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Active Trans statement on photo enforcement ordinance

May 5, 2015


Media Contact: 

Ron Burke
Active Transportation Alliance
Executive Director

Chicago, Ill., May 5, 2015 – On Tuesday the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety advanced an ordinance to reform the city’s photo enforcement program. 

Key provisions of the ordinance include requiring a community input process before installing new cameras, installing pedestrian countdown timers at every intersection where a camera is present, and convening a panel of university researchers to evaluate the safety impacts of the program.

Active Trans released the following statement on the ordinance from Executive Director Ron Burke:

“Enforcing traffic laws, whether with cameras or police officers, prevents injuries and save lives when done properly. Dangerous driving is rampant, and there aren’t enough police officers to combat the problem and enforce traffic safety laws. Photo enforcement can bridge the gap, effectively multiplying the power of the police to enforce the law.”

“The need for photo enforcement is greatest where the most crashes, serious injuries and fatalities occur. Active Transportation Alliance supports community input into decisions about where to place cameras because residents walk, ride bikes and drive through these intersections every day, and they have a good feel for which ones are most dangerous.  An added benefit of the ordinance will be the addition of more pedestrian countdown signals, which help people in cars and on foot more safely navigate crosswalks.”

“In March we recommended convening an independent panel of experts to provide a level-headed review of the city’s camera safety program and ways to improve it, and we’re glad this will happen. While some criticism of the camera safety program has been warranted, too often the safety benefits have been overlooked or misrepresented.  The independent review team can help sort this out.”  

“The real victims in the recent debate about photo enforcement are the nearly 21,000 people significantly injured and 145 killed in traffic crashes each year in Chicago. Victims, traffic safety experts and doctors agree we need a comprehensive Vision Zero strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities that includes not just photo enforcement but also public awareness and education programs, policy changes, and improvements to traffic engineering and street design.”

“It’s imperative that these changes create a process to improve, rather than remove, the camera safety program.” 

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The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit or call 312.427.3325.