Madison red light runner, SUV/bicycle collision - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Madison red light runner, SUV/bicycle collision

MADISON (WKOW) -- Exclusive video WKOW-TV obtained from the City of Madison - Metro Transit, shows a vehicle driven by state lawmaker Fred Clark running a red light and colliding with a bicyclist on a downtown Madison street.

Rep. Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) is due in Madison municipal court September 22, his first court appearance, after being cited for running the red light.

The fifty nine seconds of video from August 18 comes from the on-board camera of a metro bus on N. Webster Street.  Officials said the bus was out-of-service, with only the driver in the bus.   The video begins as the bus driver approaches the intersection of N. Webster and N. Hamilton streets, stops at a red light and waits for the light to change.

On the video, the light changes to green, the bus' engine revvs, and a bicyclist passes the bus and enters the intersection.   Nearly three seconds after the light change, Clark's SUV enters the intersection and slams into the bicyclist. 

The cyclist was Richard Rideout, 56, the Department of Natural Resources' Urban Forest Manager.  A family member said Rideout is a regular bicycle commuter and avid cyclist.  UW Hospital officials told 27 News Rideout was released from the hospital this week.  Rideout's family has not commented on his injuries, or his prognosis for recovery.

Clark has yet to respond to phone calls and e-mails from 27 News, seeking comment on his version of what happened. 

According to police reports, there is no indication alcohol or drugs were involved.

Last year, Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) and other lawmakers proposed legislation to allow municipalities to set up red light camera systems, also known as photo enforcement, under certain conditions.   Some studies have shown moderate reduction in red light violations and crashes as the result of installation of photo enforcement.   The legislation stalled.

Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) doubts photo enforcement would create a deterrent to red light running.  "It's a matter of attentiveness of drivers,"   Kedzie told 27 News.   "(It's) Not so much about the red lights, but what individuals are doing while they're driving."

Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison) supported the legislation, but is skeptical of legislative approval of red light cameras.   Berceau told 27 News some studies have shown an increase in rear end collisions when intersections are equipped with photo enforcement.

But Berceau said she's concerned about red light running, and so are her constituents.  

"I've seen so many people, including city of Madison buses going through (intersections) when it's already red.   I'm surprised we've been lucky as we have been, not more people have been hurt."

Spokesman Jeff Agnew of the Washington, DC-based National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running said in 2007, almost 900 people were killed and nearly 153,000 injured in crashes involving motorists running red lights.  

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