1/21/2019French Government Retreats From Lowered Speed Limits
French government signals potential to make more concessions to yellow vest protesters. Speed cameras under attack in Belgium, Germany and Italy.
French president Emmanuel Macron showed the first signs of retreating from the policy he instituted in July that reduced the speed limit on secondary roads from 90km/h (56 MPH) to 80km/h (50 MPH). While insisting the limit was lowered for safety reasons, he suggested to a crowd during a "grand debate" townhall meeting that nothing was set in stone. His administration suggested the limit could go back to 90km/h -- perhaps on a case-by-case basis -- depending on accident data that would be reviewed some time in 2020.
Until the, the Yellow Vest movement has continued to act. Radars-Auto has revised its expert count of burned speed cameras to one out of seven since the beginning of the Yellow Vest movement in mid-November -- 403 out of 2750 fixed photo radar units (excluding red light cameras and mobile units). Two-thirds of the cameras in the city of Rennes are non-functional, and the private contractors hired to process photo tickets are preparing for massive layoffs because of the decline in citations. In Belfort, nine out of nine cameras are currently offline. Three-fourths of the 45 speed cameras in the Pas-de-Calais department are unable to issue tickets. In the Orne department, 12 of 26 speed cameras are down.
On Friday, vigilantes taped a sign across the lens of the speed camera near the police station in Saint-Quentin. The sign read, "Hey Maurice, do you know where you can put your pen!?" In Verneuil, the mobile speed camera had its lens covered with green spraypaint, and then the entire machine was knocked into a ditch. On Tuesday, green spraypaint blinded a pair of speed cameras on the RN7 in La Coucourde.
On Friday, the speed camera in Varennes was ripped apart. On Thursday, vigilantes torched thirteen speed cameras in the Vendee department. In Remouille, the camera on the RN137 went up in flames around 2am. On Wednesday, a burning tire took out the automated ticketing machine on the RN466 in Guewenheim. Around the same time, the camera on the D17 in Montaigut-sur-Save exploded from the heat created by burning tires. On Tuesday, the mobile speed camera deployed on the RN10 in Cloyes-les-Trois-Rivieres went up in flames. On January 14, vigilantes burned the speed camera on the RD1089 in Cornil. In Availles-en-Chatellerault, the speed camera had its cover removed and its wiring ripped out. In Couvrot, vigilantes set fire to the speed camera on the N44 on January 11.
In Belgium, vigilantes throughout the country disabled 33 speed cameras in 2017. New figures show there have been forty attacks on automated ticketing machines just in the Wallonia since the advent of the Yellow Vest movement in France. On January 12, vigilantes knocked the speed camera on the regional road 54 in Latisana, Italy, away from the road, prevening it from issuing tickets On January 10, vigilantes in Wuppertal, Germany, swiped the speed camera that had just been installed on the L74.