Did You Know?

Nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school.

In support of automated speed enforcement

The Chicago Tribune on Thursday published an editorial supporting speed enforcement cameras in Chicago.

We agree. Active Trans this week submitted a letter to the editor to several newspapers to voice our support for reducing crashes by enforcing our speed limits. The Tribune published it, as did the Chicago Journal. Here's the letter we submitted:

As pedestrian and cyclist safety advocates, the Active Transportation Alliance supports state legislation that would allow the city of Chicago to use cameras to enforce speed limits in safety zones around schools and parks. This initiative is a way to make our streets safer, particularly for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicyclists who do not have the protection of an air bag, seat belt or steel frame.

/Studies show that speeding leads to more crashes and deaths. According to research done by the United Kingdom Department of Transportation, at 40 mph, pedestrians survive a crash only about 15 percent of time. At 20 mph, the survival rate for pedestrians is 95 percent.

An analysis of more than 90 studies assessing speed enforcement cameras in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board found an average injury crash reduction of 20 to 25 percent, with more effective programs reducing crashes by more than 50 percent. In 2010, there were more than 3000 recorded pedestrian crashes and nearly 1,600 recorded bicycle crashes in Chicago.

Camera locations should be selected first and foremost to improve safety, not just to generate revenue, and CDOT plans to do this. At the same time, the program will generate revenue, and we are pleased the city plans to use the money to fund safety improvements, including modifying street designs that actually encourage speeding. The long-term goal should be nearly 100 percent compliance, with no violations and no revenue generated.

Speeding drivers make roadways unsafe for vehicle passengers, cyclists, and everyone who uses our sidewalks and parks. Automated speed enforcement that will be allowed under SB 965 will help keep cars within the legal speed limit, save lives and make our neighborhoods more walkable and bike-friendly.

— Ron L. Burke, Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance