The Scourge of Speed Cameras

Remember that automated speeding warning I got last month? Guess what arrived in the mail this month!

Behold, in all our DANGEROUS, RECKLESS, glory:

Lock those monsters up.

Now here’s the thing. I would SWEAR to you that we were not speeding. We only went that way one time since we got the warning, so I know very specifically what day this happened. And I remember being very, very careful not to speed and saying to Sara, “Okay, help me watch for speed limit signs.” I did everything I could possibly do to not get a speeding ticket.

That’s my main problem with the whole thing: I was clearly trying my best not to break the law. I know for a fact that we were driving slowly and safely, with one eye on the speedometer. So don’t try to pretend this is about anything more than making money. Don’t try to pretend it’s about “safety” or “protecting children”.

I guess I was speeding. I can’t produce any evidence and anyway, they have video, so who am I to say? We were tearing up the road at a blazing 42 miles an hour, for the maximum possible fine, natch. How were we going > 10 mph over the speed limit? Well, supposedly we were going through a park.

I would SWEAR to you that there is no park on that stretch of road. I would SWEAR to you that there is no posted 30 mph speed limit sign. Maybe it’s in a bush or something?

So I started doing a little research. Turns out there is a park there, but there are some questions being raised about if that stretch was designated as a park just to get the speed camera installed. Notice the map below. The green rectangle is “Park No. 499”, and the green pointer is the “address” of said park.

Gee, I wonder why I hadn’t seen that park from S. Indianapolis Ave. before…


Maybe everything is on the up and up with these speed cameras. Maybe I was doing something illegal, got caught, and now I’m trying to pass the blame. Even still, I just don’t think that we should set up a system that incentives the police to do the wrong thing and then hope that they don’t. More people “caught” = more money in the city’s pocket, and there’s no way for us to check up on this, or prove our innocence. So we just have to assume that the city is going against their own financial interests, and not “cheating”.

And then you read this.

Turns out, the city of Chicago was caught illegally lowering the length of yellow lights on intersections with red light cameras installed, resulting in an “extra” $7 million in revenue. Whoops.

The city agreed to fix it, but only because the Tribune looked into it.

Who’s going to look into it for every violation?

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