I wrote a longer post here, https://hackernoon.com/cameras-as-traffic-cops-99a85513e1e0
I also called in to Ask the Mayor this morning to discuss. He was not happy
One of the things the mayor said interested me:
> If someone's blocking [a bike lane] for thirty seconds while they get their groceries or drop their kid off, I don't think they should get a ticket for that.
Do you agree? And do you have any data on how much of the blocking going on is A) the "thirty second dropoff", B) driving in the lane, and C) stopping and parking for any period of time?
Lastly, I'll add that as a walker in NYC (no car, no bike), I have no fear of being struck by cars. I fear bikes. I rarely see bikes obey traffic laws at all, and have frequently come 1-2 feed away from being side-swiped while a bicycle blows through a red light. Since you're so passionate about this I'm sure you follow traffic laws, but maybe you'll be inspired to take a look at bike behavior too!
I've had friends end up going through the rear windshields of cars, getting doored, etc here in Seattle, so even though I don't bike, I make a point to go and harass people illegally parked in bike lanes (which is really common north of the ship canal).
What if a bike can't stop in time coming down the hill? They're going to likely get horribly injured due to your illegal parking job. The bike lane is for bikes exclusively, even in the suburbs.
Any vehicle on the road has a legal obligation to operate their vehicle safely and lawfully — that means a bike ought never be unable to stop in time.
Some person could get horribly injured due to a bicyclist failing to control speed.
Would you make the same argument about leaving unmarked construction equipment behind blind curves on the freeway?
Blocking or unexpectedly merging into downhill bike lanes in the city is similarly bad.
Well, not necessarily.
If your reflexes are good enough, and your brakes are good enough, and your tires are good enough, that you can safely stop a bike going 20mph on a wet downhill section, then yes; you are still in control of your vehicle and operating at a safe speed. No legal problems there.
But maybe your reflexes aren't that good because you haven't had coffee yet. Or maybe your brakes are worn down. Or maybe you're on crazy thin road tires that have effectively no traction going downhill in the rain. Or some combination of all three.
The point being, if it's not physically possible for you to stop that bike in whatever time interval is required, are you really operating that vehicle safely? Probably not.
And to the extent that you're legally required to operate at a safe speed and maintain control of your vehicle, your behavior would no longer be "perfectly legal."
So 20 mph + downhill + wet roads may very well be illegal for some combinations of cyclist and bicycle but not others. It seems premature to declare that perfectly legal in all cases.
I have. For close on fourty years of much cycling and driving. Which may be a contributing factor in my never having suffered an accident.
I agree with the arguments about moving cars pulling into the bike lane, doors opening, etc, BUT if you can't avoid smashing your bike into a parked car with enough force to go through the rear window, then you definitely aren't skilled or responsible enough to be riding in the city.
It would be instructive if more people took motorcycle safety training. They really emphasized that you should ride as though there could be a dropped load of concrete, boulder, or pothole around every corner, every blind hill, or every car, and stop accordingly.
I think this is mostly because the consequence of hitting debris is much more likely to be fatal on a motorcycle, but it would be good advice for anyone, really.
Second, a huge part of safely operating any vehicle in an environment (especially a chaotic one you share with cars, bikes, and pedestrians) is awareness of your surroundings and the ability to avoid collisions. This is seriously driving / biking 101.
If you are zooming around on your bike and just thinking "hope no objects / people / cars are sitting stationary in my way because there's no way I can stop and I'll definitely hit them", then you're a dangerous menace.
But I think the problem becomes very clear if you allow another car to pull up next to the one in the bike lane and stop in the middle of the lane to berate the first car. Just for 30 seconds or so. If somebody rear-ended that car, the person in the moving vehicle should get a ticket. But what should be the consequence to the person stopped in the middle of the lane? Would the mayor be so casual to "30 second" stops if car lanes were blocked by parked cars 40% of the time?
A post elsewhere hear said it already, but it’s my experience too: cyclist break laws constantly, due to apparent feeling of entitlement to keep moving fast, regardless of the traffic, lights etc. the thought of just stopping safely for a few seconds didn’t even cross your mind in the situation.
Note that I am not sympathetic to the driver of the car. They probably deserve criticism, but not blame for your slide. I know that you want to blame somebody that is not yourself. That's human. But when any pedestrian, bike, car, airplane, drone, skateboard, etc. runs into a stationary pedestrian, bike, car, airplane, drone, skateboard, house, fence, animal, etc. it is almost certainly the fault of the moving object's operator.
In your case, you failed to change lanes safely. It sounds like you really blame the lane design for having a bevel between lanes. It's interesting to me that the bevel probably has almost zero effect on cars/trucks but a significant effect on bikes. That seems like a bike-hostile design. The fact that it is only two feet wide seems questionable to me. A slow-moving bike would also encourage you to change lanes, navigating the bevel twice.
I agree with the bike hostile design part. Navigating the bevel downwards is not a problem. Navigating it upwards at a steep angle of attack is.
Motor vehicle drivers don't have to worry much about being doored, as they're way more visible and it isn't life-threatening for them if it does happen. The person opening the door is way more likely to be injured in such a scenario than the driver of the oncoming vehicle.
Also, if we biked the same way we drove cars, that is, in the middle of a full lane, then we wouldn't be at risk of being doored either. I do that on occasion as necessary, but you would not believe how furious drivers get when they're stuck behind a cyclist going much slower than them that they cannot pass.
How about this -- You can make it the cyclists' fault if and only if you can get all drivers to be OK with cyclists taking full lanes of traffic, away from all car doors. This will likely reduce the max speed of vehicle traffic to around 12 mph.
That's exactly how I ride, it's called the primary position and in the uk it's what the government recommend.
Unless they're going to murder you I suspect you're still safer.
The other day I was riding down a normal surface street in Seattle and a parked late model Camaro with black windows started its engine and pulled out from the curb in a few seconds. There was no angle that would have allowed me to see if this car was occupied.
I was able to stop in time and avoid an accident but if I had not reacted I would have ended up on his roof. In your opinion was I in the wrong?
You don't sound willing to give cyclists any support when you condemn the entire group for the actions of a few and disregard legitimate threats to their safety.
I've always been willing to support cyclists but cannot ignore the staggering number of them that completely disregard traffic laws on a near constant basis. And then come online and winge about the risks TO THEM while ignoring the risks THEY impose on others. In the name of what, being able to maintain their momentum? Sure, I'd love to do the same, yet abiding by traffic laws is a bit more valuable that my selfish desires.
Downvote all you like but understand you're downvoting someone that does cycle and has a lot of respect for the challenges presented doing so in an urban environment. You're downvoting someone that favors the activity but has taken the time to point out you're being pompous assholes QUITE a lot of the time when you're out and about on two wheels.
You seem to be angry at an entire class of people which is unfair to individuals. Your bias strikes me as dangerous.
A public awareness campaign of the Dutch Reach could help a lot. https://99percentinvisible.org/article/dutch-reach-clever-wo...
As could penalties for endangering fellow road users.
On top of that almost every bike lane I have seen has had parking one side with the only way to park a car is for the car to also use the bike lane. EX: 3rd google image for bike lanes: https://bikesiliconvalley.org/wp-content/uploads/Veterans-Bl...
Going 3d with dedicated bike skyways can solve this problem, but bikes are 3rd/4th class citizens in most places because they get a relatively small fraction of overall transportation. (Cars, walking, subways or other public transit, then biking.)
How often do you experience your whole lane blocked by the content of a whole appartement?
In Stockholm where I live snow, and ice make bike lanes hard to see and also makes them inaccessible.
I really agree that you shouldn't keep a speed where you can't control your vehicle, but so common design flaw puts an unreasonable amount of responsibility on the biker compared to heavier vehicles misusing the bike lane.
As a regular biker in NYC I would agree. But there is a cultural gap that we have not bridged yet. NYC was designed for cars (as were most cities in America). The biking ecosystem has made huge strides in NYC in the last decade - from CitiBikes, to dedicated bike lanes, to the massive increase in daily bikers.
Source: researching my ancestors' addresses in NYC from 1880 onward and seeing how many of the streets from then still exist now.
(Re biking in NYC, it's great to see the changes.)
Here's an image: http://www.sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Right-Turn....
From CA directly: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/turns
> To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of the road. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn.
This is also true in Washington State. Not sure about Oregon.
Having spent some time in Cali, I very much appreciate our infrastructure up here. Lots of law and order type politics down there, but when it comes to actual issues like public health, its given nary a glance till upper middle class people are dying.
I don’t notice any complaint in your post about how cars are flying along recklessly at more than twice that speed.
Piling more anecdata into the pile, I've got two things to offer:
1. I'm worried about both; I've been almost hit by both, my wife's been dinged a bit by a car while walking.
2. As a biker, I also worry about hitting pedestrians - because they're so often blundering out into the bike lane or the street without looking. Granted, a bike is more difficult to see than a car - partially because people aren't really used to looking for them - but still.
Also, as the op pointed out, bikers are largely ignorant or disrespectful of the law. If it's a red light and a bike blows through it, is it really the pedestrians that are the problem for not watching for illegal bikes?
Similarly, for cars turning or other traffic backups, other cars have to deal with this all the time. You stop and don't hit them and wait for the road block to clear. Sometimes traffic jams happen. If you can't stop in time you are going too fast for your vehicle and conditions. Cars accept this, but I've seen dozens and dozens of bikers both not knowing the rules of the road and/or getting irate at regular traffic thinking that somehow they are more special and deserve everyone getting out of their way in a jam.
If, as a pedestrian, you dart out in front of a car or a cyclist going at legal speeds, and there isn't room to swerve to avoid you, you're going to get hit. Period. Physics is inviolable on this count. Stopping distances are what they are.
You could just set citywide speed limits of 5 mph to decrease stopping distances enough to allow vehicles to avoid darting pedestrians, or pedestrians could just not step out in front of vehicles that have the right of way.
It's really not hard to, as a pedestrian, upon reaching a road or bikeway, look for oncoming traffic and yield to it if they have the right-of-way. If you insist on stepping in front of oncoming traffic and you get hit, that's on you.
Please note that in my original comment I was talking about bicycles which do not have the right of way, because they are going through a red light while pedestrians have the walk signal.
I was quite serious when I said "I rarely see bikes obey traffic laws at all". If you live in NYC you know what I'm talking about. They fly through red lights and stop signs putting themselves and others at great risk.
Bicycles are the reason that I carefully look both directions, usually twice, even when I have the walk signal when crossing the street.
I can hear cars coming because they make a lot of road noise, bikes are ghostly quiet.
Yes pedestrians should be more vigilant.
Absolutely, and when I'm in a bike lane next to heavy pedestrian traffic, I try to be more careful. But as CydeWeys points out, Sir Newton preempts local, state and federal laws, and always has.
> bikers are largely ignorant or disrespectful of the law. If it's a red light and a bike blows through it, is it really the pedestrians that are the problem for not watching for illegal bikes?
We're just throwing around anecdata here, so I'm not going to try to argue the "No True Bikeman Would Run A Red Light"; I try not to, and I certainly don't blow through them when there are pedestrians. I also certainly do see other bikers doing that sometimes, though I also see most stop and wait, or carefully navigate the intersection.
You ”try” to follow the law? Can you understand why bikes aren’t the most loved vehicles on the road. You essentially admit to following the law when you feel like it.
You should stop at red lights and stop signs every single time — not just when you deem it prudent. If you want to treat red lights like yield signs, then you can’t complain when motorists treat bike lanes like loading zones.
I also see cyclists performing similiarly unlawful acts.
The difference from my perspective is one of those groups is totally isolated from the outside world in a 1 ton metal box. Neither is in the right, but (from experience of both) I'd much rather be hit by a cyclist.
A side point of this is it's pretty difficult for a cyclist to not notice they've hit someone and drive away, as we see fairly regularly with drivers:
The law says that pedestrians will not walk in the street except to cross it.
The law says that pedestrians will use the right side of crosswalks.
The law says that pedestrians will not cross an intersection diagonally.
The law says that pedestrians will hail cabs from the sidewalk.
Do you always follow those laws, or only when you feel like it?
Are we playing "holier than thou"? You've never jaywalked? Double-parked?
I tell you what; I'll stop going through red lights on my bike when I literally don't see another car anywhere on the road; in exchange, can you come to the funeral parlor that's across the street from me, and kindly ask their customers to stop triple-parking and forcing other cars, buses, and bicycles into oncoming traffic in order to pass?
I strongly agree that more research is warranted. I bike and walk, live in an area where bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure varies greatly, and would like to add some insight into this issue.
I have a strong preference for following traffic laws, but often don't.
In areas where the bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure is well developed, I almost always obey traffic laws. In areas with less developed infrastructure, I break them. Anecdotally, I find this to also be true of other pedestrians and cyclists.
I suspect that this is because the social contract for non-drivers is broken. That is, the implicit agreement that non-drivers will give away some of their individual freedoms for some benefits like convenience or state protection.
When the infrastructure is bad, missing, or unenforced, following traffic laws makes me less safe, and it is certainly an inconvenience. The risk of being ticketed is low, so I see no reason not to break the law.
For example, if I expect traffic to ignore crosswalks, there's not very much reason for me to walk across them. It's probably safer to cross whenever I am whenever I see a break in traffic.
Likewise, I sometimes run red lights on my bike. I do this in situations where the cross traffic is clear, and there either isn't a bike lane, or when it's blocked. This allows me to avoid merging with traffic at an intersection, which is safer for me.
Many people also break laws simply out of convenience. That makes sense. They're used to ignoring the law, and the people around them do it too.
I want to follow the law. My experience is that non-car infrastructure allows me and others to do that safely. I'd really love to see whether this is backed up by data, or it's just my own experience.
It's a small sample set, obviously.
When I see cyclists approaching a red light, I generally assume they will run it. I'm not judging this one way or the other; it's just what I've come to expect by observation. Usually they're polite and attentive enough to aim behind crossing pedestrians, but it seems that many feel they have an overriding right-of-way regardless of signage or signals.
The cyclists I've spoken to about this shrug it off as a necessary evil -- biking in NYC is difficult and dangerous, and meticulously following the traffic rules makes it more so not less so. And once you're accustomed to breaking the rules for safety's sake, you begin to do it for convenience's sake as well.
Driving in those places is like riding a bike in more rule-abiding places.
The "thirty second dropoff" is going to block at least one travel lane regardless. Why not just stay in the vehicle lane?
Do you think double parking for 30 seconds deserves a ticket?
If you think the bike lane deserves to be blocked because you "rarely see bikes obey traffic laws at all," surely the pervasive speeding, rolling stops, and failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks among drivers makes them even more deserving of having their travel lane blocked?
Or is that not what you meant? If not, why bring up cyclists' supposed failure to follow traffic laws when we're discussing drivers blocking travel lanes?
They seem to think sidewalks are for them, it's bizarre.
I think it would be a good improvement if taxis and ridesharing cars didn't care so much about dropping off people exactly at their destination but instead found a safe spot within half a block instead of blocking bike lanes and bus lanes.
The mayors opportunity to partially ignore concerns shows their incompetence towards the issue.
UPDATE I wanted to mention that I totally agree with what you had said. I do not want to blame OP for being concerned and potentially angry
But for the purposes of this conversation, the only control surface I have is my speech, and the only mayor there is is the one on the other end of the line. So, depending on what kind of result I want, I must modulate my tone.
I don't know how best to handle these things, but what I might have said is something like, "<Why it's important that bus and bike lanes not be blocked.> <What you invented, the results.> <Would the city consider investing in an invention like mine, or else what are we going to do to reduce the rate at which these blockages occur?>"
FTR, I'm totally in favor of the automatic enforcement you describe! I'd also like to mostly or entirely remove free parking from the city.
It is an old and a true maxim, that a "drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall." So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause really be a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you throw it with more than Herculean force and precision, you shall be no more be able to pierce him, than to penetrate the hard shell of a tortoise with a rye straw.
> A common expression would have us believe that ‘you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar’. But this is not true in the case of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (xkcd, 2007).
Yes, NIH cited XKCD
The link to xkcd-inspired research was useful.
I hope you can effect the political change you seek.
Calling a politician on a radio call in show is typically very unlikely to result in any actual action, on any issue, regardless of tact taken. Making the audience aware of the problem, and your distaste for the mayor's proposed solutions ,may be more useful to one's goals.
I also don't think pimping your product on a radio call in show is very tactful either.
In my experience, when politicians act defensively and cornered, they often go and make changes behind the scenes later. When you let them go without a scuffle they will view you as a non-threat. So great job, and cool project!
There is a limited budget for enforcement, and it makes sense to focus that enforcement on crimes that cause loss of life or serious harm first.
And frankly, the economy of NYC would come to a screeching halt if people couldn't double park to make quick stops. The cost of delivering anything would go up significantly to account for the cost of parking and time spent circling for legal parking at every drop-off, or the cost of all the fines.
Also, you probably should have started with, "And I understand some of this is a state issue, but can you clarify which parts are a state issue and which parts are things NYC could do?". That would have been a lot better than "And don't tell me it's a state issue!!"
Ever heard of speed traps? Jurisdictions that pay for themselves by ruining a stretch of highway. Same deal here.
I'm not saying this is a good thing. However saying that it's "limited budget for enforcement" is just wrong. It is in fact a "Revenue Generation Opportunity".
Reform & enforcement should be focused on the root of the issue: more temporary parking & to make it more expensive & less convenient to own and store a vehicle in the city.
Parking can never cover its own cost per square foot, hence why there is so little of it outside what the government provides or mandates.
Stronger enforcement via ticketing and towing is the quickest means to clear the bus lanes and bike lanes, after that adding barriers to the most illicitly parked in areas is the next step.
I don't understand the "there will never be enough" part. No one is saying there wont ever be any cases of double parking. But this discussion is about reducing its frequency to some acceptable threshold, something certainly possible. It will certainly cost, just like double parking does.
To my mind, the only tenable solution is bifurcation: vehicle traffic over here, everything that is not vehicle traffic over here. Further division within those buckets will be necessary and often contentious, but it's the initial, physical separation of motorized vehicles of a certain class (buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles) and everything else on the road (electric single-person devices, bikes, etc.) that will prove the most impactful and crucial to a changed transportation landscape.
I see that happening in my lifetime, but I'm not holding my breath. In terms of political difficulty, making life difficult for Americans in their cars is right up there with controlling their access to guns.
As another commenter has correctly pointed out, the streets and regulations are basically working the way they were engineered to work: for the benefit of cars and drivers. We need to change that but we need to be transparent about that being the goal. Ticketing people cannot be the goal and it will not have the desired effect - it will just trigger a backlash.
What I love about this story is that it represents a tipping point: it's no longer safe to assume that the person on a bike is socio-economically or politically disadvantaged in relation to the person behind the wheel of their Lexus or Mercedes.
Disclosure: not American don't know the rules there.
I would be OK with it as well but I think lots of people wouldn't. I think the only way to formalize such a system that treated all bad behavior equally in an automated fashion would result in the bikes having visible identification and I think that might be a non-starter for many.
To be clear we are talking about NYC here. If we were talking Coppenhagen or Berlin or Amsterdam yes that would be true.
I'm not confusing "frequency of message." I'm being informed by actual observation. The overwhelming majority of bicyclists in NYC do not stop at red lights or use hand signals. All you have to do is stand on the stand on the street to confirm this. And yes it's the law:
And I'm speaking as a cyclist.
Also why does bad behavior by car drivers makes bad behavior by bicyclists acceptable?
I don't. Nobody in my family does (at least when I'm in the car with them).
Don't have kids yet, eh?
Yes. I bike 6 miles but only hit 7 lights because I head over to the west side greenway.
> (...) and you witnessed nearly every other cyclist doing the same?
Your original claim was:
> The overwhelming majority of bicyclists in NYC do not stop at red lights or use hand signals.
Even if I saw, say, 40% of bicyclists blow red lights, it would still contradict your claim of an 'overwhelming majority'.
Also, I'm a bit confused now about your claims. Are you claiming that a majority of bicyclists every now and then goes through a red light? Or are you claiming that a majority of bicyclists constantly go through red lights? I disagree with the latter but could agree with the former.
Judging by historical bike registration programs, the realistic implementation of such a system would be expensive, underachieving, and offer noteworthy levels of customer disservice. No one would accept the idea of a bike registration fee over ~$5, meaning the system would not be self-funded. Identification would probably be easily counterfeited. Bikes lacking identification would be ignored.
Technically speaking, what ID would be visible to traffic cameras? A giant QR code fairing over the front wheel? Bikes come in many shapes and sizes so it's not as simple as a license plate. About the only guarantee you have is that it has at least one wheel that is at least 10" in diameter. You could maybe go with a radio beacon or something invisible but enforcement of requiring ID becomes very difficult.
Well most bicycle licensing programs ended decades ago.
I think it would be far more efficient and cheaper to implement such a system a now.
>"Technically speaking, what ID would be visible to traffic cameras?"
A small RFID transponder on the bike and an antenna mounted over the bike lane at an intersection. The antenna activates the transponder. This is similar to how the EZ-Pass toll system works in the US. Cars come in many shapes and sizes too and it works just fine .
Nobody wants this. The people won't want it. The courts won't want to deal with the all the people fighting the tickets out of spite, the police won't want to be essentially call center jockeys. Also, disconnecting the offense with the punishment is a sure way to make your enforcement system ineffective -- people will just treat it as an occasional NYCFU tax.
> But I also think that the current methods of enforcement...
You do understand that laws which are selectively enforced against the marginalized shouldn't be laws, right? It's terrible how our institutions treat them, and your solution is to treat everyone like them?
> Firstly, the camera systems should blur all faces onboard the camera before transmitting to the internet.
Anything less than 100% accuracy will never work. It's easy to brush off small error rates when you're designing the system. Not so much when every mistake is used against you by groups trying to take the cameras down. Plus people are identifiable by far more than just their face. A project at my alma mater could clock people by just their walking cadence.
> Yes, but these people could already go down and view the street
Not even the courts agree with you on that. Just because a passerby could look through my front windows doesn't mean it's not stalking if you do it 24/7. Just because someone could see me in public doesn't mean the police don't need a warrant if they want to tail me 24/7.
> People who speed and go through red lights hate those cameras.
Everyone hates those cameras. They lasted less than a year in my city.
* They reverse the presumption of innocence since the ticketed person winds up with the burden of proving that state is in error. The obvious situation being that they weren't the one driving the car.
* They were sold to the people as a safety implement and as a cash grab to municipalities.
* They didn't make the roads any safer since almost all instances of running red lights was accidental and people actually went faster on the roads to make up for the slowdown due to the cameras.
* Nobody likes being constantly watched. Especially if it's public you can glean a ton of personal information about people with 24/7 footage like this.
You're trying really hard to make fetch happen. If more than half the time the bike lane is blocked by cars then it would probably be better off as a vehicle stopping lane. It would probably free up the bus stop too. I guarantee that more people are hailing rides than riding bikes.
Car crashes are a leading cause of death in the US. Speeding a mere 5mph over in NYC can mean the difference between a lethal collision and survivable one. Underfunding of police departments where they can't enforce the law is a bug, not a feature. If the law is unjust or the punishment too severe, then that's what needs addressing no?
I find those opposed to traffic cameras are often also ones that break the law as a matter of routine and daily habit. Getting a ticket is not an "oops", it's "a cop happened to be nearby this time". Is it difficult to admit the necessity of laws like stopping at red lights or stop signs?
If there are problems in the program's implementation (e.g. cutting yellow times) or corruption (kickbacks), that is not the fault of traffic cameras. It's a problem with the local government.
Lastly, how do you feel about driverless cars? Automation would surely save lives but would presumably burden car users by following the law all the time as well. Granted, attempting to evade compliance would simply be impossible, not imposed by a fine.
To start off with, the majority of households in New York City do not own cars. New York has been consistently electing anti-car culture politicians for almost two decades now. And New York has a sizable contingent of people actively demanding red light cameras and speed cameras. Not to mention that New York already effectively has a surveillance network anyways, and yet that doesn't seem to fall afoul of the existing laws and rights.
If the laws are so terrible than they can be repealed. But the solution is to not stop enforcement of laws on the books in total.
The whole system relies on the honor system, so honest people pay and dishonest scofflaws don't. Yay!
Source: I ran a red light and got a picture of myself in the mail
You can always directly fight the ticket too. I can't tell how far it is from legal graft... But I did avail myself of it, it would be dumb not to as the 3x cost for a ticket was still 1/2 what you'd get dinged by the insurance for the original ticket.
1. A video of the car committing the infraction
2. A photograph of the car's license plate
3. A photograph aimed at the driver's seat, capturing the face of the driver of the car
While you can try to argue the photo of the driver is too blurry or unclear to serve as evidence, it's not as simple as saying "wasn't me". Also, even if you manage it, it's not enough to just say "wasn't me" -- you also will need to provide the name of the person you allege was driving.
What are you suggesting here, that we just shouldn't have traffic safety laws at all? Anyone can go at any speed, in any lane or direction, and ignore traffic signals at whim?
The solution is to stop selectively enforcing laws, not to get rid of them entirely. Traffic safety laws have very good purpose that is in the public's interest.
You get a live witness, video footage and only enforcing it when a bus needs that space.
It works too, uber drivers do not like picking up people in bus stops.
You could extended it to citizen cyclists too with some political controversy.
I’d rather cyclists continue to be annoyed than everyone suffer under that.
Some rough napkin calculations:
Number of cyclists : 786,000
Number of vehicles : 263,000,000
Does 99.8% of people not count as everyone in a discussion like this?
If you could make a change that improved the daily lives of 99% of people wouldn't that be the easiest policy decision in your life?
In New York, only 25% of people drive to work, and in Manhattan it's 5%. Why do they get free rein to block the single lane allotted for 95% of people, in addition to the two-four lanes that they are allotted?
I'm not particularly biased towards cars or anything, you could remove the bike lane to make room for bigger sidewalks and have a positive effect since way more people are walking than either driving or biking in Manhattan.
People use the bike lane as a stopping lane because nobody is in it. If there was actual bike traffic this problem wouldn't exist.
And the total number of people is absolutely the right denominator here, as publicly owned land should be allocated for the greatest possible good of all. You're assuming your conclusion by claiming that vast swaths of public land should be dedicated to drivers alone, and not to the rest of the majority of people who do not drive.
You know what every single person who takes the subway also does? Walks. On average, many blocks, on both ends of their trip. You know what these people will benefit from? More sidewalk space in congested areas. More traffic calming measures, slower vehicles, and safer crossings.
My claim is that bike lanes are an inefficient use of space because they are underutilized and would be better served either for vehicles or pedestrians since they make up all but a tiny percentage of commuters.
If you're going to do all of that traffic calming you probably should just have the bikes use the roads since it'll be safer for them and the speed differential be lower.
And I do agree with getting rid of many of the cars, and especially all that free public parking. You could easily have wider sidewalks and and bike lanes everywhere if you eliminated a side of parking on every road. As it is now over half the total road surface is allocated to parking, most of it free, which is just absurd.
Given that most people in Manhattan do not drive, it makes sense to prioritize non-drivers over drivers.
"About 86,000 adult New Yorkers, 2.5% of all commuting residents, usually bike to work or school" 
In spring 2017, the number of people who have been cycling within the last 12 months amounted to 66.21 million. [Source](https://www.statista.com/statistics/227415/number-of-cyclist...). Given that some people own two vehicles, I think you'll find similar numbers for people who own cars and bicycles.
And part of the reason people don't cycle to work is that there aren't safe cycle routes to their work. If you build your infrastructure for cars it forces peoples hand. The Netherlands has extensive cycle friendly roads and adoption is much higher.
Everyone has the option to obey the law!
Also not envisioned while writing the laws was a wish for some people to break the law and get away with it. They weren't hoping for partial enforcement, laws are written to communicate the standards under the hope that all people will abide. Enforcement was never intended to be less than perfect, it has always been to do as much as is practical. New technology is making it more practical, but isn't changing anyone's intent. There is no sacred amount of precision or completeness in ticketing that ought to be preserved in the face of improved ability to enforce laws.
I'm also hopeful that self-driving cars, and more bike support, and other changes to transportation, make this issue (and it's enforcement) disappear.
Speed limits are also based in large part on the 85th percentile speed of actual traffic, which presumes 15% of drivers are breaking the law.
So no...I don't believe absolute traffic enforcement was ever envisioned, and I don't recall ever hearing of a politician running on that platform.
Lest you believe I'm a law breaker looking for leniency, in over 20 years of driving I've never received a moving violation.
What about this one:
"Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study stated that fatal crashes from red light runners increased by 30 percent per capita after cities turned off their red-light camera programs."
> Speed limits are also based in large part on the 85th percentile speed of actual traffic, which presumes 15% of drivers are breaking the law.
It's a misleading assumption to suggest that the way speed limits are determined actually implies a design intent to retain a 15% minority of law breakers. The stated and explicit intent of posting the speed limit is to set the maximum, and for nobody to exceed the maximum.
Also: "The speed limit is commonly set at or below the 85th percentile operating speed (being the speed which no more than 15% of traffic is exceeding) and in the US is frequently set 4 to 8 mph (6 to 13 km/h) below that speed." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limit#Maximum_speed_limi...)
> So no...I don't believe absolute traffic enforcement was ever envisioned
It doesn't matter what was envisioned. We don't need to preserve what was envisioned.
> in over 20 years of driving I've never received a moving violation.
That's great! I would be more impressed if you hadn't done any speeding or run any red lights in 20 years. (I can't claim that, though I also haven't had any tickets in 20 years.)
I see a lot of speed limits that are woefully out of date and/or very different from the 85th percentile speed on any one motorway.
> It doesn't matter what was envisioned. We don't need to preserve what was envisioned.
Then we should just ditch the whole speed limit concept. You should be punished for variance from 85th percentile speed on a motorway in either direction. Too slow or too fast are both dangerous
The majority of red light tickets are for people not coming to a complete stop before turning right on red. Quite often, the non-turn lanes aren't even instrumented because it's not profitable.
There's also the issue that red light camera vendors encourage shortening the yellow light, which increases revenue and harms safety.
Adding in the problems of private vendors commercializing law enforcement wasn't on my mind, but is a very good point. I would hope that, despite any pressure to shorten the yellow light, laws and safety advocates would prevent that from getting out of hand.
What is currently most out of hand between unsafe driving and unreasonable enforcement revenue, is clearly unsafe driving. So even if enforcement isn't perfect, I still think a correction towards enforcement is a good thing on the whole. I hate driving because of how crazy unsafe large numbers of people will be for really marginal benefits. The wish more more enforcement crosses my mind almost every day.
And, again, we can easily defeat any evil government revenue enforcement schemes by simply following the laws we should have been following all along.
"A Tribune-sponsored study of the red-light program in 2014 found that nearly 40 percent of the intersections equipped with the cameras are likely making the streets more dangerous. The study found that the cameras caused a 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes, yet provided no safety benefit at intersections that never had a problem with right-angle crashes in the first place."
I want self-driving cars and other mass transport to eliminate the need for enforcement completely.
I have to be honest though, the stuff you're throwing at me is tingling my spidey sense just a little. These quotes are stated in a way that sounds convincing and bad, but fails under math scrutiny.
The quote you picked left out the 15% improvement in angle crashes they measured (* cited in the bigthink article below).
You can have 40% of intersections with a 1% increase in crashes, and also have 60% of intersections with a 1% decrease in crashes, and you have an overall slight reduction.
These resources seem level headed:
And these feel like fluff, and even propaganda:
I don’t think we’ll agree on this issue, but I understand your arguments and they are reasonable.
Hey thanks for saying that. I can return the favor, you’ve been very reasonable too. I don’t disagree that red light camers specifically might have some tradeoffs, and maybe it’s true they’re a net negative right now, I don’t know.
As far as the safety goes, have we actually given it enough time? Would it change anything for you if we fast forward into the future, and imagine that all intersections have cameras and everyone expects them? Today’s trade off between T-bones and rear-ends when there are cameras is presumably caused by people not expecting a camera and then realizing fairly late that they might get a ticket. Is it reasonable to assume that if cameras were everywhere, the rear-enders would eventually settle at a lower rate?
I’m a careful driver, wealthy enough to pay the fines without a care, so it wouldn’t really affect me. Neither would congestion tolls, or the numerous other solutions involving regressive taxes or fines. Less traffic would be worth the cost...I find myself often wishing they’d just triple tolls and gas taxes so my commute would be shorter. Not proud of those thoughts.
TBH, I would have agreed with you a few years ago, but lately my perspective has shifted. I don’t wish to muddle the safety argument with inequality, but it is part of my aversion.
Because of financial incentives for municipalities, the laws tend to stick that way, even when law makers want to make distinctions in red light camera types. And it hurts the poor the most.
See more red light camera bullshit here: http://www.highwayrobbery.net/
And it takes all of 2 seconds to circumvent... by not rolling through. Get a ticket only once, and you'd probably learn your lesson and never do it again. You always have the power to avoid that ticket.
> See more red light camera bullshit here: http://www.highwayrobbery.net/
No, thank you. I sense bias and propaganda in the URL name.
This feels the same as the people who claim there's a conspiracy and that bicycle helmets don't increase safety, or that requiring motorcycle helmets is abuse of government power.
As a citizen who wants peace and safety for myself and my family, I am in favor of more speed limit and red light enforcement, among the many other apparently controversial things that I'm happy to pay a little bit of tax for, and/or happy that the government can make some revenue on.
I can ask you the same. Do you care about data? Your question about data follows a link to highwayrobbery.net, which is using FUD and inflammatory language, and I would bet some misleading characterizations of "data" to rile people up over this issue.
If the "data" is being politicized and falsely presented, if people are actually mad about a perceived tax or government control, and not about safety, do you consider that data that matters?
The entire structure of penalties was built on the assumption that people would usually get away with infractions. One can speed for years only occasionally having a ticket, but absolute enforcement would make the simplest regular trip have an extreme cost (or jam traffic like never seen before), and most peole would accumulate enough points to lose their license within 20 miles...
With absolute enforcement and penalties for every infraction, the entire set of penalties would need to be reworked. Maybe something like 1c/mph-minute over the limit. Or $1 for blocking a bike lane for 5 min.
Also, wanted to applaud and state that I wholeheartedly agree with your recommendations for both installing cameras everywhere for this purpose, but also for advocating for the faces to be blurred and for the data to be available to the public. As I see it, the surveillance state is here to stay, and thus our efforts are better geared towards pushing for equiveillance rather than fighting against inevitable surveillance: https://blogs.commons.georgetown.edu/isdyahoofellow/david-br...
Maybe try to reclaim some of the street parking spots by making them 5-10 minute stop only. Given the ratio of street parking to population that's probably not enough. Enforcement would be difficult too. It seems the crux of the issue is that there are vehicles that need to make short stops at establishments and cant afford to spend an hour finding a legitimate parking spot each time. The only reasonable option now is to park illegally and try to be quicker than the cops.
Enforcement is the same as any other priority parking spot - if the police find your unattended car, they'll ticket and tow.
And most people seem pretty honest about it. It's easier to park somewhere else if you're eating or working in your car. And less risky (cheaper) to park in a garage if you'll be a while.
The Pacific Northwest in general seems to have a more communal culture (moreso Oregon than Western Washington). But NYC.... Dear lord.
With real-time tracking of bus and delivery vehicle locations, I wonder if it would be feasible to work out a software solution that allows delivery vehicles official, coordinated access to the unused time slices. Much like an automated version of what air traffic controllers do for runways and taxiways.
So for example, when a UPS truck enters a neighborhood where it needs needs to deliver 3 packages, the UPS routing software could query the transit agency software telling it the 3 locations, and it could respond with time ranges that they're available. Bus #123 will be at stop #456 at 2:33pm, and that stop won't be needed by another bus until 2:44pm, so we can reserve the time slot 2:35pm-2:42pm for you to make your delivery.
The city only needs to publish the ETA for the next bus on each stop, information that bus riders would also find extremely useful.
Busses get slowed down for any number of reasons. Bus schedules are basically fantasies, as any big city resident can tell you. There are too many things that can slow a bus down. Stop lights, accidents, securing wheelchairs, delivery vehicles blocking your lane, construction, police activity, congestion, the guy who gets on and discovers he doesn't have bus fare and wants to argue about it, and on and on and on.
I used to take the bus every day in Prague (Czech Republic) for about 6 years. It was almost always on schedule in both the morning and afternoon.
I don't know anywhere near enough to argue why in general. But not having drivers sell tickets, and route planning certainly help. For example, shorter routes are guaranteed to reduce variance. But I'm not sure what the downsides are.
It gets even more interesting when you add transport of the bus: the Seattle (King County) Metro also serves Vashon Island, so some of the buses travel on ferries with their associated delays and peculiarities.
It always stings to see the bus approach early such that I have to run for it, only to then have it wait for 5 minutes at the time stop 2 stops later.
I also do really like how Seattle has that dedicated busway twice a day. It's one of the avenues downtown right?
Edit: another thing that certainly helps is that most transit lines do not go through the typically congested streets (eg. no daytime public transit goes through the Magistrala in city center) and if they do they are separated (eg. Jecna).
That's easy! Even more with the proposed automatic system.
This information already is collected and available by text.
Yes, this is true. Here in Chicago, it is only illegal to block a bus stop if it is interfering with a bus . I would imagine that this is the case in NYC as well.
I'm not sure why you have to be sarcastic saying this? Toronto is experimenting with this idea by stripping parking spots on some of the most high traffic routes... and exchanging it for taxi/delivery/bike/pedestrian spaces/wider streetcar pick up spots...
It's a real problem that isn't going away. Delivery is getting more and more popular every month throughout North America, not only for traditional ecommerce but also groceries and fast food. Same with 'fleet-based' car systems such as Uber/Lyft (which are better for cities/the environment than owning cars) which will be massively increasing in scale with self-driving cars.
So, why shouldn't we design infrastructure for them as much as bikes?
I not sure why the promotion of bike (lanes) has to always be at the detriment of high demand short-term parking. If anything the only long-term losers should be private car spots, but only because other means have reached higher demand and utility.
But even then that's not exactly an unsolvable problem either absent restrictive municipal policy and that prevent the development of underground parking.
In this case it trickled down to the buses and bikers. They pay for it in longer more dangerous commutes
The streets are now lined with parked cars, which means that police, taxis, contractors, and delivery vehicles double-park, often blocking bike lanes and bus lanes.
No one is arguing against contractor and delivery vehicles needing space; car free places such as campus quads or (say) Vernazza, Italy allow "special purpose" vehicles in.
I bet in most places these things are measured, and if they aren't it could be simple to measure. LA has parking meters that take credit card payments. You can extrapolate parking spot availability from that. Obviously I'm ignoring the cost of adding credit card parking meters where there aren't, but it proves my point that it could be simple
Choosing a price doesn't have to be complex either. Every quarter raise the price until the desired free space is available
Every single street parking meter I have ever seen has working hours (including holidays) and constant price to pay. There's no price increase in certain hours of the day or that sort of thing.
The price adjustment would be changing that constant price per quarter of the year.
So you don't get there early in the day or hog a spot. Every one pays the same regardless of what time they want the spot during the working hours
London has red-routes, where you absolutely can't park.
There are a lot fewer parking spaces, and a congestion charge, along with lots more bus lanes... this didn't happen all at once though, but over many years.
The parking lane has already been pushed out to make room for a dedicated biking lane. Proposing another dedicated lane on top of this is not a "simple" solution.