Bakersfield's Red Light Cameras Caused a Panic This Morning

Supporters trying to ban red light cameras and photo radar cameras go door to door in Sheridan to collect signatures for a ballot measure.

Bakersfield's Red light cameras caused quite the panic this morning on the corner of California and Stockdale! It makes me wonder if having them go off would cause an accident just from the strobing lights when it's dark outside.

Here's the story of what happened to me...

Before 5am this morning, on my way into the radio station, I was driving through the intersection of California Avenue and Stockdale. The light was green at the intersection, which is photo enforced...at least I was pretty sure it was. I've never had a traffic ticket in my life, and pay close attention to my driving, so I was completely freaked out when the dark sky lit up with tons of strobe flashes right after I went through the intersection! My heart raced and I was in a complete state of panic and confusion instantly, thinking I ran a red light that I thought was green. I about drove into the median looking back at the opposite light to see if it was green or red. You can imagine how the rest of my drive to work went!

I got to the radio station and all set to start my morning show with panic in the back of my mind that I ran a red light and was going to get a ticket in the mail in a few days. I couldn't take the feeling anymore and had to know if I somehow broke the law, so I called the non-emergency police line to ask. Let me just say that the lady that answers the phone there at 5 am is the nicest person you could talk to. She asked me which direction I was going and what I saw, ultimately confirming that it couldn't have been me that it went off for. It was likely a turn lane violation it strobed for, and I'm in the clear. The panic quickly went away as she explained that she used to personally be in charge of monitoring that intersection and knows those cameras very well.

Given this experience ended up being nothing to worry about (for me, not the other guy I guess!), it brings up questions of safety with red light cameras. There's a few of them around Bakersfield and they want to heavily increase the number of cameras around the city. Do they do more harm than good? Yes, they do make people act as if there's a patrol sitting on the corner waiting to catch people running red lights, but the problem is that everybody crossing the intersection is confused when they go off in their crazy strobing way.

If you've had this same type of experience, please let me know in the comments below. I can't imagine I'm the only one who sees this issue...

Barry Allen

Barry Allen

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