A Morning in K-Town: Peds Ticketed, Red Light Runners Ignored

5_4_09_ticketing_peds_resizr.jpg5_4_09_metro_red_resizr.jpgDifferent treatment for pedestrians crossing on flashing hand and vehicles running a red. 

Last Friday the LAPD was at it again.  In what they claimed was an effort to make the intersection of Wilshire and Western safer for pedestrians, the LAPD was handing out tickets to pedestrians who crossed the street against a flashing red hand.  In the ten minutes I observed their their ticketing I observed the following.

First, nearly all of the people being ticketed made it across the street before the traffic signal they were facing turned red.  In other words, their actions put nobody in danger.  The three LAPD officers were in a constant state of filling out ticket forms, and I counted two pedestrians who didn’t make it across before the red.  One of whom was an elderly woman who started as soon as she got the white person and who received no help from the LAPD officers busy writing tickets.

Second, at somewhere over thirty vehicles I lost count of the amount of vehicles that made a left hand turn after the light they were facing turned red.  Unfortunately, my slow frame camera had trouble getting a clean shot of a car running a red, but was able to capture an image of an articulated Metro Rapid Bus in the act.  For the record, I was standing next to an LAPD officer when I snapped this picture.

Third, many of those people rushing across the street against the flashing reds, but before the solid reds, were trying to catch a bus.

The message?  Impatient drivers running red lights aren’t causing crashes throughout the city.  It’s the fault of pedestrians who make it across the street before the traffic signal turns red. Of course, this "blame the pedestrian" mentality also exists with the LADOT who believes removing unsignalized crosswalks is the best way to make crossing the street safer for pedestrians.

It’s honestly no wonder that David Jassy thinks he can get out of physically assaulting and repeatedly running over a pedestrian with the "these things happen defense."  We live in a city where pedestrians are assumed at fault for crashes while red-light-running motorists are given carte-blanche.

  • Spokker

    In the few instances where I drive, if I don’t turn left on a red I get honked at by the drivers behind me. It’s really tough out there. I still don’t do it, but hopefully they don’t get out of their cars one day and kill me.

  • Lost Angelino

    And to think they could be busting Meth labs. But instead all police agencies in the county decide month end is the day to up the non-existent ticket Quotas.

  • angle

    I don’t know what else to day other than THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

    Citing an old lady? Really? PATHETIC.

  • Westside Wanderer

    Left-turn-on-red is not the same as running a red light. I can’t believe they have the red light cameras citing right-turn-on-red.

    Stop the hating on cars. Make this us versus them, and we lose.

    Writing tickets to peds makes sense – peds have the most the lose. If they violate crosswalk controls with impunity, they will be the first to get mashed.

  • I’m not making it “us v them.” I’m asking for equal enforcement. What do you think is more likely to get someone killed, someone crossing against a “flashing hand” and making it across the street before the “hard hand” or someone turning left after the light has turned red and crossing into a crosswalk where pedestrians have a white hand?

    This post isn’t criticizing car drivers, it’s criticizing the enforcement of “safety” rules by the police.

  • Us vs Them is actually an appropriate strategy to take up. Let’s have some more of it, please. Playing nice gets old ladies ticketed and college kids killed.

  • spokker

    “Left-turn-on-red is not the same as running a red light. I can’t believe they have the red light cameras citing right-turn-on-red.”

    If you are across the line in the middle of the intersection ready to turn left, then when the light turns yellow, you better start looking for an opening to turn. Yes, it becomes necessary to turn left on red because those approaching you run reds themselves.

    However, I’ve been honked at when I’ve been the third person in line to turn left, while I am still behind the crosswalk. I am not going to sneak in and follow the second or first car turning left unless I am already in the intersection.

    It’s difficult to explain and visualize, and I won’t be putting in the effort to draw a diagram.

  • If you have a red light camera ticket from anywhere, you need to know about Snitch Tickets, which are fake red light camera tickets sent out by the police to bluff the registered owner into identifying the actual driver of the car. Snitch Tickets have not been filed with the court, so they don’t say “Notice to Appear,” don’t have the court’s address and phone, and usually say (on the back, in small letters), “Do not contact the court about this notice.” Since they have NOT been filed with the court, they have no legal weight whatsoever. You can ignore a Snitch Ticket. If in doubt, Google the term.

  • Alek F

    Once again,
    welcome to Los Angeles!
    The city of car obsession and anti-pedestrian life.
    No wonder innocent pedestrians get ticketed…
    Agreed, this is truly pathetic.
    Shame on LAPD!
    Shame on LADOT!
    And shame on Mayor Vijarraigosa (or however you spell his name!) for allowing this crap to happen.
    Motorists (who can indeed cause accidents and injuries) should be ticketed, not pedestrians!

  • Erik

    Meanwhile up in Seattle:


    Seattle cracks down on drivers who don’t stop at crosswalks

    By Mike Lindblom
    Seattle Times transportation reporter
    Seattle police are sending more pedestrian decoys onto city crosswalks, to nab drivers who blow through without stopping.

    The city is expected to run 10 sting operations in 2009, an increase from previous years, said Barbara Gray of the city Department of Transportation.

    Pedestrian safety is a personal issue for City Council members. They created a safety committee two years ago, after council aide Tatsuo Nakata was killed crossing Southwest Admiral Way, and Josef Robinson, stepson of Councilmember Nick Licata, was seriously injured crossing North 85th Street.

    Seattle tends to rank among the safest U.S. cities for pedestrians. Nonetheless, 468 car-pedestrian collisions were reported to police last year, said Gray. She is project manager for the city’s new Pedestrian Master Plan, soon to be released, which calls for more enforcement.

    Rest here:


  • Unlike Seattle, here in LA we have pedestrian ticketing rampages where more people walk, and driver ticketing setups in the Valley where everyone drives.

    The reality is that LA simply has no standards for “safety” for pedestrians and bicyclists and there has been no unified political movement to provide for our rights to walk and bicycle in the right-of-way. So, these city departments simply do whatever won’t get their funding cut and the result is these bizarre applications of laws in an almost arbitrary manner.


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