Boston wants to increase fines on red-light-running bicyclists; bicyclists outraged

The Metro reports on a request from Mayor Menino to the state legislature to increase fines for red-running bicyclists from $20 to $150.

Boston Biker says fine, but only if the city does the same for pedestrians:

If you passed a law giving police the ability to write $150 j-walking tickets, you could go downtown on any given weekday and solve the state budget problem. Not only would this make pedestrians more likely to follow the law, but it would make everyone safer (not the least of which the pedestrians themselves). I can't count the number of times I have almost been knocked off my bike by a pedestrians walking out from between parked cars.

Meanwhile, the Boston Cyclists Union is urging Menino to file another home-rule petition, to cut the speed limit on all local roads to 20 or 25 m.p.h., in the wake of Monday's fatal crash involving a bicyclist. Union Director Pete Stidman says:

Though we have no access to the details on this crash while police are investigating its cause, one sure way to reduce fatalities for both cyclists and pedestrians would be to reduce speed limits in Boston to 20 or 25 mph and enforce them well in areas with high foot traffic. We know that the 30 mph speed limits in the city of Boston are set higher than most major cities in the U.S. And American cities on average have higher speed limits than the most bike-friendly cities in Europe, which often limit speeds to around 20 mph. According to the UK Dept of Transportation, at 30 mph a pedestrian or cyclist strike has a 45 percent chance of causing a fatality, whereas at 20 mph there is only a 5 percent chance of a fatality.

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Comments

Before the comments devolve

Before the comments devolve into the standard battle involving bikes on here, I will say that I read Boston Biker's full post on his site. It's very reasonable and he has no problem paying the increased ticket fee. The excerpt above makes him sound like a disgruntled bicyclist so I urge people to read the whole thing.

Srsly?

I get outraged by stuff sometimes. I don't consider it a judgment on my character or anything if someone notices this and describes it.

Menino can kiss my red light

Menino can kiss my red light running arse.

He would better apply his time to figuring out why so many urban residents are getting the shaft from bus drivers lately.

You know if our public transit really worked barely anyone would need to drive OR bike in this city.

Demand actuated lights

There are some instances where cyclists have no option. Some lights are demand-actuated, via an inductive loop in the road. Aluminum and carbon fiber bikes don't kick this off. Cyclists can sit there for days waiting to get a green light.

No need to walk bike

The only red lights I knowingly run on a bike are the demand-actuated lights. I have even had to run them on my Italian motorscooter (150cc, therefore legally a motorcycle).

Do you expect me to walk my 250 lb scooter across the street? I shouldn't have to walk my 20 lb carbon fiber bike across the street either.

Motor vehicles cause 99% of pedestrian injuries.

No one should run red lights, doesn't matter what you're driving or riding. Both are a major danger to pedestrians. Your comment is incredibly selfish.

What are you basing your comments on? Are you an expert in traffic safety? Did you do any research to come up with "bicyclists are a major danger to pedestrians"? Or is this just "common sense" that someone cycling at about the same pace as a runner (of which there are hundreds of thousands in Boston) represents a mortal danger?

And...let's all think back. When's the last time we read in the paper that a pedestrian was injured in any way, much less killed? Not in recent memory. Yet here we are in January, during the time when ridership is at its lowest, and we've already had one cyclist death.

When NYC kept track back in the 80's, they found that cyclists were responsible for something like less than 1% of pedestrian injuries. The remainder? Motor vehicles. Now, pay attention and read this very slowly: the more people that ride bicycles, the fewer cars. And you're much less likely to be seriously injured by a bicycle than a car. Which means you're safer as a pedestrian when a greater percentage of the overall population rides instead of driving.

The person most at danger when a cyclist runs a red light...is the cyclist themselves. When their life is at risk and they still do it, it's pretty stupid to think that a $150 fine is going to change that. What's next? Fining people who jump off bridges or step in front of trains?

Cyclist runs red light

causing motor vehicle legally entering intersection on green light to suddenly sverve or stop to avoid said cyclist, resulting in either:

Sideswiping vehicle in adjacent lane or,

Following vehicle rear-ending driver.

Either scenario results in property damage and possible injury to people driving either or both motor vehicles, regardless of whether cyclist is hit.

And the best part - cyclist is unregistered and uninsured, so they cannot be held accountable for financial and other impacts of accident they caused.

Now, what were you saying about a cyclist running a red light harming only themselves?

First off, your tone is

First off, your tone is unnecessary. Secondly, it's called common sense. If a bicyclist hits a pedestrian, that is going to hurt the pedestrian, probably injure them quite a bit. I never equated the danger from a car with the danger from a bike. Nor did I equate the risk. Instead of lashing out like a child, look at what I actually said next time. I'm not anti-bike in the slightest, I think Boston needs to do more to be bike friendly. But as someone who walks around downtown everyday, I do have a problem with anyone running a red light period, and I have seen more near misses by both cars and bikes than I could possibly recount.

Not a bad idea

I wouldn't mind increased fines across the board - drivers, bikers, pedestrians - but how ridiculous is yet another unenforceable law?

Since we're not (yet...) required to carry our papers - unless exercising the privilege of driving a motor vehicle - every pulled-over biker might well ride off with a citation made out to Lance Armstrong and every pedestrian can be Spartacus, for all the police can prove.

Now if they make sociopathological jaywalking and bicycling insanity arrestable offenses ... well, that would also help curb Boston's college population, at least until we can get the draft back up.

OK

Honestly not trying to be a complete smartass, but suppose Officer Eeka pulls me aside for jaywalking. I identify myself as Wendell Willkie but I have no ID on me, apologies, Your Grace, lost my wallet, dog ate my DD214, passport stolen in the Emirates... Does she

A, write me a ticket under the name of Wendell Willkie, because the name sounds legit to her?

B, arrest me, because she's a history buff, on suspicion of failing to identify myself? (a charlie-foxtrot if it turns out that is my real name, of course)

C, give me a 20-second scolding and send me on my, she hopes, non-jaywalking way?

D, at some point, very early in the day, stop bothering to pull over every time she sees a jaywalker, because it just ain't worth it and there's serious crime to deal with?

Paging Pete NIce...

I'm not a cop, so I'm not sure, but they have those laptops in which they can look up records, so they could look up whether the name and date of birth and whatnot you're giving them is matching up. I suppose they could ask you something to verify who you are. Or, if they had reasonable suspicion that you were messing with them, they could detain you based on that.

What I wish cops would do with jaywalkers, idiot cyclists (note: I'm referring to idiot cyclists here, not referring to all cyclists as idiots) is at least stop and ask them to please obey the rules of the road. Based on how human behavior works in general, this would change quite a lot of behavior, just as the current system of the cops not giving a flying fuck about what pedestrians and cyclists do creates the condition where they do whatever the fuck they want. I can't TELL you how many times I've seen cops stop and wave people across who are crossing against the light or towing a toddler across the middle of a four-lane road in the middle of a block nowhere near the crosswalk. Oh, or the detail cops on Dorchester Ave who will walk several yards away from their detail to STOP TRAFFIC for someone who is pushing a baby carriage across the middle of the street instead of going down to the crosswalk and waiting for the (working) walk light.

I don't care whether cops write them tickets, but at least act as if there are laws and ask people to change their behavior, and for fuck's sake don't send them the clear message that the cops are more than happy for you to endanger your child in the middle of the road and that the walk light is just there for a decoration.

Yea the laptops can look up registry information

Basically you would ask them basic questions that could verify someones identity. Do you have a drivers license or MA ID? (the easiest question that you can ask and verify info). Once you become a wiseass and give a fake name and the cops figure out its not you (cops will have about 100 questions to figure out who you are once you start with a few lies), you can be arrested with giving a false name or refusing to give your name (And date of birth)

Criminals/gangbangers with warrants though have about 3 real peoples names and dates of births memorized so when they get stopped they can tell the cops they don't have an ID on them but can give cops info that would come back to a similar looking person around the same age.

The problem with boston is that jaywalking is almost a culture. If you really wanted to start enforcing it, you would need to up the fines, and prepare for some jailcells to be open for the first few weeks for all the wannabe law school students who will refuse to stop, give you their name, or tell you that they are "mickey mouse" and then get arrested for it. Imagine what would happen if another David Woodman came around and jaywalked illegally but then resisted arrest and died after refusing to give the cop their name?

I can't tell you the amount of times I've talked to people about walking or biking illegally. 99% of the time the people don't say anything or give a quick "sorry" and continue on their way. It is almost a lost cause at this point because of the $1 fine.

so maybe you can't give a wrong name....

... but can't you give no name?

my understanding is that masachusetts does not have a stop and identify law on the books. the closest we have is Chapter 90, Section 25, which requires you to provide ID if you are operating a motor vehicle or involved in a motor vehicle infraction. but if you're not in a vehicle, i am not sure what law compels you to identify yourself?

Right

They can stop you and ask you to identify yourself if they see you do something illegal or seemingly illegal or if your behavior/description makes you a good suspect for something. They can't stop you for no reason or a not-very-good reason.

No it is in the statute:

Chapter 90, section 18:

A police office taking cognizance of any such violation may request the offender to state his name and address. Whoever, upon such request, refuses to state his name and address, or states a false name and address or a name and address which is not his name and address in ordinary use, shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty nor more than fifty dollars. Any such offender who refuses upon such request to state his name and address may be arrested without a warrant; but no person shall be arrested without a warrant for any other violation of any provision of this paragraph or for any violation of any provision of any such rule.

A lot of these public order crimes have stuff like this written in (spitting on a public way, drinking in public, etc).

That simple

I'm pro-bike, but I think this is a pretty fair. In fact, I think you're allowed to be irritated that they dented your hood/smashed your windshield in the process.

(And honesty guys; how about enforcing the red lights for *cars*? It would be like shooting fish in a barrel if the police set up near the intersection of Comm and Colburn in Brighton. Press the walk light, write up a few tickets, repeat.)

Oh totally

I can think of a number of intersections too where they could write tickets for the people who sit and blare their horn when you won't turn right on red, including some where are "no right on red" signs. Also certain "shortcut" roads where people will pass you going 50, sometimes on the right, on what's supposed to be a two-lane residential street.

Oh, and for pedestrians, they could pick off jaywalkers just about anywhere, but the best place is near South Station at about 5:00. SWARMS of suits rushing across the road against the BIG RED HAND while the cars have green lights.

Thats right, what happened

Thats right, what happened when i was on my bike going through a green light and hit by a cab going through a red hmm... oh yes the police didnt want to help and the driver was never cited thats right.

Also its foolish for people to suggest that if i ride by bike through a red light across an open street its wrong but if i get off and walk it across said street thats ok? please. Id like to meet the bostonian who only walks across a street at cross walks and when they have the signal, even if there are no cars to be seen.

How about increasing the

How about increasing the fines and enforcement for all traffic scofflaws? The city would be much safer without speeding, driving/riding through red lights, jaywalking in busy districts, and driving/riding the wrong way down one way streets. Given how crappy our drivers/bikers/pedestrians are the revenue stream would probably solve the city's empty coffers for awhile.

I'm all for it

On my bike, I'm usually the only one I see waiting at the reds. I do, however, cautiously proceed during during the Walk sign though, so I'm not 100% innocent.

I wish they would address other areas, though. I'm sick of dodging pussies on the sidewalk, who travel at the speed I do while on the road. I also cannot stand salmons, and am just going to start playing chicken with them. I'm a big fat ass, and I wear a helmet, so I like my chances.

Me too

I'm with you on it. However, I'm just mad that when it was $20 they never enforced it. The fact is, don't go through a red light. If we want to be taken seriously, this is what we have to do.

Bike Salmon

It's a term coined by NYC Bike Snob, a very famous bike blogger.

Think hard about what salmon are best known for, and how that might apply to bike-piloting road users.

Adam, your headline is unnecessarily inflammatory

I think that anyone who reads the Boston biker post linked will note that the post is generally pro-fine and pro- enforcement, and the comments on that post largely agree. The quotes you pulled are also not very representative of the overall post. I personally don't have much problem with jaywalking, I think that bikes need to look out for pedestrians like cars need to look out for bikes. And the jaywalking laws (or enforcement of the auto laws) are irrelevant to the bike law. If the law says stop, I stop. If I run the light, I better have a good enough reason to convince a cop not to give me a ticket, or I will suffer the consequences.

I personally am fine with a 30 MPH speed limit as long as it is absolutely enforced. Unfortunately people think that 30 means 35 or 40, especially on the few wide and un-interrupted roads. Having such speedways (like Arlington at Tremont) on the borders of residential and high density pedestrian neighborhoods endangers everyone who is is not encased in steel and swathed in airbags.

I'm OK with this as a cyclist.

Listen, I ride everyday..and I'm proud of not being boxed-in on a T or a lame car. However...$150 will certainly get me to stop at EVERY red light (which I already do). The problem I have with this is that at $20, I never saw it enforced or had it enforced upon me. The jump doesn't bother me, its the fact that just because its worth more to the city now, they pay attention.

If they want it to be about safety, then they should have done it at $20 as often as I think they will at $150. Now, they just look as if they are attacking us for the money side of it and the city should just say 'you got me, you're right' and I would be happy.

I will still stop at red lights...not because I don't want to pay $150, but because I like living far too much.

Metro article/MassBike response

I'm glad to read this and other responses from cyclists. They had David Watson of MassBike whining about this and calling it unfair and "anti-cycling," as if following SET LAWS was anti-cycling. It was pathetic.

I'm well aware that many cyclists feel like they are above traffic laws (the "attitude"), but I was really hoping that others didn't feel this way and the editorials for the next day reassured me that Watson's opinion wasn't the accepted opinion in the cycling community. Cyclists wrote in in support of the increase.

really? How many do you know?

I'm well aware that many cyclists feel like they are above traffic laws (the "attitude"),

Really? Do you actually know any? Have you talked with them about it? Because most of us just want to use the road without being turned into a blood spot on the road because you're not paying attention to piloting your car, or you're driving like a jackass.

I'm not in support of this increase, because it will have no effect, is a solution in search of a problem, he hasn't even bothered to suggest what he's trying to accomplish much less prove how it would do so, and because Menino has a thousand other things he could use his legislative clout for to improve cycling safety.

I'm not against enforcement on cyclists, but I'm in favor of enforcement of traffic regulations for motor vehicles first and foremost, because they represent the greatest danger to everyone - other drivers, people using public transit, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Fines are fine, with equal enforcement

Here is a much better quote from Boston Biker:

The one and only way this law could be bad is if the police go out of their way to target only cyclists. This would demonstrate that this law is simply a way to drive cyclists off the streets. Seeing as how there is almost zero traffic enforcement (of any kind, for any road user group) we shouldn’t worry about this.

I agree it's unlikely, but then again, we get the occasional Globe "journalist" who decides to make a ruckus about 100% of bikes violating the law, so who knows, there could be a push for selective enforcement.

For the record, I'm a cyclist who does not always follow the law (pedaling through a red after stopping is something I do from time to time) just as I am a pedestrian who jaywalks, and a driver who speeds and holds a liberal view regarding when a light actually has turned red (if I have an into the intersection, it's still yellow). Massholes are massholes at all levels of transportation. But if upping the fines and then enforcing them leads people to change their behavior, I'm all for it.

Pedestrians aren't bikes.

Pedestrians aren't bikes. Different modes of transport different rules. My main problem with urban bikers is that they want to behave like pedestrians behave but they're more akin to motor vehicles.

While I agree that different

While I agree that different forms of transportation aren't equal, I would challenge your statement that bikes are closer to vehicles.

They may be able to move as fast as a slow moving vehicle, and might be allowed to use the road, but bikes have none of the safety of being in an enclosed metal cage which doesn't require balance, nor is affected by small changes in road conditions.

Pedestrians and Cyclists are connected to their environment. Drivers are shielded from theirs.

do so

I've been walking in the street for the past 3 weeks or so, since so many sidewalks between my apt and the T are unshoveled and/or iced over. At least the streets have usually been plowed and salted.

I disagree, Seth.

A bicycle is a vehicle, whether one believes it or not, and therefore, cyclists are subject to the rules of the road just as much as cars, trucks, buses, etc., are, which is the way it should be. The fact that people on bicycles aren't enclosed in the protective metal cages underscore why that should be.

Typical bicycle advocacy: "We

Typical bicycle advocacy: "We want all of the privileges (and more if possible) and none of the responsibility. If forced to take responsibility, we want other groups fingered as well so that our image of moral superiority is not tarnished. P.S.: A bike crash is never the bicyclist's fault, and bicyclists always break laws for excellent public safety reasons."

Bicycles are vehicles using public ways. They should be registered, plated and insured, and their drivers should carry state-issued ID. They should be lauded for reducing car madness, and they should be punished if they break the law.

But nay. Bicyclists tend to either be anarchists who demonstrate their philosophy in their riding manners, or rich yuppies who think they're above laws and are probably right. Either way, most of them are recreationalists who do not ride for at least a third of the year in this snowy northern city, and no one likes their recreation regulated.

so how's that been working for us so far?

Typical bicycle advocacy: "We want all of the privileges (and more if possible) and none of the responsibility.

No. We want the right to use the road without being placed in mortal danger by other road users.

Bicycles are vehicles using public ways. They should be registered, plated and insured, and their drivers should carry state-issued ID. They should be lauded for reducing car madness, and they should be punished if they break the law.

Yeah, 'cause requiring registration, plates, and insurance has worked brilliantly at solving motor vehicle safety issues, hasn't it.

The reason motor vehicles require registration, licenses, plates, and insurance is because vehicles represent a significant danger to the public, and they require infrastructure, so the state collects money from them (excise tax, gas tax, etc.) A cyclist does not represent a significant danger to anyone but themselves, other cyclists, and very rarely pedestrians.

No country, including those with massive bicycle-using populations, requires any of what you describe...

Way too much bureaucracy that solves nothing

They should be registered, plated and insured, and their drivers should carry state-issued ID.

Ahhh yes, the old "they should be licensed and registered" argument pops up every time in these discussions, usually by someone who just doesn't think it thru. The only thing this would accomplish is create more hack state jobs.

Tell me, what would some little plate accomplish, and where would you even put it?

City Gov one-trick ponies

The auto-bicyclist fatality while tragic was inevitable regardless of what the auto speed limit is posted or what fines are levied against red-running cyclists.

Arroyo, Consalvo and Menino are one-trick ponies whose only solution to changing public-safety related behaviors is to increase fines such as fines for insufficient sidewalk shoveling,improper pit-bull restraint and red-running bicyclists. Fines by themselves are inadequate measures to change public-safety related behaviors in a city with 645,169 residents plus commuters.

I wonder if it's a fair assessment to state fewer cars obey the 30mph speed limit in Boston than adhere to it. What do you think? The problem may not even be the speed but minimizing the risk of collision - albeit, they are related. Drivers are busy getting to where they want to go and cyclists don't have steel protecting them from collision when they have to share the road.

Societies committed to bike use as a mode of transportation understand that making cycling safe is essential and that requires, separate parallel routes wherever possible, clear right of way rules and due consideration between drivers and cyclists, cyclists and drivers.

A lot of work has been done to in Denmark and the Netherlands to understand how to make cycling a safe mode of transportation, even in densely populated cities. The solution are not cheep but they do work. It requires investment but it pays off.

For starters, in addition to punitive measures such as raising fines or lowering speed limits, city government has to figure out how it can get the public engaged in the solution.

Myopia

When you don't enforce laws, you increase crime of many sorts. People start to feel that laws don't matter, the cops don't care, and their fellow residents don't give a rat's ass either. Think of it as anarchy light.

(Also, they could make enough money to hire lots and lots of cops if they'd enforce traffic laws. There've been times when I've been driving where I can literally rattle off a couple times a minute "that person would get a ticket for doing that in a nit-picky suburb, that person would get a ticket for doing that..." I mean really, if they wanted to send a message for people to just be a little more safe and a little more respectful, a cop could drive around all day and ticket people who don't come to a complete stop at stop signs. Or people violating the noise laws with their stereos and the modification laws with their buzzing mufflers and blue headlights.)

Pete Stidman is a moron

"We know that the 30 mph speed limits in the city of Boston are set higher than most major cities in the U.S."

NYC (the largest city in the entire country) speed limit: 30MPH.

"And American cities on average have higher speed limits than the most bike-friendly cities in Europe, which often limit speeds to around 20 mph."

Right, there couldn't possibly be any other considerations other than "those Europeans are SMART about SAFETY!" Like their roads being narrower, less traffic thanks to better public transit, significantly higher population density (same land area as the US, but at least twice the population.)

"I have no idea what actually caused the collision, but I'll throw out my uneducated 'common sense' opinion anyway. Everyone KNOWS that speeding is dangerous!"

Look Pete, I really don't care how fast someone goes past me while I'm on my bike. I care that they are attentive while driving, follow ALL the traffic laws, and pass safely (ie, give me enough room).

You might care how fast a car is going...

...if you happen to get hit by it.

As we can see from dozens of studies, each analyzing thousands of crashes, vehicle speed as well as posted speed limits has a significant effect on survival rates. It's just a fact. So while it may not bother you to think about speedy cars next to you, I'm sure you would not choose to have a car that's about to hit you floor the accelerator rather than hit the brake. Common sense.

Simply quoting NYC's speed limit does not negate the fact that most cities are indeed at 25 mph. And despite the work that has gone on there, NYC is not yet a model of bicycle safety. Several cities in Europe are, and their transition to 19 mph speed limits has been documented to have significantly reduced fatalities and injuries.

Also it is clear there are also a lot of differences between Europe and here, but how pedestrians are injured by cars is not one of them.

So, we can rely on our anecdotes and "feelings" to make decisions on speed limits and their effects, or we can read up on the research and make an informed decision.

Red-light running cars

When are they going to do something about the sheer number of cars that blow red lights? They pick on bicyclists instead? I mean, I'm annoyed when a cyclist almost hits me that way, but the cars are much worse.

The masshole drivers even blow red lights when the other side is jammed up, and they just sit in the middle of the intersection blocking cross traffic -- and even blocking the trolley. The cops just stand around and twiddle their thumbs. I see this all the time at BU Bridge. Just last week I waited, packed like a sardine, as the green light cycled 3 times before we could proceed.

Before increasing fines on pedestrians how about making the intersections more pedestrian friendly? The reason why people jaywalk in this town is because the walk signals are so infrequent, and the intersections are so confusing. If traffic is stopped, why isn't the walk signal on? Why doesn't the walk signal come on more often than once every 20 minutes? I know lots of intersections you could ask these questions about. There's places with heavy foot traffic where the walk signals simply haven't worked for months, that I go every day.

Menino doesn't care about pedestrians.

which was it?

The masshole drivers even blow red lights when the other side is jammed up, and they just sit in the middle of the intersection blocking cross traffic -- and even blocking the trolley. The cops just stand around and twiddle their thumbs. I see this all the time at BU Bridge. Just last week I waited, packed like a sardine, as the green light cycled 3 times before we could proceed.

Did they not cite people for blocking the intersection or did they not let you block the intersection?

I've yet to see them cite people for blocking the intersection

Most of Dudley Square, in front of the police station, is a clusterfuck around 4pm. The cops pulling out in their cruisers will either sit there, sometimes blocking the intersections themselves, or will flash their lights to pull through the blocked intersection and then proceed at a normal speed without flashing lights once they're out.

People here are idiots regarding this law, and I regularly have people honk at me and sometimes even GO AROUND ME when I won't block an intersection. Seems like that could rack up several fines alone.

You mean you don't see it during rush hour

when there is absoutly no place to pull anyone over for gridlock. Look at the D-14 stats for gridlock citations and then talk.

The BU bridge is another issue. The State Police are supposed to monitor/pull/hold traffic at the circle in Cambridge. The Boston Police are supposed to prevent gridlock on Comm Ave and the Bridge, and at Comm Ave and University Rd, and another cop at Carlton St. at Mountfort St.

When a truck backs up in Cambridge, the entire street backs up including those who are coming from Cambridge and want to get onto Park Drive towards the Riverway. There is simply no where for cars to go.

Or ANY OTHER TIME

They'd find somewhere to pull someone over if they saw a car on the wanted list, right?

I drive throughout the day, and I never see people getting pulled over for blocking the intersection. I do see cops block it frequently. Mass Ave headed toward 93 is a good one too, at the last 3 or 4 streets there. Lots of intersection blocking at all hours, lots of cops, never any pulling anyone over. Fields Corner too. Oh, and Ashmont, where there are three or four detail cops most of the time.

I-

-think what we're all missing here isn't that bikers are bad. I wait for each-and-every red light I come across and I have been hit TWICE by motorists who didn't even bother to notice I was sitting at the red light with them. I took off at the green, so did the car, and turned right right into me.
Driving rules need to be enforced much more closely than any biking rules. I'd like to listen to Menino explain this and then ask him in person what to do when you're hit even AFTER waiting for that red light.

My opinion

Bike riders are a problem less than 1% of the time. Very rarely do I find myself driving a car and having to avoid crashing into a bike because of what a bicycle does legally or illegally in front of me. Sure they can be annoying when they drive slow on a narrow road, but all in all bikes going through red lights aren't really an issue imho.

I wait at every single red

I wait at every single red light too and I've been hit once this way, and then once again by somebody turning right on red where they weren't supposed to while I had a green light.
The only time pedestrians bother me (and the most annoying time when I am riding) is when I am riding down Comm ave towards Allston to go home at the end of the day and swarms of jaywalking BU students cut me off while I'm trying to ride. I've taken to yelling "Get out of the way or I'll hit you!" They've been stopping since I started doing that.

Cyclists can be a PITA

but honestly I agree with Boston Biker on this one; Pedestrians walking in the road, crossing against the light, and jay walking anywhere they feel like it is a bigger problem in Boston.

I routinely have to go to Tufts Medical Center, and Chinatown is a nightmare because pedestrians just do whatever they want.

Severe and illogical

Can someone explain to me how two days of wages is a proper punishment for crossing a red light with not a soul in sight? How much damage can a bike do to anyone? Very little.

And as I wrote on that website,

"Cracking down" on jaywalking is an idiotic idea. Jaywalking makes the city safer, not less safe, because drivers expect it and are constantly looking for it. That means they drive slower. It's like traffic calming.

Go to LA, where they do enforce jaywalking, to the point that if the timer says 15 seconds in red and you start to cross because you know it will only take 10 seconds, you get a ticket. Compare the environment there to here. There, pedestrians are a nuisance and must be pushed out of the way. Here, we respect walking.

Jaywalking rules were only invented so cars could go as fast as they want and not worry about anything getting in their way. Is that the kind of city we want?

Also, most people have no idea what jaywalking actually means. People barely grasp the concept of unmarked crosswalks, never mind being able to legally cross if the nearest signal is x feet away, or if you're between unsignalzied intersections.

I think pedestrians have far

I think pedestrians have far more notion of when they can beat a car vs. beat a bike. This is why cyclists find pedestrians far more frustrating than drivers do. (For this analysis, I'm ignoring places like South Station or stops on the B-line, where masses of pedestrians just pour out.) I've seen a pedestrian look down the street, make eye contact with me, and proceed to step out in front of me on my bike under the belief that they can get across before I reach them. 95% of the time they're wrong and I have to swerve to miss them.

I think this is largely due to the variety of speeds at which cyclists go down the road, I'm usually at 15-20 mph. I know there are people faster than me and people slower than me. Cars have a much narrower range of speeds going through a certain intersection, so pedestrians tend to guess correctly with them.

Yes and no

No, I don't think we should ticket people for quickly and alertly jaywalking when there isn't a lot of traffic. Most people do this, and it's a victimless crime.

I do think cops should ticket people, or at least SAY SOMETHING when people are doing the Dorchester Special Passive-Aggressive Jaywalk in which they slowly wander across the road without looking toward the traffic, because then the cars have to stop since they person isn't looking up. Also when people jaywalk in traffic with small children; they should be charged with endangering the child. Oh, and when people walk out at a signalized intersection when they have a BIG RED HAND, but they scream at cars that aren't stopping for them. Usually if there's a cop in sight, I see him/her stop and wave such people across. Why in deity-of-your-choice's name would they do this rather than roll down the window and say "hey, how about you cross with the signal next time?"

You answered your own question

Can someone explain to me how two days of wages is a proper punishment for crossing a red light with not a soul in sight?

If there is no one in sight, who wrote the ticket? If there is someone to see you, you're not as observant as you think you are.

The real answer is, you should obey all the traffic laws all the time so that it is a good habit rather than something you have to think about each time. It's the cutting corners on the law that leads you to bad habits that eventually catch up with you, sometimes fatally.

No matter what the fine, you can avoid it by following the rules. Even when you're a special snowflake who deserves special treatment because you know better than everyone else when it is safe to cheat.