Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(Cough) Bull$#!T

"Winnipeg residents strongly support red light photo enforcement"

A public opinion poll on Winnipeg's photo enforcement safety program reveals a clear majority of residents are concerned about drivers running red lights and support photo enforcement.
Oh? You mean 10 years of Photo radar cameras has done nothing to stop people from running red lights? Are you saying the amount of people running red lights might have even increased? Well then, whats the point of photo radar if you admit it DOES NOTHING?
As part of an ongoing study, people in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area (Winnipeg CMA) were polled on various aspects of road safety including their level of concern for drinking and driving, running red lights and speeding.
People in the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area? You mean people with land lines who have nothing better to do than answer phones. People who have no rational basis for their opinions other than whats been learned to them by rote from MPI ads while watching 60 minutes.
"The levels of public concern about road safety in general and the specific road safety issues that are the focus of this particular study are in line with levels of public concern coming from other independent sources," says Ward Vanlaar, lead researcher and Vice President, Research at the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF).
Sure everyone is always concerned about safety, Mr clearly non biased Vice President of research for an organization with a vested interest in pushing a particular viewpoint.
The actual percentage of respondents reporting concern about road safety (54% reported being very or extremely concerned about road safety) is indicative of road safety being considered a mid-level priority to the public.
what are they going to say, they're NOT concerned about road safety? "Oh yes, I let my kids play in the streets in the middle of traffic all the time. Builds character, dontcha know?"
When looking at specific road safety issues, the public is particularly concerned about drinking and driving (89%) and a clear majority (78%) is also concerned about running red lights. Slightly fewer people reported high levels of concern about speeding (60%).
does anyone think people should run red lights? No. Does anyone think drinking and driving is good? no. Is speeding the worst thing you could do next to killing a puppy? They should have asked that question instead.
Moreover, the photo enforcement program garners rather high levels of support among people from the Winnipeg CMA. About 80% think the photo enforcement safety program makes the public more aware of the issue of speeding, 81% support the continuation of the photo enforcement safety program and 71% believe the program helps improve road safety in Winnipeg. Even among those who have previously been caught for speeding and received a ticket, the level of support for the continuation of the program is still high at about 74%.
Well certainly the photo enforcement safety program makes the public more aware of the issue of speeding. What else will it make people aware of? "92% think the photo enforcement safety program makes the public more aware of the issue of governments finding new ways to gouge you or unfairly ticket you"? I would have liked to see a question in that vein.

Now, the notion that 81% of people polled support the continuation of the photo enforcement safety program is tellingly outrageous. That 71% BELIEVE the program helps improve road safety in Winnipeg, regardless of the fact it does or not (clearly it has not in the last decade improved road safety one bit, if its still such a major concern) is not so unbelievable, but that 81% support the continuation of photo enforcement in this city is ridiculous. I don't know ANYONE who supports the continuation of red light cameras or photo enforcement. Who are these people? 81%. 8 out of 10 people in Winnipeg are in favour of red light cameras, according to this poll. Go ask 10 random people what they think of red light cameras. I dare you.

While some have raised concerns about the effectiveness of photo enforcement programs...

"some"? "some"? HOW MANY? you have statistics for everything else. How convenient you don't have any for this.
...a review of the literature, completed in 2009, shows that there is ample evidence that photo enforcement does have an overall positive effect. These include studies completed in Ontario, California, Virginia, British Columbia, Arizona, Singapore, and Victoria, Australia.
"an overall positive effect" .. holy shit, can the weasel words get any vaguer? "sure, it doesn't really do anything to stop speeding, but overall, at least people are AWARE that speeding exists, and we make money.. so theres an overall positive effect." Look, people in Singapore and Australia think so!

Many of the studies we reviewed found significant decreases in average speed, speeding violations, red light running violations, speeding collisions, and right-angle crashes, with some studies finding minor increases in rear-end crashes, which are often much less severe than right-angle crashes," explains Vanlaar.

minor increases in rear-end crashes, which is okay, because they're less severe than right-angle crashes. doesn't matter that more people are getting hurt, cause at least they're not all dying!

Overall, these studies also suggest that photo enforcement is effective in reducing many of the social and economic consequences related to speeding and red light running, especially when coupled with public awareness campaigns.
how can that be true if after 10 years of red light cameras speeding remains such a horrible problem? How can you have it both ways?

"Project delays have been due to technical challenges, which is not uncommon for comprehensive evaluations of this size and magnitude," explains Patrol Sergeant Kirk Van Alstyne of the Winnipeg Police Service. "More specifically, delays were unavoidable as we increased the number of intersections with cameras to enable researchers to collect baseline data at intersections before cameras were installed in order to increase the rigorousness of the evaluation."
how kind of the police service to do so much for the researchers. Nothing to do with revenue shortfalls or making more money. No sir.

Results from the public opinion poll are based on a survey developed and conducted by TIRF. A total of 750 drivers from the Winnipeg CMA completed the poll in May of 2009. Based on a sample of this size, on average, the results can be considered accurate within plus or minus 3.6%, 19 times out of 20.
That's a pretty crappy poll size. 750 people.

Established in 1964, TIRF's mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. Visit us online at

So no reason for them to try to create a poll that tells Winnipegers they think the exact opposite of what they actually think. No sir, none at all.

As far as I'm concerned this "poll" clearly must have asked leading questions. I don't trust the accuracy of this poll any more than I trust the accuracy of red light cameras.

The worst thing is you will see this poll referenced by people to push their agendas. You will see it in the Winnipeg Free Press maybe even the Winnipeg Sun, You will see MPI or the Winnipeg Police Service quote it. You will see it referenced because they want to keep the revenue source churning. Despite the fact that Red Light Cameras JUST DON'T WORK.

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