A Spokane city councilman who opposed installing red light cameras at city intersections was hit by a red-light runner last week, but that hasn’t changed his mind about the need for the program.
“She didn’t run the red light,” Bob Apple said. “She just didn’t see it. I’m just glad she wasn’t hurt.”
Apple wasn’t hurt in the crash either, he said. But the Public Safety Committee member was issued a citation for no proof of insurance, according to Municipal Court records.
“My card was outdated,” Apple said. “Farmers Insurance will be paying for my car.”
Apple has been skeptical since the Photo Red Program was proposed in 2006 by the Spokane Police Department.
Police argued the goal was to stop red-light violators and “prevent collisions resulting from red-light runners,” said Spokane police Sgt. Eric Olsen, a commander of Photo Red.
Apple questioned its impact on traffic flow, saying it would get worse. He was also concerned it would cause more collisions, rather than reduce them, as some studies had shown.
In this case, the councilman contends what happened to him isn’t the reason the red light cameras were installed. His understanding is that a person is a red-light runner if they try to squeeze through a light, but don’t make it.
Olsen said: “It doesn’t matter the reason why a person runs a red light, if they run it, it’s a violation.”
Photo Red has been up and running since Oct. 1 at three intersections, southbound Browne Street at Sprague Avenue; northbound and southbound Division Street at Francis Avenue; and northbound Hamilton Street at Mission Avenue.
So far, more than 650 drivers have been warned or cited. Drivers are fined $124 for the violation, but it is not reported to their insurance.
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