June 13, 2014. Chicago. In 2012, the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel passed the law that brought unmanned red light speed trap cameras to Chicago. In its first 40 days in operation, they caught a staggering 200,000 Chicago drivers breaking the law - five-times the number the vendor had ever seen in any other city. Since then, outrage and anger over the city’s money-making ordinance have led to a series of protests around the city. The next one is tomorrow at Lane Tech High School on the north side.
The sixth organized protest against Chicago’s red light cameras will be tomorrow. Image courtesy of TheExpiredMeter.com.
Regardless of whether citizens support or oppose the idea of having hundreds of government cameras watching them and issuing tickets with no human involvement, the red light camera system in Chicago has been riddled with objectionable events. Insiders have accused the city and the corporation providing the cameras of bribery and kickbacks. Drivers who’ve received tickets are extremely angry, considering many of them didn’t violate any laws. It also appears that it’s basically impossible to drive in Chicago without violating one or more traffic laws simply due to decrepit or ill-thought infrastructure.
Take the example provided by the Chicago Tribune in which a motorist was issued a $100 red light camera ticket for failing to stop at a red light before turning right. The only problem is that the driver did make a complete stop, twice. At many intersections in Chicago, it’s impossible to turn right without creeping across the solid white line to check for cross-traffic. As soon as a driver does that, they’re issued a ticket.
At least the red light cameras aren’t as bad as the unbelievable law passed by the State of Illinois recently. It forces all motorists in the state to slam on their breaks and come to a complete stop anytime they see a pedestrian who looks like they might be trying to cross the street. The city even provides a reminder in the form of tiny, six-inch-wide stop signs posted a couple feet off the ground where nobody can see them. Needless to say, nobody including police cars or the politicians who passed the potentially deadly law, obey it. But every driver, especially in a pedestrian-heavy city like Chicago, is guilty of violating that law dozens of times a day.
Protesting Chicago’s red light cameras
Mark Wallace, Director of Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras, is organizing a protest against the city’s red light cameras to be held tomorrow, Saturday June 14, at Lane Tech High School at the corner of Western and Addison. This will be the group’s 6th protest just this summer.
“Join Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras Saturday, June 14th to protest Mayor Rahm Emanuel for signing the Speed Camera Ordinance,” Wallace urges Chicago drivers, “Now is the time to take action and inform the voters of Chicago about what their elected officials are doing when they are not watching. It's time to ban the cams!” The group is suggesting protesters bring their own homemade signs and is promising to have plenty of fliers on hand for volunteers to pass to motorists stopped at the very busy intersection.
The group also reminds residents that Chicago currently has 383 red light cameras operating around the city, the most anywhere in America. Not surprisingly, one intersection that had its red light camera removed after overwhelming complaints by the neighborhood residents was at Harlem and Higgins in Chicago’s far northwest side 41st Ward, the ‘suburb within the city’. It also happens to be the most heavily populated Ward in the city with police officers and other government employees.
The red light camera protest tomorrow at Lane Tech will be held from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the intersection of Western and Addison. For more information, visit Citizens To Abolish Red Light Cameras.
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