Former Republican Rep. Bryan Nelson has shifted positions on red-light cameras now that he’s running for Apopka mayor, but it’s starting to look like the change wasn’t so much an evolution as it was a total 180.

Nelson was an outspoken champion of red-light cameras when he was in the Legislature, often promoting the controversial devices for improving the “safety” of Florida roads in the face of criticism labeling them as money grabs for local governments.

“Folks that’s safety,” Nelson said in 2010. “That’s what we’re looking for.”

While there wasn’t much research on whether red-light cameras tangibly improved road safety back then, a 2016 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides a heaping helping of vindication for Nelson and the other lawmakers who cast votes in favor of the devices.

That study found cities with the cameras had a 21 percent lower rate of red-light running fatalities than cities without the cameras.

Fast forward to 2018 and Nelson, the one-time staunch backer of red-light cameras, is putting out ads promising to take down every camera in the city if he gets elected.

He makes a couple points. Apopka is a bit out of control when it comes to red-light cameras. From 2012 through 2013 Apopka raked in over $3.6 million from red-light cameras – $200,000 more than the much larger City of Orlando.

And boy does it sting when that $158 ticket shows up in the mail. Maybe that explains why Nelson changed his mind.

So, one red-light camera is enough to flip Bryan Nelson’s mind on cameras. A single $158 dollar ticket made him backflip on years of saying red-light cameras were the price to pay for road safety.

There’s also that study — the same one that vindicated Nelson’s 2010 “safety” claim — which shows cities that have cameras but choose to remove them see their red-light running fatalities spike by a third. Is $158 worth more to him than Apopka lives?

Nelson is running against incumbent Mayor Joe Kilsheimer.

The election is March 13.

One Response

  1. Joseph Washington

    We should be focusing on how Nelson has gone into South Apopka and splashed some paint on a few BLACK homes. And want them to be loyal to him. While dumping 5 million dollars around Lake Apopka. Wow a million of that could have annexed South Apopka into the City. Helping to ease some of the cost the Citizens and the City would have.
    I remember July 7 2016 I asked the Commissioner about annexing Spouth Apopka into the City. And stated as a Commissioner or a Mayor I will not annexed them into the City. So I reminded him about hoe the City sued under his Inlaw Jonh Land for disenfranchisement. He stated that disengagement of those people are acceptable. Because their home were under a 100k and had not taxable value. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At to date he still feels the same way. So how can you be my Mayor and openly Be racist toward my people because of where they live. We need a Mayor to represent All not the few. He annexed his home into the City to run for Mayor but is complicit in denying other.

    Just my opinion as a voter/ taxpayers


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