follows, but regardless, what would be wrong with that?

Or, prohibit the sale of alcohol because it leads to abusive and dangerous situations.

We could and we did. But this really doesn't follow. Buying alcohol is currently legal and speeding is not. So they're very different. We're also not making it illegal to enjoy driving, it's just appears to be a byproduct for some. Some people really enjoy beating their wife, but I don't feel bad about taking that feeling away from them.

Or, require bicycle registration and licensure to ensure people know how to properly pass.

Again, doesn't follow. The analogy is "Doing A takes away the joy of breaking the law." How would bicycle registration take away the joy of breaking the law?

I just don't want to give up every choice in my life because the government says it's safer for all

This is ALREADY illegal. CM is not saying that it shouldn't be. He's saying that the law should not be enforced. You're talking about things that are not illegal. Do you see how that's different?

Furthermore, while God may want you to have the freedom to sin even though he opposses the sin, I'm not sure I do. If there were a machine I could turn on that would remove people's freedom to murder or rape or beat children, would I? Yes. Yes I would. If we make robot cars that make unsafe driving impossible - thereby removing the freedom that Milloy seems to relish - would I support making them mandatory (assuming the cost isn't prohibitive)? Probably. I don't think the freedom to commit crime is the freedom most people support.

no thanks because I know where it leads

I don't. Where is that?

Washcycle,

I enjoy reading your analysis of the various car-centric diatribes but merely posting them here is just preaching to the choir.

Do you also submit these counter arguments to the publications either as letters to the editor or posting them in the comments section?

I apologize in advance if you have already done so with Milloy's column but I can't bring myself to read the comments. I suspect if I did I would so hate everything in the world I would feel compelled to go out an strangle a puppy.

Sometimes I dig into the comments, but others usually cover what I would say. I occasionally write LTTE, but they only allow you to have one every 6 months.

Arguments against speed cameras? (1) Due process. Owner of the car pays a fine with no real recourse even if not driver or even if obviously a malfunction. The fine is enough to hurt but not enough to make it worth fighting. (2) The cameras are usually contracted out to a private company for a percentage of the take. Company has motivation to have overly-sensitive cameras. Seen lots of data that shows yellow light lengths dropping from 5 sec avg to 3 sec avg on lights with cameras.

" Isn't making things safer only near cameras enough?"
Not if the cameras make people speed elsewhere, which has been demonstrated. Is there a net improvement in driver behavior? I assume there is, but would like to see a study. Certainly there are still a lot of d-bags out there despite cameras and cops.

Courtland is doing his job - driving up readership on the Post web site, and thus driving up ad revenue, by writing inflamatory things. If folks would stop linking to his writing every time he pens something designed to irritate he'd be in less demand at the Post.

@Anonzmous: Can you clarify the due process argument? How are speed cameras any different from parking tickets or, for that matter, zoning violations or asset forfeiture when naughty things are done with your property? Are people personally liable for camera speeding tickets, or is it more like parking tickets where the most the city can do is seize and/or refuse to register the vehicle?

Do you have a due process argument against seizing a vehicle that violates the law?

Only 41% of DC residents do so. Milloy is wrong too.

Right, but see Milloy doesn't live in DC anymore. He's upset that the DC government is actually responsive to the desires of those who live here. If he still lived here, he'd have a say. He doesn't, so he doesn't. You'd think he would've understood that was part of the deal when he packed up, abandoned the city, and moved his tax money out to Maryland.

SJE - Cameras don't make people speed. People make people speed.

Regarding cyclists not getting tickets...just enact an "Idaho stop" law and the argument largely goes away. I cannot figure out why DC hasn't done this yet.

Because what drives your average motorist red with rage is not that cyclists don't stop at lights--it's that by not stopping, the cyclist is able to get ahead of the motorist again. It's fundamentally about motorists wanting to be able to drive faster and not being able to.

Of course, the reason they can't is because of general auto congestion, but they can't really blame "drivers" now can they?

In order to cast themselves in the role of victim, they need to weave elaborate scenarios wherein a scofflaw cyclist blows through a red light without looking, and a brave fuel oil truck driver somehow manages to avoid him, but plows into a school bus, resulting in carnage.

It could happen!

(Meanwhile actual drivers are actually killing and maiming scores of people every day.)

I bet he got a ticket and that is the true "inspiration" for his rant.

Neil B: I agree that people make people speed. But if the argument is that camera's make us safer, some evidence would be good.

I agree with Oboe: it seems like Milloy is just pissed that things aren't going his way. He acted the same when voters elected Fenty. Milloy is the old guy sitting on the porch complaining about how things were better back in the day, except the Post gives him a colum.

Mr. Milloy should participate in the Ride for Natasha out in Cheverly/Lanham on September 22nd -- he can talk with lots of his neighbors about whether it's a good idea to encourage or prosecute speeding.

BTW, when I've driven it, 295 in NE DC seems much saner, smoother, and much less prone to crashes and backups, since the cameras went in. It was a drag race/complete stop setup before. Granted, I don't drive it very often, so maybe I'm wrong.

WC, you asked where do I think it leads and you answered my question for me. To folks mandating everything in the name of safety including, as you noted, self-driving cars.

As for why would I ask for safety data? The same reason you study anything, to see if it's actually effective. I mean, what if another mechanism is more effective--shouldn't we pursue that instead in the interest of safety?

Speeding is most certainly illegal. The due process point has more than just the literal purpose. There was significant testimony in Maryland several years back. In fact one state senator's car was stolen and the perpetrators proceeded to rack up tickets in DC (red light cameras at the time). He submitted the police report in writing to the city claiming he was not responsible and they originally rejected it. That sounds silly, but for a while the only due process someone had to fight the ticket was by mail.

As for the alcohol example cited, it was precisely the point that 'in the name of safety' can be taken too far. Thankfully folks eventually realized it. Cops should be pulling over speeders, cracking down on drunk drivers, and catching the aholes who hit and run against cyclists, but I don't want a camera at every corner to monitor "my safety."

including, as you noted, self-driving cars.

I'm OK with that.

As for why would I ask for safety data?

Perhaps I wasn't clear. My question is, if we know that the cameras make things safer near the cameras, why would it matter what happens elsewhere. Someone gave an answer, but I suspect it would be very difficult to determine the effect of a red light camera on an intersection 8 blocks away.

The due process point has more than just the literal purpose.

This is an argument that the enforcement adjudication be done better, not that we not have cameras at all.

Cops should be pulling over speeders

Considering the high costs of this strategy, why is this superior. You support the law and think it should be enforced, but believe it should be enforced inefficiently. That doesn't make sense to me.

"Regarding cyclists not getting tickets...just enact an "Idaho stop" law and the argument largely goes away. I cannot figure out why DC hasn't done this yet."

Many cyclists who are guilty of running stop signs would still be guilty if an Idaho stop law was enacted due to many of them not giving the right of way. This wouldn't do anything to the ticket argument. If anything, it would just give fuel to the scofflaws, making them believe an Idaho stop law always give them the right of way.

"I do not believe that equity should be a goal. Safety is the goal. How would ticketing cyclists for these kinds of infractions make us safer? Show me that, and I'll agree."

Equity (another way of saying fairness) is important because it increases buy-in by a wide spectrum of social actors. When laws and their enforcement are perceived as fair, people tend to follow them.

This is why we have juries, despite all of their drawbacks.

guez, that's probably true, but then "equity" is at best the means to the goal, not the goal itself.

Besides, what is "fair" is very difficult to agree on. Pick 5 people at random and ask them how to structure our tax system so that it is "fair" and you'll get 5 different answers. That's why it is a lousy goal.

I'll be more impressed with automated traffic enforcement when they start using it to enforce the hand-held cell phone ban and the 3-foot passing rule in MD.

Yes, I know the technology probably doesn't exist to do those things but it seems to me that ATE is being used to reduce cops on patrol who could actually enforce these rules which seem to be more for show and symbolic purposes than to actually improve safety for cyclists and other motorists who don't violate these rules.

Washcycle,

No one except you ever said that equity should be a goal. It is a principle. And an important one.

Now that I think of it, very little of what is promoted on this blog is a "goal." Bike paths, changes in the law, smart planning, etc. etc. etc.: none of these things are goals. They are all means to the common good. Like fairness.

No one except you ever said that equity should be a goal.

In my opinion, Bob did. Perhaps you read it differently.

Bike paths, changes in the law, smart planning, etc. etc. etc.: none of these things are goals. They are all means to the common good.

Well I would call them means towards safer, cleaner, healthier transportation. And changing transporation in that way is a goal. If Bob thinks equity is the means to some other goal, he didn't make that clear to me. It seemed that he though thinks should be equitable because they should be.

Just once. Just once I would like to see you chime in here to NOT disagree with me and to NOT try to make me look wrong. Just once.

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