Needless to say, Berwyn is still trying to take your money. And they're doing it in more creative ways than I even realized! Take a look at the video below looking northbound at the corner of Harlem and Cermak and try to spot the infraction:
Did you see it? Look again. Did you see that white car taking a left? Bingo...
It appears Berwyn has a SECOND camera aimed at a slightly different angle, snapping pictures of motorists who go LEFT in the intersection after the yellow left arrow disappears. Now, this is marginally less insidious that what I have already chronicled in their right on red trap, but it's still greasy, given that when that yellow arrow disappears, it becomes...you guessed it, a green light.
Essentially, Berwyn is doing what so many communities across the country are doing - studying the most common, yet harmless, driver tendencies, and turning them into cash. In this left-on-red case, I have nothing I concrete to prove that Berwyn isn't within its smarmy rights, but it is also well within my rights to keep you informed of what they are doing to take your hard-earned money.
On another note, you may recall that in my original post, I advised you to ALWAYS appear in court to dispute a violation, and today I have a success story, which is hopefully the first of many. Bill writes (Ha, Bill and Ted, excellent!):
I just wanted to let you know the I ticket I got at the camera-monitored red light at Harlem and Cermak was set aside due to what the judge said was “reasonable doubt” I’m not going to quibble as I could easily have envisioned the same judge fining me for my quick stop. I was ready to go with my “lack of signage” argument and had the pictures from your web site in hand but never had to use them.
The judge appeared to be the same older distinguished fellow as you described in your website. He appeared to be well-read, fair, with a sense of humor but one who would truck no nonsense. He rendered a “reasonable doubt” verdict to one fellow who responded with a beaming smile to which the judge sternly stated. “Stop your smirking like you got away with something because you didn’t. I’m just ruling a reasonable doubt” There were no post-verdict smiles after that.
It’s funny but amongst the 20 people or so that went before me I’d bet that he let off about 15 of them with the same “reasonable doubt” verdicts. To the other five he said “Sir, you didn’t even try to stop”. I don’t know- maybe Berwyn is feeling a little bit of embarrassment over the bad press it has been receiving both in the local papers and on websites like yours and is only going after the most obvious scofflaws?
As I said, I was going to contend that with the little sign being gone from the pole that the site looked more like an unmarked yield-right-of-way than a full-fledged stop point and that’s a big part of the reason I move through the zone so quickly. If that sign was present there is no way I would have gone through it. I wonder if anyone had ever raised the issue. Well, may be a moot point now because Berwyn I thought I saw a new sign just this week.
So Ted I again want to thank you for the pointers I got from your webpage in preparing for the hearing. It truly is a public service and I hope others will read it as well. And like the judge suggested I will be doing the old “One Mississippi- Two Mississippi-Three-Mississippi” at every one of my future stop signs. So if you get stuck behind me please lay off of the horn.
You're most welcome, Bill. Just one person having a positive outcome makes this worth it, but I hope for many more.
And thanks, Bill, for THIS LINK. As I said in my initial post, Rahm Emanuel is on the wrong side of this issue (as expected), and reading this just made my blood boil.
We've got a long road ahead....with a lot of cameras on it...
Click here for all you need to know about Red Light Cameras in Illinois