Why isn't DPT crowdsourced?

I wish I could just take a picture of the license plate of cars parked in the bike lane or otherwise engaged in obvious jackassery, MMS it to DPT, and cause a ticket to be issued. All the information is there: timestamp, GPS, photo. It could work just the same as red-light cameras.

Someone please make this happen.

I'm coming for you, UPS.

See also: How Long Did This Driver Park in a Bike Lane? A Case Study and See Driver Hit Bike Cop. See Driver Run. See Driver Get Arrested.

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27 Responses:

  1. Jez says:

    To provide a clear incentive for this entrepreneurial citizen-focused approach to law enforcement, you should receive a fraction of their fine as commission.

    I guarantee that illegal parking will plummet. The murder rate will go through the roof, but hey, if that's the price of crowd-sourced mobile-enabled engagement and participation, then it must be good.

  2. Someone in the future read your post to someone in the present... curbtxt.com (who knows, maybe it will work).

  3. Ian Young says:

    The DPT seems to have foreseen your desire to send them emails or call them, and set up a web-form to foil you.

    But they have a Twitter! You could just tweet every parked car @sfmta_muni ! It's like we're living in the future! Now for some centrifugal tumblepuppy!

    • James says:

      I think you are on to something: Engagement happens, but not very often. But check out @sf311 private (DM etc.) with service request tracking numbers.

      See something, tweet something!

      • I've used @sf311 to report downed trees, lack of wheelchair ramps, cars parked in front of ramps, and so on and had good responses. Pretty sure they'd work with DPT on things like this, especially if they got more reports.

        I am starting to wish cyclists had license plate numbers though. I stand a chance of reporting a badly parked or driven motor vehicle because it has a plate number; I can't do anything about dangerous cyclists on the sidewalk or in crosswalks except cuss a lot.

  4. jockm says:

    I would like something very much like this, but — and I am not trying to sound controversial here — I want the same thing for the bike riders who:

    - Fail to signal
    - Cross the street on red lights
    - Ride where they are explicitly forbidden to
    - Angrily yell at pedestrians to get out of the way
    - etc
    I observed all of those first hand in my 27 years living in San Francisco, and my 19 years up here in Portland, OR and all I can say is the problem isn't motorists or bicyclists, but self involved jerks; and they are everywhere...

    • Q says:

      Failing to signal isn't limited to bicyclists, let me tell you.

      I have, however, ridden or driven by someone lying in the road by an ambulance a few times next to their bike while a driver is panicked nearby. Never once have I seen someone on a bike waiting around while someone they just rammed into gets Jaws of Life'd out of a car.

      And I've seen bicyclists get ticketed in Portland, there just aren't cops around all the time.

      Also, never once driving to work, has the highway been shutdown by a bicycle accident. Automobiles, though....

      • jockm says:

        I wasn't trying to say that failing to signal (or anything else on that list) was somehow unique to cyclists. I was just listing the worst offenses I see from cyclists.

        I have personally seen a cyclist knock an elderly pedestrian into traffic where they were hit. I have seen a cyclist be the cause of the accident that had to involve the jaws of life. In the first case the cyclist fled the scene.

        My point is that there is no better side, no side that is more innocent. It isn't about cars or bicycles, or pedestrians, segway riders (like myself), back to the future hoverboardists. The problem is jerks and idiots, no matter how they the locomote. To simply say motorists are the problem (or more of a problem) is to be shortsighted.

        • bmc says:

          Ah, no. Motorists, more of a problem. Cyclists, less. Pretending to be sensibly above the fray doesn't change the facts, boss.

          Also, Segway? Really? Awesome.

          • jockm says:

            Yup for more than three years now. I am disabled and the segway is my main way of getting about. When I bought it I set the trip meter to 0, and 18 months later I worked out my average daily milage: about 4 miles per day. I use it a lot :)

        • reboots says:

          I commute by bicycle and by car. I agree with you completely: jerks are everywhere. Objectivity and compromise--or some means of transcending the fray--are the only way to resolve this polarizing, unproductive debate. Unfortunately people love to be polarized; I think it's a lizard brain thing. Our individual options and choices for mobility seem to be critical components of human identity.

          In Austin the police have a program where civilians can be deputized to issue tickets to vehicles parked in certain high-traffic bike lanes during certain hours. I don't know how much legal weight the ticket carries (actual fine, or just a warning), but you do get a neat badge.

          • jockm says:

            Now that is an interesting solution, and as you say a shiny badge too. I like the idea of crowdsourced solutions that aren't based on vigilantism.

    • GDorn says:

      Yeah, I once saw a biker do something bad, too.

      • jockm says:

        And you could say the same thing about motorists as well. But lets get back to my point: It isn't motorists or cyclists that are the problem. That is like saying guns are bad weapons and knives are good ones — please do not extrapolate this into my opinions about gun control — it is that bad people use weapons in bad ways, accidents can happen with app weapons.

        Again my point isn't that cars are bad, and bikes are good — or the reverse. It is that bad drives (or walkers for that matter) are the problem. It is the people who are the problem.

    • Ben Brockert says:

      Dear lazyweb, is there a name for the inevitable "bikers suxor too lol" reply to any post about misbehaving motorists? It's positively Godwinesque.

      • jockm says:

        For the love of god, did you read what I said. It was "everyone sucks", I was trying to say enforcement for everything needs to be better.

        • Ben Brockert says:

          Yes, unfortunately I did read your non sequitur.

          I expect you also respond to posts about the Rape of Nanking with explanations of how the Chinese did bad things too, to posts about global warming with rebuttals that glaciers are really quite dangerous and ought to be melted, and to posts about politicians lying with how you've seen five-year-olds tell lies as well that need to be punished

          • Chris says:

            Your logic sucks; he's talking about dangerous things that are going on at the same time and are directly related. To fix your terrible analogy, bringing up Nanking in the context of dropping nukes on Japan makes sense.

      • A name for the syndrome would be good. But I already have a good response for it: cars mass 20 times as much and go 2.5 times faster, so they have over 100 times as much energy available to cause mayhem. They need to be 100x as careful, and traffic enforcement should be 100x as focussed on cars.

        • And one could actually argue that enforcement should be 1000x focussed on cars, since they are 10x more common on the road than bikes.

  5. The police in England discourage cyclists actively reporting such things: http://www.bikehub.co.uk/news/sustainability/motorists-careful-youre-being-filmed/

  6. Unfortunately, the only way to establish the validity of the evidence would be for you to show up in court and testify that it is legitimate. As soon as people realise that nobody's going to spend a day waiting to give evidence just to fine that one guy who parked in the bus lane, everyone contests their tickets and the system falls over.

    • Joe Crawford says:

      The Courts and Police must merge and accept mobile evidence. The natural solution is of course The Judges like in Judge Dredd. But only for parking and moving violations. Moving Violation Judge Dredd.

      • gryazi says:

        Actually, as far as I know, if the state shows up with random evidence submitted, it's up to the judge to find it credible or not.

        Over a minor parking fine I would expect the answer to be "I find this credible enough and if you really think you've been Photoshopped pay to appeal." But I am not in the PRCA.

    • jwz says:

      Obviously you don't realize how stubborn I am.

  7. UPS Guy says:

    Screw you, Narc.

    The UPS Guy