12/10/2018French Speed Camera Revolt Intensifies
Speed camera casualty total rises to 870 across France while Dutch anti-camera activists decorate photo radar for Christmas.
A decade ago France decided to mandate that anyone driving in France carry a government-approved, high-visibility yellow vest within easy reach from the driver's seat. That health-and-safety mandate is today a rallying symbol for those protesting the anti-motorist policies of President Emmanuel Macron. An Ifop poll released Friday found that two-thirds of the French public remained sympathetic to the "yellow vest" cause that kicked off with opposition to the global warming tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, along with the lowering of speed limits enforced by photo radar (view poll in a 700k PDF file).
The public's pushback is once again being felt by the automated ticketing machines. Auto Plus has raised its estimates of the total number of speed cameras damaged or destroyed since July from 600 to 870, while Le Parisien noted that French government declined to provide an official tally of the number of speed cameras destroyed for fear of encouraging vigilantes to intensify efforts.
In the Vendee department, a pair of cameras in Bellevigny were torched, as was the camera on the RD 937 near Belleville-sur-Vie. Trash bags covered the ring road camreas in La Roche, and a photo of Macron blinded the speed camera on the RD747 near Saint-Vincent-sur-Graon. As of Tuesday, only one in five speed cameras in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments was able to issue a ticket. Simply by disabling the A16 camera at Calais for a month deprives the government of 756,000 euros (US$857,000) in revenue. In the Seine-et-Marne department, 22 out of 28 cameras no longer function. Likewise, only one of the 26 speed cameras in the Puy-de-Dome department was capable of issuing tickets as of Wednesday. The only functional camera in Royat had spraypaint cleaned from its lens on Tuesday. In Creuse, 10 out of 15 cameras are down. Correze fared better than most departments with only 6 of 21 speed cameras affected as of Friday.
Less Destructive Attacks
RCI reported that speed cameras across Guadeloupe, an archipelago in the Caribbean, are being covered with trash bags, tarps or other material to keep them temporarily blinded. Garbage bags also kept red light cameras on the Boulevard du 8-Mai and La Rue Ernest-Perochon in Saint-Jean-de-Thouars from ticketing motorists. Festive vigilantes in Vic-en-Bigorre celebrated the season by covering the speed camera on the RD917 with a Christmas gift box labeled "Joyeux Noel." In Tinchebray, the camera on the RD924 was bagged. The device had been set up on Tuesday and was no longer able to issue tickets by Friday. In Yssingeaux, a large green trash can was used to cover the RD103 speed camera, but vigilantes also added orange paint to the lens to keep it from issuing tickets again easily.
On Tuesday, yellow spraypaint blinded the speed camera in Arras. A gallon of yellow paint was also dumped on the automated ticketing machine in Sainte-Sigolene, while orange paint was used on the RN88 near Monistrol-sur-Loire and black for the camera in Bas-en-Basset. Last week Monday, the speed camera on the RD7 in Mathieu was both covered in a plastic bag and spraypainted yellow.
On the Caribbean island of Martinique, vigilantes on Friday put the speed camera on the N6 in Le Francois to the torch, followed on Thursday by the RN2 speed camera in Bellefontaine being set ablaze. Likewise the A16 camera in Saint-Leonard, which had recently been wrapped in bubble wrap was set on fire last week Sunday.
Back on the continent this Sunday, the charred remains of a trio of speed cameras were found on the RD1084 in Amberieu-en-Bugey, the A42 near Lyon and on the RD20 in Saint-Vulbas. On Saturday, vigilantes used burning tires to destroy the speed camera on the RD946 in Vouziers. The same thing happened to the automated ticketing machine on the N4 in Bannost-Villegagnon.
On Thursday, vigilantes set fire to the speed camera on the RN88 in Severac-le-Chateau. On Wednesday, flames consumed the mobile speed camera on the N79 in Charolles. Similarly, the camera on the N5 near Yves-Gomezee was set on fire that evening. On Tuesday, intense flames took out the speed camera on the RD1062 in Mertzwiller. The speed camera on the RN141 in Lavigerie was roasted following the weekend torching of the D1000 camera in Soyaux. In Quimper, the RN165 speed camera found itself scorched, as did the D900 camera in Perpignan. In Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan, the RD248 speed camera was set ablaze. Last week Monday, the RN88 speed camera in Saint-Chamond -- a frequent target of attacks -- was completely burned. On the day before that, the speed camera on the A16 that had recently been covered in bubble wrap has now been torched. On the previous day, the speed camera on the D700 in Plaintel was burned.
In Culemborg, The Netherlands, two vigilantes on Wednesday dressed in the purple garb of Zwarte Piet (a traditional character in the Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas' Eve) so that they could cover the speed camera on the N320 in a wrapped, cardboard gift box, preventing it from issuing tickets, CulemborgZO reported.