Cyclerides.com Weekly Update
11/5/08
 

Greetings Riders,
 
Well, the election is finally over and I am glad of that. Now we can get on with our life outside of politics. When we voted yesterday, the line was 50 minutes long, but as I stood there and moved what seemed like what was a foot per minute, I couldn't help but think how proud I was that we live in a country that I am freely allowed to cast my vote and be a part of the political process. I'm sure there are people in other countries that would stand in line for 10 hours to have the opportunity to do what we take for granted. With a clear and decisive win for Barack Obama, we have a President that has promised to bring our country back together both politically, economically and socially. While I don't agree with all of his ideas, he is now our President Elect and I welcome him the opportunity to solve the problems that are before us now by optimistically giving him my support. He is one of the smoothest political speakers that I have ever seen, you can't help but like the guy. I just hope that he is a positive force for moving this country in the right direction. We will soon see if those speeches were political promises or action words. If we give him a chance and he doesn't measure up, then it will be time for criticism. 

What is Photo Radar? 

The Presidential election is on the mind of everyone in the United States and around the world. But locally, for those who drive on Arizona freeways, the subject of Photo Radar cameras have been the hot water cooler topic lately. You can barely speak to anyone that doesn't have a Photo Radar story to tell already. A common response is "I was doing 65 mph and I got flashed!". Or, "I was going down the 101 today and a guy slammed on his brakes right before the camera, these things are going to cause accidents". Or maybe this one, "I was doing the speed limit and a guy came flying by me and it flashed both of us, did I get a ticket?". The war stories, the myths, the questions and complaints are sure to grow over the next several months as the rollout of more than 100 of these stationary and mobile Photo Radar Speed cameras make their way across the state.
 
By now you have probably seen the "Eye of Big Brother" staring down over the freeways waiting to record your driving indiscretions. The debate about the motivation of the State to institute this type of traffic enforcement will go on forever. Is it to reduce traffic accidents and save lives on the highways as DPS suggests, or is it to add millions of dollars to the Arizona treasury as our Governor is excited about? The answer to those questions will be decided in your own mind and history will soon confirm. The purpose of this article is to help you understand how this technology works and to present resources to help you answer the above questions.  
 
How does the Stationary Photo Radar work?
The first thing you will need to know is that the correct term is "Stationary Photo Enforcement Cameras" it is not actually "Radar". 
So if you are thinking that your radar detectors will pick this up, think again. Without getting into major detail, your speed is actually gauged by running over 2 separate wires that are imbedded into the pavement approximately 48 inches apart. These wires contain sensors that gauge the amount of time that it takes your tires to go from Primary Wire #1 to Primary Wire #2. (See actual installation on Loop 101) Once the computer gauges that your speed is 75 mph or above, it will engage the camera to instantly take a picture of the front and back of your car identifying the driver of the car and recording the license plate. At the same time it will engage the video camera to time stamp approximately 4 seconds before the sensors and 2 seconds after. The photographs, video and recording of your speed will all be presented to you with a charge of $181 for speed in excess of the posted limit. 
 
As you can see by the above illustration, the process is repeated exactly on each lane of traffic. To further verify that the speed is correct, the 2 rectangles that you see in the pavement after the Primary Wire also gauge your speed the same way. If all 3 readings are within 1/2 mph of the other 2 readings, the ticket will be submitted by the computer for review.
 
How does Mobile Photo Radar work?
Mobile photo radar is actually radar. There is a radar gun, video and 2 cameras installed in a mini van or SUV.
These units will set up on the side of the road or median in random locations throughout the state. The radar gun is set up at an approximate 22 degree angle from the vehicle to the road. Now you might ask, how far away will the mobile radar gauge my speed? With the angle of the camera, if you are in the lane furthest away, it might see you at approximately 100-150 feet away. If you are in the lane closest to the unit, it might be 50 feet. The result with the mobile camera is that it can only accurately gauge one car at a time. So if there are 3 cars coming through at exactly the same speed, and your nose was out front at the 22 degree angle, you would draw the short straw. The same result occurs when the computer sees a violation. The cameras will snap your photos front and back and video will be captured before and after the flash. The video, photos and speed will then be sent in for processing.
 
Radar detectors will work with this type of photo radar. The problem is that the angle of the radar gun is so narrow that by the time the radar detector goes off, your speed has already been registered. Most people with radar detectors rely on another car in front of them getting checked by radar and it will give them enough time to slow down before the cop sees them. With this method, due to the angle of the radar gun, it gives you very little advanced warning.
 
Where will the mobile units be?
The mobile units will be sent to construction zones, freeway interchanges, and areas with a high number of serious collisions related to speeding, according to a DPS press release.
 
How many Photo Cameras are there?
DPS has currently ordered 100 units with another possible 70 in the next year. There will be 60 stationary cameras and 40 mobile units that will be dispatched throughout the state by the end of the year. Click Here for Locations.
 
How about fair warning?
Fair warning is part of the plan.
By state statute, there are 2 yellow signs that look like this. One must posted 1/2 prior to the camera location and the other 300 feet from camera. 

At what speed does do you actually get a citation?
The camera snaps your picture at 10 mph over the speed limit.
So on the freeways in a 65 mph zone, you will get a ticket at 75 mph. This leaves us with a 9 mph grace.
 
I saw a flash, when will I know if I will get a citation in the mail?
Once the photo is taken, it will be reviewed by a DPS certifier
to see that they can positively identify your face and license plate. If both of those can be positively identified, a citation is processed and mailed within seven days of the violation. If either one cannot be positively identified, the infraction will be deleted.
 
What happens after I get the citation in the mail?
A notice of violation will come to your mailbox with with a number on it. You can take that number and go into the DPS Photo Enforcement web site, enter it in and view photos and video of your violation. You have approximately 3 weeks to pay the fine. If you do not pay the fine by the date listed, or refute that it was you driving the vehicle, the state can send a process server to serve you the citation in person. If that happens, you will pay the fine and the server costs. If you choose to fight the ticket, you can google for help in that area.
 
Someone else was driving my car and it got a photo ticket. Am I responsible for that?
According to DPS Director Roger Vanderpool quoted in the Associated Press, Vanderpool said "as a matter of integrity" vehicle owners should identify the speeders, but that the owners don't have an obligation to do so. 
 
What is the cost?
With fine and taxes
it comes out to $181.
 
Will it add points to my license or be reported to my insurance company?
No. Not for a civil violation which is less than 20 mph over,
it will not add points to your license or be reported to your insurance company as long as it is a civil violation. If it is a criminal violation which is 86 mph on the freeway, it would be reported.
 
Why do we have Photo Enforcement?
 
Per DPS Officers:
I talked with 2 different DPS officers
that are directly involved with bringing photo enforcement to our state. They both said unequivocally that it was for safety reasons and to reduce serious accidents and fatalities due to excessive speed on our freeways.  It's not like they personally get a cut from the proceeds. The reason that they are placed where they are is to slow down and control traffic into junction and congested areas. They are also placed in historically high accident areas and construction areas. Photo enforcement was mandated by the legislature to the DPS to institute this program statewide. Click Here for FAQ's regarding speeding statistics at the DPS website.
 
Per Governor Napolitano:
Revenue to the state and safety. Unfortunately it appears that it is in that order as well.
It seems as though the speed cameras got on the fast track to reality by Napolitano when she was presented with the estimate that the state could net $90 million per year from the Photo Radar program while the state was faced with a $1.7 billion deficit. I personally think it will be much more than a $90 million windfall for the state. If these cameras were being installed truly for Safety reasons, they could run them at a break even business or earmark it for a civic purpose. Napolitano told the Tribune editorial board she’s interested in safety — but that there’s nothing wrong with making money, too. Hmmmmm..... Makes one wonder what the true motivation is. Seems like the quote should have read more like this: "This will be a great money maker for the state, and if it happens to make things safer that would be great".
 
Here is how the numbers could work out. If you have 100 cameras that click a conservative 1 good photo per hour, per day, times $181 per ticket, that would equate to over $158,000,000 per year in gross revenue. One report that I read said that one mobile radar van had clicked over 100 photos by 8:30am one morning.
 
Cyclerides Commentary:
After talking with DPS officers and reading the Governor's comments, I think there are 2 separate motivations to these cameras.
I firmly believe that the DPS believes that these will make the roadways safer. They don't personally make money off of them anyway, and some were even adamantly against making them a profit center for the state as it sends the wrong message to drivers. But one of the DPS officers made a comment that resonated with me that is hard to argue with. He said, "I have been doing this for 21 years, and until you have to go knock on the door and tell a family member that their loved one has been killed in a traffic accident, it is hard to understand how we feel about saving even one life on the highways." The flip side to that is the state tacking on the extra money to make it a profit center diminishing the fact that safety is the primary concern.
 
Does Photo Enforcement Work?
History will have the answer to that over the next year. But for now it appears that it is.
According to the Arizona Republic, a nine-month study by Arizona Department of Transportation, DPS, Scottsdale, and Reflex Traffic Systems analyzed traffic data from an 8-mile section of Loop 101 lined with photo-enforcement cameras. Data showed that average speeds went down by about 10 mph; side-swipe crashes fell by 58 percent; single-vehicle crashes fell by 71 percent; and total injuries decreased by 40 percent. 
 
As one DPS officer said it to me, "mere physics will tell you that a car is easier to roll doing 75 mph than it is 65 mph, and basic control and reaction times are better at slower speeds. Dr. Washington from ASU also did a study that showed decreases in accidents and fatalities. The interesting part of his study showed that traffic actually moved faster from point A to Point B due to the fact that the flow was more consistent with everyone going the same speed. They actually point out that travel times to work were faster due to fewer accidents and congestion. Click Here to Read. It is very long but down at the bottom is a summary.
 
Cyclerides Closing Commentary.
First of all, let's get the legalities out of the way before we talk about the method.
The bottom line is that we live in a nation of laws. And the laws for limited speed on the freeways in the Phoenix area is 65 mph unless otherwise posted. If we choose to break any laws there are circumstances and penalties that we have to pay. Speeding on freeways is no different. You can and will be cited for exceeding these limits by various methods. So it is our choice if we are going to obey the current limits, or take our chances outside the limits.
 
I cannot say that I am a fan of having Photo Radar enforcement on the highways. There is a distinct element involved with this technology that just doesn't feel right for a lot of people. They do seem to create a certain amount of stress while driving through these areas. Even if you know you are going the correct speed, there is always that "Oh Crap" moment that hits you when you quickly look to your speedometer to make sure that you haven't inched above the legal limit. And there is of course that anxiety when the camera flashes and it wasn't for you, but you spend the next 7 days waiting for the ticket that never comes combined with the paranoia that the camera might make a mistake and stick you with a $181 citation. There are also many more civil right, flash in the eyes, etc. reasons that people have against this enforcement.
 
All of that being said, I have say that my personal experience in the short while that they have been on my side of town is that traffic does seem to flow better and it did seem to be less stressful driving due to the fact that there wasn't major fluctuations in speed. However, early on, we will have to contend with those who will not be familiar with the cameras and will be slamming on their brakes just before. I don't mind staying within the limits posted on the freeways, it seems to be fast enough especially if we bite off a piece of the additional 9 mph that they are going to give us, but I'm sure that if I inadvertently creep above 75 and get flashed, I not going to be real happy about it. But at the same time, like in the good ole' days, it could just as easily be delivered to me in person from a real live DPS officer if I am not obeying the posted speed limits.
 
So at this point, we are going to have to decide if we are going resolve to the fact that we are going to have to slow down, or fight the system and end up with our lunch money being put into the general fun and allowing our Governor to spend as she sees fit. As for me as a motorcycle rider, I do tend to think that if traffic flows smoother, and we can reduce the number of drivers quickly changing lanes to drive at high speeds, not seeing us in their side mirrors, and reducing the brake lights from the rubber band effect of uneven flow, it will be a safer place to be on 2 wheels or 4. If you believe the report by Dr. Washington at ASU, your commute can actually be faster at the slower speeds due to less accidents and smoother flow.
 
Once again, I am not a fan, but I can see some positive results. It will take a while to get used to it, but after it becomes familiar, we probably just slow down and won't give it another thought. That is until that time we are daydreaming and creep above 75 mph at the wrong time and get busted. That is the part that bothers me the most. The penalty for the unintended consequence. 
 
Click Here for a complete report of How Photo Radar WorksFor you with inquiring minds, this will be interesting.   

Click Here for Dr. Washington's Study on the driving effects of Photo Radar.

DPS Photo Enforcement web site.

Click Here for my previous Red Light Photo Enforcement article Part 1 and Part 2.

For other articles search Google for "photo radar Arizona".
 
**This information was compiled with information available to me via the internet and interviews. Do not use this information for any legal circumstances. It is for informational purposes only.
 


Highlights This Week
 
NEW!! First Night Tonight!
Sandbar Mexican Grill Wednesday Bike Night.
Ride by the Sandbar Mexican Grill this Wednesday night
for Great Food, Music and Fun. $5.00 build your own burritos and $2.00 beer.
Click Here for Photos 
 

November 6th - 9th
8th Annual Rocky Point Rally
It is that time of year again. The popular Rocky Point Rally is next week.
Never been, maybe want to go? Watch This Video! 



Bike Nights This Week 

Wednesday Night 

NEW!! First Night Tonight!
Sandbar Mexican Grill Wednesday Bike Night. Ride by the Sandbar Mexican Grill this Wednesday night where the patio instantly sweeps you away to a tropical island paradise as thatch and tin roofs cover the bar. Sit on one of the many high topped tables on the sandy beach or sit at the palapa bar outside and watch TV while listening to music. Or go inside to the dining area featuring a huge bar with 30 HDTV's to choose from around the room all decorated in an island beach theme. Sandbar has a great menu of Mexican food and will be featuring build your own burrito's for $5.00. Choose any ingredients you want off the menu, pack them into your burrito all for $5.00. There will also be $2.00 off ALL Drinks which makes domestic bottles $2.00 and Margarita's $3.00. Ride by this Wednesday night to check out the Sandbar Wednesday Bike Night. Motorcycle Parking Only will be blocked off in front of the restaurant. Click Here to see Photos and details.  Click Here for Sandbar Web Site. 

Thursday Night 

Chester's Harley-Davidson Bike Night at Dos Gringos Mesa. Ride by the New Dos Gringos Mesa located on the northwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline in Mesa.  Dos is sure to make an impact and add some flare to the east valley. Enormous patio, complete with its own outdoor bar and separate dining areas on each side. Dos is a casual neighborhood hangout with great food and cold cervezas. Feel free to dine at one of our four tops, relax at one of the booths lining the edge or just belly up to the bar. Click Here to View. There will be drink and food specials and Raffles and Fun from Chester's Harley-Davidson. Ride with Chester's from the dealership at 5:30pm every Thursday located at 922 S. Country Club Dr. in Mesa. 480-894-0404.
 
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures. 

This Week 

November 6th - 9th
8th Annual Rocky Point Rally
It is that time of year again. The popular Rocky Point Rally is next week. Never been, maybe want to go? Watch This Video! This is annually one of the most fun events of the year. It is hard to explain why. Not much riding, but a lot of people watching, just hanging out and a good time. Riding through The Malecon is a spectacle all in itself. If you are going, I would suggest getting your rooms reserved now. Here is a link to get your reservations. A lot of the rides and activities that have been done in the past will be done this year. Click Here for Agenda. Most activities will be at Playa Bonita or on the Malecon this year. One little event that I am really looking forward to is that Mogollon will be doing a concert ON THE BEACH Saturday night behind Playa Bonita. That will be fun!

**Don't forget to bring candy to throw to the kids at the Parade on Saturday.

**A new place to hang out in Rocky Point is the Camel Toe Cantina, Bands Daily, Dancing on the bar is encouraged! Just off of Calle 13 about 2 blocks from the Penasco Del Sol Hotel.

Thursday:

"Mystery Cards Poker Run to Mexico". Starts at Flores Chevron in Why, AZ.

"Welcome Party" at Hacienda Las Fuentes.

Friday:

"Mystery Cards Poker Run to Mexico". Starts at Flores Chevron in Why, AZ

"Cinco Estrellas Rollin the Dice Resort Ride"

"Rally at the Playa" - Playa Bonita Resort

"Friday Night Bar Hop" - Desert Oasis, Sandbar, Camel Toe Cantina

Saturday:

"Fiesta on the Malecon" - Bike Show, Music & Activities

"Rally at the Playa" - Playa Bonita Resort.

"Hacienda Moto Parade" - Red Cross to the Malecon. Bring Candy to Throw to the Kids of Rocky Point.

"Concert on the Beach" Featuring MOGOLLON at Playa Bonita's Beach at 8pm.
 

Friday and Saturday
November 7th and 8th
Attention Race Fans!
Arrowhead Harley-Davidson Race Days with the NASCAR Simulator. Have you ever dreamed of being out on the track driving your own NASCAR? Well, if your name isn't Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhart Jr., this might be your only chance to experience what it would be like to taking a lap at 180 mph around the track. Stop by Arrowhead Harley from 1pm - 7pm on Friday November 7th or on Saturday, November 8th from 11am - 5pm to test your skills on the NASCAR simulator. There will be an MDA Beer Garden on Saturday from 11am - 5pm with proceeds going to MDA. Tier discounting will be available on Friday and Saturday only. Spend $75 - $250 and get 10% off. $251 - $500 get 15% off, $501 and up get 20% off. Arrowhead Harley-Davidson is located at 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Blvd. in Peoria, AZ, Just S. of 83rd Ave. and Bell Rd. 623-247-5542.
 
Saturday, November 8th
Darrell Ashford Jr. 7th Annual Charity Poker Run. You are invited to the 7th Annual Charity Ride in memory of Darrell Ashford Jr. to some known as TANK. Darrell loved to have fun & was a very giving person, he always gave to the homeless by serving dinner at a shelter or just giving them a few dollars at the corner. The ride will start at Chopper Kings & Paint Shop at 10:30am sharp located at 3232 W. Virginia in Phoenix. Your $25 donation entry will include Ride, a T-shirt (while supplies last), lunch at Steel Horse Saloon, entry to Mckenna’s and 1 free raffle ticket. The winner of the poker run will win $1,000 in cash and the Worst Hand $100.00. We would also like you to know trucks & cars are welcome.  The 1st person is $25.00 the second person will be $10.00. (all Cars must follow BEHIND bikes). We will be having a BIG raffle: Airline tickets, hotels, restaurants,
massages, house appraisal, Diamondback tickets & many more items. Over $3,000 in raffle prizes.
 
Sunday, November 9th
George Aponte Benefit Ride. The following is from Harold Fischer at Chandler Custom Cycles. Don’t know if you ever met George. He had a liver transplant (partial) 10 years ago and because of the medication he was on he couldn’t get back into the normal workforce.To help out, I had him working part time in the shop. He is one of the most personable people you could ever meet---loves everyone and everyone loves George. Given the current situation, we are having a benefit ride for him to help raise some money for a very expensive operation. George has been given a thumbs up by both his liver doctor and the transplant surgeon to go ahead with a second transplant. George is officially listed and is in "waiting" mode.  In addition, George has a breathing disorder known as HPS and is on oxygen.  The good news is that HPS puts him higher on the transplant list, and hopefully it will be a relatively short wait! Registration 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Chandler Custom Cycles – 1 block south of Elliott Road on the east side of Arizona Avenue. Donation Minimum of $15.00 per Person. Last Stop at 12 Noon. San Tan Flats in Queen Creek. Door Prizes, Free Lunch and Soft Drink. For Information call Harold Fischer at (480) 497-3573.
 
Sunday, November 9th in Tucson, AZ
1st Annual Ride With Ryken. To benefit the MISS Foundation. Ryken Everett was 3 months old when he passed away due to SIDS. Click Here for Story. Ride starts at Trident Grill located at 2033 E. Speedway in Tucson, AZ. Sign In begins at 9:30am. Last bike out at Noon. Riders $20, Passengers $15. Additional Hand $10. Final Stop at Montgomery's Grill and Saloon located at 13190 E. Colossal Cave Rd. in Vail, AZ. Door Prizes, Pig Roast, 50/50, Live Music and More. All Bikes Welcome. 

Extras 

You have heard the saying "living on a wing and a prayer". This is the perfect title for this video. This is one of the best videos that I have ever had in the newsletter. I have watched it at least 20 times in total amazement at the talent of this pilot. Click Here to View.
 
Watch this video for the downside to and outdoor poolside wedding. Click Here to View.
 
Since we have been talking about speeding tickets. Here is a good way to turn a routine traffic ticket into some jail time. Click Here to View.
 

Until Next Week,
Blessings and Safe Riding To All,
 
Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"
www.cyclerides.com
info@cyclerides.com
 

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