[Summit] FW: [RRA] Fwd: My Turn op-ed submission: TWO CHEERS FOR THE SPEED CAMERAS

Greg Gerritt gerritt at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 19 11:23:21 CDT 2018

From:  RIPTA Riders <ripta-riders-alliance at lists.riseup.net>
Reply-To:  Barry Schiller <bschillert358 at gmail.com>
Date:  Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 10:48 AM
To:  RIPTA Riders <ripta-riders-alliance at lists.riseup.net>
Subject:  [RRA] Fwd: My Turn op-ed submission: TWO CHEERS FOR THE SPEED

 though its always a long shot for getting into the Providence Journal, I
sent this submission on the speed cameras.  Since speeding on local roads is
not just a threat to schoolkids, it can be dangerous to bus riders who must
cross streets when walking to stops, so it may be of interest to the Riders

To: letters at providencejournal.com


There has been a well publicized backlash against Providence speed cameras
placed in school zones ticketing those going at least 11 mph over the speed
limit.  But the anger is not because there is so much speeding in school
zones, it is because their were so many tickets.

The apparent sense of entitlement  that some motorists feel to speed in
school zones is disturbing.  It is hard to feel sorry for the plaintiffs in
a anti-enforcement lawsuit,  as reported in the 3/24/18 Providence Journal,
several were caught speeding more than 20 mph over the speed limit and there
was at least one repeat offender.  They apparently care little about the
safety of the kids and school employees.  Pandering to them, there is a bill
in the legislature that repeals authorization for the speed zone cameras, in
effect allowing widespread speeding by schools.

So I cheer for the cameras.  Despite airbags, better brakes and crash
protection, beeps that warn drivers if they veer out of lane and more,
highway deaths are rising, in Rhode Island from 45 in 2015, 51 in 2016 to 84
in 2017.  This mirrors a national trend, US road fatalities increasing from
a low of 32,479 in 2011 to 37,416 in 2016.  The trend is worse for
pedestrians who are not protected by the above technology. Nationally in the
last 10 years pedestrian deaths have risen from about 11% of the total to
18%.  In RI they were 25% of the 2017 RI road deaths.

Note also that the US has a relatively high fatality rate per mile driven,
about twice that of northern and western Europe.  It is also a guideline
that about 1/3 of the deaths are due to speed, especially dangerous for
pedestrians and bicyclists not protected by tons of metal and airbags who,
as just reported at a RIDOT hosted conference, have a 90% chance of
surviving a 20 mph collision, a 50% chance of surviving one at 30 mph and
only a 10% chance to survive at 40 mph.  Speeding kills!

But it is still only two cheers for the speed cameras as the fines seem too
high for a first offense, and there are legitimate concerns about the
rollout including due process, the placement warning signs and cameras as
well as hours of operation.  There are bills pending in the legislature to
make reasonable adjustments.

For reasons of economy, environment, and health, we have a societal interest
in promoting more walking and bicycling.  This requires controlling speeding
on urban streets to make them safer for all.  Cheers for the cameras!

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