Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Orange County Speed Trap - 24 Feb 2011
"Orange County Speed Trap - 24 Feb 2011"
Olympus E-3 with Zuiko Digital 50-200mm
1/320s, f/6.3, ISO 100, 200mm

Orange Counties finest were out again at the intersection of Corporate and Quadrangle Blvds (just like they were on February 10), running yet another speed trap. I captured this on the way from Research Park back to Lake Lynda Drive. It turns out that Orlando is ranked seventh in the number of unique speed traps. This comes from "America's Worst Speed Traps." I whipped up the little chart below showing the top ten cities, and Orlando's unique standing.

Top 10 US Speed Trap Cities (Speed Traps/City)
RankCitySpeed Traps
1Houston, Texas373
2Austin, Texas189
3Las Vegas, Nevada187
4Colorado Springs, Colorado186
5Jacksonville, Florida175
6Denver, Colorado165
7Orlando, Florida165
8Dallas, Texas156
9Chicago, Illinois153
10Los Angeles, California151

The article had this to say about Orlando:
You're less likely to break the speed limit on your daily commute than you are on vacation, where you're in a strange place and don't know the laws or the speed traps, Dornsife says. So, Orlando, home of Disney World and Universal Studios and Sea World, benefits from a steady stream of tourists—and revenue from speeding tickets.

"Orlando definitely has speed traps," said Amy Mariani, a former traffic reporter for Clear Channel Radio. Some of the worst ones, she said, are Colonial Drive (State Route 50), where the speed limit constantly changes, the Beachline (State Route 528) as motorists drive west from the airport (That's right, they get you straight from the airport!) and I-4, especially downtown near the Millenia Mall.

Plus, Dornsife says, Orlando was one of the early adopters for red-light cameras—they were using them even before state laws allowed them to. In the first three months, he says, the cameras here generated 700 tickets.

And, they're tough: One motorist noted on that officers on motorcycles often snag motorists in a short school zone for doing three to four miles over the speed limit.
I've seen the state troupers running the speed trap on I-4 around Millenia Mall. And I fell prey to one near Orlando International in 2008. I don't doubt that SR-50 provides all sorts of opportunities for speed traps.

As for the free-wheeling ticketing in or near school zones, I remember in December 2010 when I almost got a ticket; I was driving through a school zone on Dean, at the intersection of SR-50 and Dean, when a sheriff's car showed up on my right side, with the sheriff yelling at me to pull over. His lights were on, but no siren. Since I was in the left lane, next to the turn lane, I pulled into the turn lane and he pulled in after me.

What apparently got the officer so excited was I started to accelerate (according to him) too quickly in the school zone. I sort of sat there in a state of shock, because, well, I wasn't. According to the officer he had "zero tolerance" for speeding in a school zone, "not even 1 or 2 miles/hour over 25."

I apparently wasn't responding in a way he thought appropriate and he insisted on giving me a ticket. I eventually started to function again and explained that I was quite surprised by this (I was), and just kept any additional comments to myself. This apparently calmed the officer down, who then left because he had a "higher priority call" to attend to. I don't know how many years I've driven through that intersection, yet here was the first (and only) incident of its kind.

These are the irritants that will drive people to less than co-operative with a given police force. And the police wonder why, and complain about it.


These are the locations of the red-light cameras I know of. If you know of more, please leave in the comments section.

Orlando Red-light Camera Locations
Wallace Road and Turkey Lake
View Larger Map
Conroy Road and Vineland Road
View Larger Map
West Kaley Street and South Division Avenue
View Larger Map

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