A not-so-voluntary donation to the City of Chicago

Recently, I made two $100 donations to the City of Chicago.

But, um, they weren’t exactly voluntary donations. My car seemed to have become a movie star when I was caught on camera twice, at the same intersection, slightly in front of the line turning right on red. There goes $200 of my hard-earned money.

I think it’s a flaw in the design of the intersection. When you stop at the line as you get off Lake Shore Drive at Belmont going south, you can’t see the cars coming from your left driving westbound on Belmont. I get off Lake Shore Drive every day at that place, so my car has been trained to move past the line to see who’s coming from the left.

Am I totally guiltless? Probably not. I likely should have come to a full stop first at the line, and then proceeded forward. But is it egregious enough for me to have to shell out $100 twice? Maybe.

See the videos below for yourself. It’s a good thing the City of Chicago uploads these videos online – maybe my car will be famous. Apologies for the poor quality that resulted from videotaping my computer screen with my camera – apparently the City of Chicago doesn’t want to make it easy for alleged offenders to upload their videos to YouTube for their friends to judge.

I guess I learned my lesson, and I compliment the City of Chicago for allowing me to see what happened.

To help me sleep at night, though, I’ll just think of all the great things the city I love so much could do with my donation – feed hungry children, find homes for lost puppies, paint ugly bridges with bright sparkles. Or maybe they’ll just use it to install more red light cameras to catch more vicious criminals like me.


8 thoughts on “A not-so-voluntary donation to the City of Chicago

  1. In neither situation did you come to a complete stop, not to mention you rolled forward significantly past the line before even slowing to a rolling stop. In essence, you broke the law and now you’re being fined for it, in such a way that generates revenue for the city, makes you a safer driver, and costs the city less in that they don’t have to pay a cop to be there. In any case, you did break the law. It’s not fair to complain that if a cop had been there, he might have let you off; you violated the rules nonetheless.

    The cameras in Houston, to the best of my knowledge, don’t show you the video online, so this is a neat feature.

  2. Gotta agree with the guy up there. Both videos were examples of shoddy and unsafe driving. In fact, it looks like you could have hit the westbound car because you didn’t come to a full stop. I think you deserved both those tickets.

  3. These are some harsh comments. As someone who has also been given the opportunity to provide the city with some additional revenue, the video made it impossible for me to deny that I blew the light. (Mine were for running the red light, not your relatively less significant violations)

  4. Seth, not sure how your comment defends her actions? These videos also make it clear that she didn’t obey basic driving rules and in fact was damn near to a collision because of how far past the line she rolled. While running a red light is idiotic and unsafe to a more severe degree, Lia’s turn could just as easily have led to more serious damage. It’s no wonder women get a bad rep as drivers….

  5. Anon, your post makes perfect sense until you get to the last sentence.

    Women? If you have two examples where Lia made mistakes, that doesn’t generalize to all women any more than we can judge that Jews, caucasians, Americans, or humans are bad drivers from watching those two videos. We don’t know how frequently Lia makes mistakes driving.

    Nobody’s perfect, and people are known to judge themselves as better-than-average drivers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon_effect#Driving_ability).

  6. Well the fact that she could watch that video and still put up any kind of defensive stance is what amazes me. I think (and tell me if you disagree) that it is glaringly obvious that her driving was not at all safe. It’s that blatant obliviousness that I think is why people think that women are bad drivers, and this is just an example of that.

    That being said, I agree that might have been an overstatement.

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