Monday, March 6, 2017

Post's Courtland Milloy: OK for Motorists to Run Red Lights - Update

DC traffic camera
Image: Washington Post
Washington Post Columnist Courtland Milloy is a hypocrite. He thinks it's OK for motorists to run red lights but bicyclists don't belong on the road because they don't obey traffic laws.

You may recall that Milloy has published several anti-bike rants in his Post column in the past. In July 2014 he wrote that "It’s a $500 fine for a motorist to hit a bicyclist in the District, but some behaviors are so egregious that some drivers might think it’s worth paying the fine."

In January 2015 in a column after two recent deaths of cyclists he wrote: "What cyclists need is a separate network of biking roads, not bike lanes. Give them trails through wooded areas, away from cars and trucks. Once they enter high-traffic areas in the city, it’s off the bicycle and onto alternative transportation. Like two feet."

In his column today he talks about receiving two citations for running red lights when turning right. He was caught by a red light camera. He doesn't think he should stop so he contested the tickets:
“Your honor, this is so unfair. It’s incomprehensible.” She appeared unimpressed but still reduced the fine by $15.
Motorists turning right on red without looking for pedestrians or bicyclists approaching from the right are one of the most common causes of fatalities and injuries among those vulnerable road users. That's one reason I carry a whistle, to get the attention of motorists at a busy intersection I pass through on a regular basis. I personally know several cyclists who have been injured by motorists turning right on red. With almost no enforcement, the problem will continue.

Update 9 Mar 2017 - At least two other people agree with the above as indicated by their Letters to the Editor of the Post about Milloy's comments:
Don’t want to get busted by a traffic camera? Don’t break the law.

Regarding Courtland Milloy’s March 6 Metro column, “A turn for the worse with traffic cameras”:

I am amazed by people complaining of being penalized for getting caught breaking the law, then whining about it in court and shifting blame. The infraction concerns turning right on a red light after stopping, a privilege put in place to expedite traffic flow by allowing right-turning vehicles to proceed on red after having stopped and determined that it is safe. Many drivers ignore the “stop” portion of this privilege. Redefining “stop” is dangerous and must be curtailed.

Cameras have reduced violations by motorists running straight through a red light. Perhaps the use of cameras to catch right-turn-on-red violators will also reduce violations.

f motorists paid attention to their speed and the color of traffic lights, they would not trigger any of those unfair, inconvenient, invasive, scamming, money-grubbing cameras.

Stephen Frank, Fulton

As someone who drives at the speed limit, comes to a full stop when the law says I’m supposed to and usually drives with my child in the car, I hope all state and local governments in the region increase the number of traffic cameras to issue tickets. Like casinos that reap huge funds for tax coffers from those who decide to take a risk, traffic cameras pour needed funds into government programs only from those who decide to endanger the rest of us, while those of us who follow the laws can sit back with our money in our wallets and a smile on our face.

Rudy Porter, Gaithersburg

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