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Are 'California Stops' All That Bad?

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Photo by Zach Behrens/LAist

"I looked to make sure. I wasn't being unsafe," Porcia London told the LA Times in a report about red-light enforcement cameras that questions if they are for revenue or safety. The issue at hand is that in Los Angeles, it is estimated that 80% of the photo-enforced tickets go to "california stop" right turns. "As London realized that day in court, her turn was illegal because she did not completely stop before turning." Well, duh...

... it is the right-turn infraction -- a frequently misunderstood and less pressing safety concern -- that drives tickets and revenue in the nation's second-biggest city and at least half a dozen others across the county. [...]

Motorists often are confused and complain about right-turn photo tickets, police say. John Jasso, a Pasadena technology manager, said he didn't fully get the complete-stop rule until two right-turn photo tickets came in the mail a week apart.

The danger with right hand turns on red lights is more for pedestrians than anything else, according to some officials cited in the article. And as a pedestrian, this writer could not agree more.
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Here is the situation, often daily: you, as a pedestrian, approach an intersection at a stop sign or red light where you're about to cross. A driver approaches from your left wanting to make a right turn. They focus on not getting hit by cars coming from their left as they roll past the limit line, never making eye contact or noticing a pedestrian that has the right to cross to their right. They've now run the red light or stop sign, totally unaware that a pedestrian was there. Enough of a reason to enforce? Yes. The red light cameras should still enforce. Plan a city for people, not cars.