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Unfair ticketing

Dear sir:

I was recently accused of, and ticketed for, running the red light at the intersection of Keating and King’s Highway while eastbound. Since I had done no such thing, and was fortunate enough to have a witness, I went to court, defended myself, and was acquitted.

I have been rear-ended three times stopping for yellow lights and am actually extremely careful around traffic intersections.

I went straight home, took out a stop watch and a camera, and did some research. Firstly, like everyone else in the Fort, I normally anticipate the yellow light when I see the red hand start to flash on the pedestrian crossing signal, start to slow, and have no particular problem in stopping for the red.

The reason for this is that our traffic signals are set up so that the longest yellow in town lasts 2.9 seconds and the quickest takes 2.7. This is almost a second shorter than the intervals in International Falls, but does not present a problem as long as we can see the pedestrian signal, if that is present.

Driving east from the lights at Canadian Tire towards Perth’s, a sign has been added to the top of the Latter Day Saints church sign, which blocks the sight line to the pedestrian signal from the highway.

My view, and O.P.P. S/Sgt. Dennis agrees when I consulted him after the court hearing, is that traffic signs are for motorists and pedestrian signals are for pedestrians.

It actually takes four seconds to cross the crossing in question at 40 km/h. The yellow lasts 2.9 seconds. This is an angled crossing and is the longest intersection in town. If you are directly under the first light when it goes yellow, the second light will be red when you pass it. If you are behind another vehicle, spacing yourself so that you can stop if he does, and have a vehicle behind you, it is almost impossible to do a smooth stop without encroaching upon the intersection, which is itself an offence—for which you may be ticketed.

If you stop quickly and the motorist behind doesn’t, there will be an accident—and I have had three severely-damaged vehicles to prove the point.

What the law requires is that you stop on the yellow light if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, then you continue. There is no other purpose in having a yellow light.

It is unfortunate that Perth’s parking lot provides a hiding place for those police officers who equate policing with issuing tickets. With the present set-up, they can hardly lose and while I am one of the mildest men on the planet, I do object to being set-up.

No matter what you do at normal speeds, you must go under one red light at the change of signals. If you stop by normal braking, you will be into the intersection. If you speed up, they can get you for speeding. What more could a ticket lover ask?

Any police officer really interested in traffic safety just has to park in full view.

The traffic engineering of this crossing is appalling. I have asked Roy Avis and S/Sgt. Dennis to take this to town council and get our yellow lights set to proper intervals. In the meantime, the present set-up is unfair to motorists, who should not have to rely on pedestrian signals as traffic signals.

I would urge anyone else who has been ticketed at traffic lights to take the case to court and defend themselves. Perhaps, if the judges send a message, someone will act on it before there is another accident at some town intersection.


B.T. Johnstone

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