By Edward McClelland | Friday, Apr 13, 2012
Here, finally, is a group of people who are in favor of speed cameras, but have nothing to gain financially from their implementation: bicyclists.
The Active Transportation Alliance, which encourages Chicagoans to walk, bike of take public transit — anything but drive — urged the City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety to approve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s speed camera ordinance at yesterday’s meeting.
“Chicago needs to do all it can to reduce speeding and improve safety on our streets,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance.
“Automated speed enforcement will slow down cars, which saves lives and makes our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.”
It is, of course, possible to speed on a bicycle. The world record on a flat surface (all we have in Chicago) is 83 miles an hour — way beyond the 25 mph in school zones. However, it is not possible to get a speed camera ticket on a bicycle, since bicycles are not required to carry license plates. It’s also possible to run over a pedestrian with a bicycle. We were not able to find statistics for Chicago, but in New York City,500 pedestrians a year require medical treatment after being struck by bicycles.
We can understand why bicyclists want speed cameras, since over a dozen cyclists are killed in vehicle crashes in the city every year.
Ald. Scott Waguespack has suggested that speed bumps and traffic circles would do a better job of reducing vehicle speeds than cameras. They would, by stopping the offense before it happens, rather than issuing a ticket after it’s already happened. They would also slow down cars and bicycles equally. The Illinois Rules of the Road state that “bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users,” so it’s a fairer system, too.