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Maryland, France, Germany: Speed Cameras Blasted
Speed camera swiped in Maryland, camera caught causing accident in Germany, and French photo radar burned last week.

Spraypainted and burned speed camera
Vigilantes in Montgomery County, Maryland, swiped a speed camera on Friday. The fully automated device had been stationed on the side of the road of East West Highway in Chevy Chase.

Photo radar devices are intended to change the behavior of motorists, but the unintended consequences that can follow from this became clear in Seevetal, Germany. As a 21-year-old motorcyclist approached police officers with handheld speed cameras on Tuesday, the motorcyclist slammed on the brakes and lost control of his Kawasaki Ninja. Accidents like this are not limited to motorcycles, as the BBC aired footage of automobiles that crashed in response to seeing speed cameras (view the shorter clip on YouTube). In Reken, Germany, vigilantes shot a speed camera on February 22. According to local police, the "starbox" (German slang for a speed camera that resembles a starling birdhouse) on the L608 near the B67 junction was found with several bullet holes. Authorities have no idea who might be responsible.

Some 1500 French motorcyclists gathered Saturday in Toulouse to protest the government's decision to turn lane-splitting -- a common practice in Europe -- into an offense carrying a 135 euro (US $163) fine. Event participants covered all of the speed cameras on the ring road in black plastic trash bags to prevent them from issuing tickets. On Friday, the speed camera on the RD20 in Saint-Vulbas was set on fire. Out of the other 27 speed cameras in the Ain department, only two escaped being blinded or destroyed between 2018 and 2020. On Wednesday, the speed camera on the RD971 near Quettreville-sur-Sienne had its lenses smashed, then it was doused with gas and set ablaze. The device was then spraypainted black on Friday. On Wednesday, vigilantes blinded the speed camera on the RD137 near Saint-Porchaire after taking down the 90km/h (56 MPH) speed limit sign that the device was enforcing.

The streak of attacks on speed cameras in the Caribbean island of Martinique continued last week. On Friday, the newly installed pole-mounted "turret" speed camera in the city of Le Lamentin was toppled and torched.

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