This week, the traffic lights in the city of San Diego (California) will begin to take action—affirmative action. “In the past,” explains traffic commissioner Melissa Pruett, “too many of our traffic lights were not sensitive to bicycles waiting at an intersection. As cyclists are legally required to wait at stop lights, these maladjusted lights gave them the choice of waiting until a motorist came along, or going through the red light, which, while technically legal—a light which won’t turn green is clearly defective—is not very safe. To make up for this injustice, we have now readjusted all traffic lights to turn green only for bicycles.” Teresa C. Miller, citizen advocate for bicycle rights, spoke in support of the new regulations:
This has been a long time coming. All it would take to make a light respond properly to cyclists is proper calibration, and the fact that this has not been performed is a symptom of the blatant and systematic prejudice against cyclists which we have suffered for so long. While a complete solution to the problem of motorists would involve banning motorists from all roads, this is a step in the right direction, and we hope that other cities will take note and follow suit.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) has threatened the city with legal action, opposing the new regulations as “fundamentally un-American.”