Streetsblog doesn’t usually bother to respond when Mr. Walters gets it wrong, but on this issue his curmudgeonly take is so baseless it’s necessary to say something.
Also, please sign A.B. 43, the source of his dyspepsia this morning.
Walters complains of having received a speeding ticket once, long ago, when he missed a speed limit sign and got caught, he says, in a “speed trap.” The fear that cities would set these traps and lie in wait to catch unsuspecting (not innocent) speeders, thus raking in dough for the police budget in the form of fines and fees on traffic tickets, led to the development of a pseudo scientific method for setting speed limits known as the “85th percentile rule.”
Its report [PDF] details these discussions, and recommends, first, changing the rules around setting speed limits to allow cities more flexibility in how they do so.
This is what A.B. 43 would do – allow cities to, for example, take into account the safety of vulnerable road users when setting limits. Claims by bill opponents like Dan Walters that the current rules protect people like him from speed traps is another way of claiming that the right to speed is more important than road safety. That’s just flat-out wrong.
I know you’re busy, Mr. Governor. You’ve been signing a lot of bills lately, and there are only a few more days left before you hit the signing deadline. Safe streets advocates are getting a bit nervous about the fate of this bill, as well as several other important traffic safety bills like A.B. 122 (Safety Stop), A.B. 1238 (Decriminalize Jaywalking) and A.B. 773 (Slow Streets).
Streetsblog California editor Melanie Curry has been thinking about transportation, and how to improve conditions for bicyclists, since her early days commuting by bike to UCLA long ago. She was Managing Editor at the East Bay Express, and edited Access Magazine for the University of California Transportation Center. She also earned her Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley.