You are not logged in.

#1 2008-07-31 00:33:43

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

According to this article ( http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=8754540 ), 400 drivers have been documented running red lights by the two intersection cameras that have been installed. The system mails out notices, but doesn't issue a ticket that goes against the offenders' driving records. Most of the notices have received no response from the drivers.

Seth

Offline

#2 2008-07-31 07:56:53

doughead
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 37

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

This will be another excuse to put readily visible license tags on bicycles or maybe a big easily read number on your forehead or the back of your shirt or wherever these contraptions read such things.

Offline

#3 2008-07-31 08:30:35

Adriel
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 91

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

or on your mandatory helmet.  (You need the helmet so we can read your license).

Apparently cars do indeed run red lights the way that bicycles do.

Offline

#4 2008-08-04 16:21:47

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

No, Adriel, if cars really ran red lights the way bicycles do, you'd hear about dozens of people dying in Austin every single day from automobile accidents. What these cameras are catching is what's colloquially called "running the orange", which both cyclists and motorists do frequently (more frequently than I would like). The population that runs a "stale red" is almost universally cyclist, despite there being a far greater proportion of motorists in the general population.

Offline

#5 2008-08-05 15:26:03

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

So why don't we hear about dozens of cyclists dying every day from running red lights?

It's because most cyclists won't run a red light until they've made sure they're not going to get hit.  Motorists are the same -- they don't want to mess up their car either.

Also, the tickets aren't being given out when the light turns red while you're in the intersection.  From their FAQ  --

Q. What is red light running?
A. A violation occurs when a motorist enters an intersection after the signal light has turned red.

Cyclists may run red lights a higher percentage of the time, but obviously cars do it plenty too.

Offline

#6 2008-08-13 21:26:15

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

dougmc, the Q/A you posted would apply to "running the orange".

Offline

#7 2008-08-15 21:07:26

MichaelBluejay
Webmaster
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,207
Website

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

What these cameras are catching is what's colloquially called "running the orange"

I'm just wondering, has anyone here ever heard anyone besides Mike Dahmus "colloquially" using that phrase?

Offline

#8 2008-08-15 22:32:43

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

I've been googling for it, and it seems like he's pretty much the only one who uses it to mean `running through a freshly changed red light'.  (At least that's what I assume the meaning is.)  If other people use the term like that, they don't seem to do so often, at least not online.

There's a few people down under who use the term -- but apparently the `warning' light there is orange, and so `running an orange' means running through the orange/yellow light and getting caught by a red light in the middle of the intersection.

Offline

#9 2008-08-16 08:45:46

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

Doug, I didn't make up the phrase - I picked it up from others who were talking about it in the context of red light cameras. It's certainly possible the multiple folks I picked it up from themselves got it from Australia, but it's irrelevant: it is a good way to describe the light that's just changed to red. The fact that so many in this forum (and Librik's list) continue to pretend that it's the same thing as running the middle of a red (the 'stale' red) shows how willfully deluded those folks are.

I'd be happy to go back to using "fresh red" versus "stale red" if you guys will admit that cyclists are 90-99% of the offenders in running a "stale red", while both groups basically run "fresh red"s in roughly equal proportion. Or if you can even understand the difference between the two actions and not be disingenuous about it.

Aha: found where I must have picked it up: rec.bicycles.soc (one example here: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.bicy … 6a110f1d1)

Last edited by m1ek (2008-08-16 08:49:33)

Offline

#10 2008-08-16 10:24:13

tomwald
Moderator
From: 78722
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 288

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

m1ek wrote:

"fresh red" versus "stale red"

§ 544.007.  TRAFFIC-CONTROL SIGNALS IN GENERAL.  (a)  A traffic-control signal displaying different colored lights or colored lighted arrows successively or in combination may display only green, yellow, or red and applies to operators of vehicles as provided by this section.
    (b)  An operator of a vehicle facing a circular green signal may proceed straight or turn right or left unless a sign prohibits the turn.  The operator shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully in the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk when the signal is exhibited.
    (c)  An operator of a vehicle facing a green arrow signal, displayed alone or with another signal, may cautiously enter the intersection to move in the direction permitted by the arrow or other indication shown simultaneously.  The operator shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
    (d)  An operator of a vehicle facing only a steady red signal shall stop at a clearly marked stop line.  In the absence of a stop line, the operator shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.  A vehicle that is not turning shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.  After stopping, standing until the intersection may be entered safely, and yielding right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully in an adjacent crosswalk and other traffic lawfully using the intersection, the operator may:
        (1)  turn right;  or
        (2)  turn left, if the intersecting streets are both one-way streets and a left turn is permissible.
    (e)  An operator of a vehicle facing a steady yellow signal is warned by that signal that:
        (1)  movement authorized by a green signal is being terminated;  or
        (2)  a red signal is to be given.
    (f)  The Texas Transportation Commission, a municipal authority, or the commissioners court of a county may prohibit within the entity's jurisdiction a turn by an operator of a vehicle facing a steady red signal by posting notice at the intersection that the turn is prohibited.
    (g)  This section applies to an official traffic-control signal placed and maintained at a place other than an intersection, except for a provision that by its nature cannot apply.  A required stop shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made.  In the absence of such a sign or marking, the stop shall be made at the signal.
    (h)  The obligations imposed by this section apply to an operator of a streetcar in the same manner they apply to the operator of a vehicle.
    (i)  An operator of a vehicle facing a traffic-control signal that does not display an indication in any of the signal heads shall stop as provided by Section 544.010 as if the intersection had a stop sign.

Just to clarify, Mike is making a distinction where none exists in the written Texas statute.  (I don't think that he was suggesting otherwise.)

Also, note that apparently nothing specifies that it is violation to be in the intersection when the signal turned red, nor that a vehicle must slow down upon a yellow light.

Available via:
http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/tn.toc.htm

Offline

#11 2008-08-16 10:26:23

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

m1ek wrote:

Aha: found where I must have picked it up: rec.bicycles.soc (one example here: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.bicy … 6a110f1d1)

It's not entirely clear what he means --

Gene on Usenet wrote:

I mean obviously not misjudging a yellow light
(what we call "running an orange light").

-- does that mean the light turns red while you're in the intersection, or before you enter it?  Either way, it's not a commonly used phrase, so people might not interpret it the way you intend.  `Fresh red' would be less subject to misunderstandings anyways.

Legally, the law makes no distinction between entering an intersection where the light just turned red or turned red a minute ago -- both are against the law, with an equal legal penalty.  If you're trying to claim that people say that the two actions are equal from a safety perspective, then I think you've misunderstood people -- I don't recall anybody making that claim.  (In Texas, I don't think it's explicitly illegal to already be in the intersection when the light goes from yellow to red, but I'm not certain of that.)

I'm pretty sure that most are aware that most traffic lights are timed to give a few seconds after a light turns red before the other side turns green.  And the ones that don't (where both lights turn at the same time) are generally in areas with low speed limits so somebody running a `fresh' red light still has a second or two before cars with a fresh `green' can make it in.  So blindly running a `fresh' red light is much less likely to result in an accident than blindly running a `mature' red light.  (The word `blindly' is important here.)

The main claim that people have made that you don't seem to agree with is that cars run `mature' red lights too.  I'm not sure how you can disagree with this, even if you haven't seen it yourself, because lots of well-documented accidents involve people running red lights.  And in most cases, either 1) somebody ran a freshly changed red light, which generally doesn't result in an accident (unless this is in dispute?), or 2) somebody ran a `mature' red light, which leads to accidents if you don't look properly first.  (Or #3, the lights are malfunctioning, but I doubt that happens often.)

But here -- if you've never seen it, here's a video -- now you've seen it, a car running a `mature' red light.

Since bikes do run red lights like bikes run red lights (by definition, I'd say) -- why don't we hear about dozens of cyclists dying every day in Austin in bike/car or bike/bike accidents?  Well, since there's fewer bikes on the roads then cars, perhaps we should hear about dozens every month?  Why don't we?  I'll go ahead and answer that -- it's because most of the time when somebody runs a `mature' red light, they're already looked to make sure there's no oncoming traffic.  Bike or car.  And if they've done so properly, then there's no danger.  (It's still illegal, of course.)  When people don't look properly, or forget to look, or misjudge what they see when they look -- accidents tend to happen.

I'll certainly agree that per cyclist/motorist, the cyclists run red lights (fresh or not) more often than motorists -- especially at night, when there's little traffic.    But like most others, I've seen plenty of motorists do it too. 

Of course, I'm not sure why it matters.  I know people run red lights, bike and car, stale and not, after making sure it's safe or not.  I keep this in mind when I approach an intersection, whether I'm on a bike or a car, and I try to react accordingly.  So far, so good.

Offline

#12 2008-08-16 11:16:30

doughead
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 37

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

I think what m1ek is trying to say is that a larger percentage of bicycle riders as a population sub group run "mature red" lights than do auto drivers. I agree with him that this is the case. Not a very large percentage of auto drivers run mature red lights given their huge portion of the population at large. A lot of bicycle riders treat their bicycle as if it were an extension of their feet and just sort of "jay walk" through red lights. It gives the bicycle riders an air of privilege and exclusivity and causes resentment among auto drivers even when it is not dangerous as hell.

Offline

#13 2008-08-19 09:56:46

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

doughead has it. Cars are 99% of the traffic in Austin, yet 99% of the time where somebody runs a "mature" red light, it's a cyclist doing it. All you have to do is open your damn eyes - this isn't hard to observe. I have yet to see a single person run a mature red in a car here in Austin in 12 years and counting; it is rare to go a single DAY without seeing a cyclist do the same. (And don't, just don't, blame students; there's student drivers aplenty in my neck of the woods as well).

Offline

#14 2008-08-19 11:59:29

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

doughead has it wrong (about what you're claiming, anyways.)  You aren't merely saying that `a larger percentage of bicycle riders as a population sub group run "mature red" lights than do auto drivers.'  If that was the only claim, people probably wouldnt' disagree with you.  Using the numbers (made up, obviously, but the idea is there) you've provided, you're claiming that cyclists are 10,000 times more likely to run a mature red light than a motorist.  That's way beyond a mere `larger percentage'.  A factor of 20 I might agree with, but not 10,000.

I have yet to see a single person run a mature red in a car here in Austin in 12 years and counting

And I find this statement incredible.  I see it happen perhaps once a week.  Perhaps 1/3rd of the time, the person runs through the red without even slowing.  Another third, they slow before going through.  And the last third, they come to a complete stop, wait, and then go.  For the first group, I suspect that in many cases they didn't even see the light (and so they just got lucky that they didn't hit somebody), and for the the second group, they generally looked and saw that it was safe and went.  And the third group, they probably mostly got tired of waiting.  All of these situations seem to happen far more often in light or no traffic, and more often at night than during the day.  The third group generally only happens when there's no traffic at all, which usually only happens at night.

Also, you must live in a very different part of town than I do.  I'd say on average, I see one cyclist go through a mature red light a week (at least if I discount things like riding in a CM ride.)  But if I go down town at night (rare), I'll see many an hour.  But I live in the suburbs -- most of the time when I'm driving, there's too much traffic for anybody to easily run through a red light, car or bike.  And most of my riding I do at night, so there aren't many cyclists on the road.  And many of the cyclists I see are the recreational riders or `older' commuters  -- who probably don't break traffic laws nearly as often as the college student crowd (at least I assume that's who I see downtown.)  Just a guess -- I can see if somebody is wearing spandex easily enough, and I can often get an idea of how old they are if I get close, but I can't tell if they're a college student or a professional or whatever just by looking at them.

`All you have to do is open your damn eyes - this isn't hard to observe.' ... you'd probably be more convincing if you stopped assuming that everybody who didn't agree with you was stupid and/or imperceptive, and instead considered that perhaps it's your own experience that's unusual.

Last edited by dougmc (2008-08-19 12:12:50)

Offline

#15 2008-08-19 13:55:07

doughead
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 37

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

As for my own behavior, I use extreme caution when I run a red light in my car or on my bike. On my bike, no car approaching the intersection from any angle observed from a full stop and of course no cops...go, go, go...
In my car, early in the morning, same routine. So I don't run many but am not morally opposed.
Starting and stopping seems to be something that a lot of bicyclists dread.

Offline

#16 2008-08-26 15:15:32

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

dougmc wrote:

d

I have yet to see a single person run a mature red in a car here in Austin in 12 years and counting

And I find this statement incredible.  I see it happen perhaps once a week.

The only way this statement can be made without it being an outright lie is if you honestly don't understand the meaning of, or are being disingenuous about the meaning of "nature red". Let me know which one it is before I proceed.

And, yes, I've spent enough time out in the suburbs to know that drivers don't run mature reds out there either.

My experience is typical - and I trust my own eyes more than I do the judgement of those with a political axe to grind. And, no, not all of the cyclists running red lights are students. I was behind one going northbound on Guadalupe at the lights at 51st and North Loop just last night. Clearly not a student; ran the latter. Likewise, the last time I drove through downtown in the morning, a guy who looked to be heading to work at Brack ran a ton of red lights on Red River (I kept catching up to him). Frankly, the demand that every claim be considered extraordinary is a particularly irritating quirk of yours - it's freakin' obvious to everybody that cyclists run a hell of a lot more red lights than do motorists - it's YOUR claim that's the extraordinary one.

Last edited by m1ek (2008-08-26 15:18:49)

Offline

#17 2008-08-26 23:50:04

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

it's freakin' obvious to everybody that cyclists run a hell of a lot more red lights than do motorists

And it's now freakin' obvious that you have a problem with reading comprehension, because I have never claimed otherwise.  (At least assuming that `a hell of a lot more' could mean a factor of 10 or 20.  I won't go as high as 10,000.  From what I can tell, most cyclists obey stop lights most of the time (perhaps only because there's traffic), but some make it a point to blow through every one whenever possible.)

And still, I see motorists run mature red lights on a regular basis, averaging out at around once a week.  Call it a lie, call it being disingenuous, whatever, but I see it.  Mostly at night, mostly with very little or no traffic.  Perhaps once every few months or so, I see somebody blow through a red light that's been red a while with traffic around.  Sometimes they were careful, sometimes not.  I can think of two auto/auto accidents caused by somebody running a red light like this that I've seen happen and was quite sure of what happened.  In the last one, perhaps five years ago, I was stopped (and had been for 30-60 seconds) at a red light going north on I35 at MLK.  A car drove up to the right of me, slowed down a little bit but not very much, then went right through the red light -- right into a taxi that was in a pack of cars turning from MLK to I35.  I gave the taxi driver my number, and his insurance company called me a few days later.  Turns out the guy who passed me claimed he had a green light -- which I emphatically denied.  Fortunately, most of the time when I see it, there's no accident or even near accident -- it's just a guy who sees an opportunity to save a few seconds by not waiting for a light.

Offline

#18 2008-08-27 12:58:46

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

On my way down to Eco-Action today to drop off some recycling, a guy (clearly not a student; not the same as last time) blew several red lights right next to me.

Again, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And arguing that motorists run a lot of stale red lights, given the lack of carnage around here, is an extraordinary claim.

Offline

#19 2008-08-27 22:40:23

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

I didn't argue that motorists run `a lot of stale red lights'.  But they do run red lights, both fresh (often) and stale (much less often.)  If I see stale lights run `once a week', I don't think I can really call that `a lot' -- for every car I see run a mature red light, I see many more run a fresh red light, and I see hundreds stop and wait like they're supposed to.  Stop with the strawmen already.

As for the lack of carnage, I've already pointed this out, but I'll point it out again -- like cyclists, most motorists don't run red lights if they think it's going to lead to an accident.  They usually look first.  Not always, but usually.   Being able to judge that an action (running a red light) is reasonably safe, and then doing it -- cyclists aren't the only ones who can do that.  And when somebody forgets to check or does it improperly?  Then either 1) they get lucky (perhaps the other party is able to avoid them, or there just didn't happen to be another vehicle to hit) or 2) carnage ensues.  Bicycle or car.

And yes, even with bicycles, the carnage does happen, far too often.  I'm not claiming that cyclists run red lights too often (and most of the time, nobody is in danger), but there is no lack of carnage even there.  And there's no lack of carnage caused by cars running red lights either, though of course just like with bikes, the vast majority of the time that cars run mature red lights, it's done with enough care to avoid an accident.

Offline

#20 2008-08-28 18:06:37

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

I wish we could post these same red-light cameras in the East Texas piney woods. In the same way they've captured images of something people claim doesn't exist (red-light running drivers), they'd probably succeed at photographing Bigfoot as well.

Seth

Offline

#21 2008-08-29 09:12:02

m1ek
Member
Registered: 2008-06-02
Posts: 153

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

dougmc wrote:

As for the lack of carnage, I've already pointed this out, but I'll point it out again -- like cyclists, most motorists don't run red lights if they think it's going to lead to an accident.  They usually look first.  Not always, but usually.   Being able to judge that an action (running a red light) is reasonably safe, and then doing it -- cyclists aren't the only ones who can do that.  And when somebody forgets to check or does it improperly?  Then either 1) they get lucky (perhaps the other party is able to avoid them, or there just didn't happen to be another vehicle to hit) or 2) carnage ensues.  Bicycle or car.

The scenario that you see a car running a stale red light once a week but there's no carnage is vanishingly unlikely. For you to see it that often, it'd have to be happening thousands of times a day in Austin - and there is no way thousands of times it's done perfectly. I'd expect at a minimum to see a handful of crashes each and every day caused by somebody running a stale red if thousands were doing it each day - motorists aren't THAT good at it (neither are cyclists).

There are handfuls of crashes each and every day in Austin, of course, but most have nothing to do with red lights.

Last edited by m1ek (2008-08-29 09:12:29)

Offline

#22 2008-08-29 12:24:11

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

Mike, please explain how it is that cyclists can run red lights and not cause accidents but motorists can't?  This seems to be a key part of your argument, and I'm just not following it.  Sure, a bike can better zip around cars than a car can, and there are situations where the bike lane is safe from turning and crossing traffic (unless the traffic is a bike, of course), but I'm wondering ... is there more?  There must be ...

As for a handful of crashes caused by (stale assumed, read on) red-light running each day in Austin, absolutely.   Most are minor and don't make the news, but if the police come out, they document it.  According to this page, from 1994 to 1998 red light running was listed as a factor in injury accidents in Travis county an average of 1.7 times PER DAY.  And this is just the ones that somebody was hurt in -- if nobody was hurt, it's not included there.

Or, looking at this page, `Ages of Red Light Runners in Travis County Crashes in 1997', this tells us that were an average of 2.5 tickets given out per day for running a red light in situations that involved an accident in Travis county.  This is carnage that involved a ticket -- the carnage is hard to deny, but I don't know how often accidents happen where the police can't tell who ran the light, and therefore don't give a ticket.  There's probably also a number of cases where the damage is minor and the police aren't called, but there's little way to quantify this either.

Granted, these statistics don't differentiate between fresh and mature red lights, but we do believe (right?) that running fresh red lights rarely results in an accident so it would seem that most of these must be due to running red lights that are at least a little stale, right?   (If you disagree, say so.)   (If somebody decides to stop at the last second for a red light and gets rear-ended, this is not included in the figures above.  According to this page, there were 988 rear-end crashes at Travis County intersections with traffic signals.)

According to this page, APD publishes reports on crashes and the causes monthly, but I'm not finding them online.  This page may be as old as 1995, so maybe they don't do this anymore.  In any event, these pages are around 10 years old, so some newer statistics would be nice.

Last edited by dougmc (2008-08-29 12:28:41)

Offline

#23 2008-08-29 17:12:12

seth
Member
From: Austin, TX (Hyde Park)
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 53
Website

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

Mike needs to open up a class-action lawsuit against the city in defense of these 400 wrongly-accused motorists. His argument that motorists never run red lights is sure to yield a big pay-day.

Seth

Offline

#24 2008-08-29 22:40:31

dougmc
Administrator
Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 553

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

He doesn't say they don't run red lights ... he says they don't run mature/stale red lights.  There's a difference, though legally they're the same.

And besides, all those pages are from 1997 or so ... so it's probably too late for them anyways.  (I didn't find any more recent information.)
[ edit: oh duh, you're talking about the 400 caught by the cameras, recently.  I wonder if they keep statistics on how far into the red light they were caught.
  The system ought to be able to easily do so, and it would quickly put the question to rest. ]

Last edited by dougmc (2008-08-30 13:17:22)

Offline

#25 2008-08-30 10:21:15

waterloo_cycles
Member
Registered: 2008-08-30
Posts: 12

Re: Red Light Cameras Issue 400 Citations

FWIW, on the way home last night (~11.30) at the corner of Guadalupe and Denson the two other folks I was riding with stopped for the light (has sensor, but doesn't register bikes) truck pulls up, stops for the light, then runs a very cold red. the three of us wait another ~10 seconds for the light to change and then proceed

Michael F Zakes, prop.
Waterloo Cycles

Offline

Board footer