Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sykesville Residents Overturn Speed Cameras

On Tuesday May 4 2010 the town of Sykesville became the first municipality in Maryland to overturn speed cameras by a popular vote. The town council voted 5-1 for an ordinance authorizing speed cameras with the support of the town mayor. The measure was forced to a referendum when town resident Chris Martin and supporters collected signatures from over 15% of the town's residents in less than 20 days. Out of 529 votes cast, 321(60.6%) voted to repeal the ordinance.

The town government of Sykesville had approved 2 mass mailings to 'dispel disinformation' about the cameras and argue the council majority's position paid for with public funds. Petition supporters countered by deploying signs and hand distributing their own flier, paid for by Sykesville residents with private funds.

Photo Enforcement programs have consistently lost at the ballot box whenever voters have had the opportunity to decide on them directly. This result is contrary to polls typically publicized by governments supporting the cameras; for example the insurance industry back IIHS report in 2008 on Montgomery County's program claimed that 62% of residents support speed cameras. The Mayor of Sykesville had previously stated he believed town residents either supported the cameras or were evenly split. So far referendums have taken place for speed cameras and/or red light cameras in Sulphur Louisaiana, Chillicothe Ohio, Steubenville Ohio, Peoria Arizona, Batavia Illinois, Anchorage Alaska, Heath Ohio, College Station Texas, and Arlington Texas. In every case voters have decided against the cameras.