Vigilantes wearing yellow vests have not let up as their unprecedented assault against the use of speed cameras in France continued into a third week. While protests have centered on the new global warming tax on gasoline, the yellow vest movement’s push back against photo enforcement is conveyed most effectively in the impact on the French national budget. RTL Radio calculated that speed camera revenue has dropped 15 percent since the beginning of the year, despite the nationwide lowering of speed limits on July 1. As the government’s budget had been counting on collecting 1.2 billion euros (US $1.4 billion) this year, the net loss could total 180 million euros (US $200 million). While French Interior ministry officials have asserted the slowdown in profits is related to drivers slowing down, the revenue loss matches the number of speed cameras that have been disabled. The current estimate is that 600 cameras are out of service, which represents one-fifth of all the fixed photo radar devices in the country. The experts at Radars Auto have put together a list of all the cameras destroyed since the yellow vest protests began.
The damage tallies vary by location. France Bleu observed that one-half of the automated ticketing machines in the Mayenne department are no longer fuctioning, with the most recent incidents in St. Christophe-du-Luat, Saint-Fort and Asse-le-Berenger. In the Haute-Loire department, France 3 found two-thirds of the cameras were disabled. France Bleu counted 15 out of 27 speed cameras in the Landes department as being out of order following the burning of cameras on the RD30 in Laglorieuse, on the RD947 in Castets and in Saint-Vincent-de-Tyrosse on the RD810. Four cameras were bagged or painted on the RD824 and three were painted on the RD947 in Mimbaste, on the RD934 in Saint-Gein and in Lacquy on the RD933. Garbage bags blocked cameras on the RD30 in Mont-De-Marsan and on the RD933 in Castaignos-Souslens. Two cameras were blinded on the A63 in Saugnacq-et-Muret and Solferino, plus two cameras in Tyrosse and Maylis. The same publication noted 22 out of 24 speed cameras in the Manche department were out of service by Friday. France Bleu also found 19 out of 23 cameras were taken out in the Dordogne department. As of Thursady, the same publication noted most of the speed cameras in the Pyrenees-Orientales department were disabled by being covered, painted or burned.
Less Destructive methods
The yellow vest protests even spread to beyond French borders. In Walcourt, Belgium, Sud Info found the speed camera on the N5 covered with a yellow vest. The same happened on the Caribbean island of Martinique on Tuesday, as the automated ticketing machine on the ring road was covered, according to RCI.
A more creative individual in Bouzonville last week Monday covered a speed camera in a red blanket with a sign reaading “Winter is coming, remember to cover our radars which work so hard throughout the year,” Le Republicain-Lorrain noted. On Saturday, a thick layer of cardboard boxes was taped to the speed camera on Boulevard Gambetta in Marmande and the camera on the RD93 in Labastide-Castel-Amouroux, according to Le Republicain Lot-et-Garonne. On Friday, the RD14 speed camera in Lamballe was covered by a trash bag, Ouest France noted. On Thursday, a garbage bag covered the camera on the D107 in Dijon and on Wednesday the ring road camera was painted yellow, K6 FM reported. Around the same time, the speed cameras on the N6 and D33 in Essonne were covered by trash bags, according to Le Parisien. Along the A16, speed cameras in Calais, Boulogne Sur Mer and Grande-Synthe were covered with yellow vests, according to Radio 6. Le Telegramme counted five attacks in Lorient and Quimperle, including the trash bagging of the frequently attacked Kerdual camera, the covering of the camera on the D781, the yellow vest used in Cleguer and attacks on two cameras on the RN165 in Quimperle. On Thursday, the speed cameras on the A23 in Valenciennes was ripped out of the ground, La Voix du Nord observed. Bags also covered three red light cameras in Dijon on the Rue d’Auxonne Rue Chevreul and Boulevard des Bourroches, according to Le Bien Public.
On Friday, red paint covered the speed camera on the Rue Des Petits Fosses in Argentan and a garbage bag covered the camera in Silly-en-Gouffern, Le Journal de l’Orne observed. Blue paint also covered the speed camera on the D673 in Saint-Marcel around the same time, according to Le Journal de Saone et Loire. On Wednesday, the speed camera on the D1083 in Kogenheim was covered by a trash bag, and on Tuesday the camera in Matzenheim was painted red while the Kertzfeld camera was burned, L’Alsace noted. Around the same time, gray paint blinded the camera on the N3 in Meaux, La Marne found. Colorful black, blue and white graffiti decorated the A31 speed camera near Dijon, L’Est Republicain reported. On Tuesday, orange paint took out all of the speed cameras on the RN57 in Mercureaux, Aubonne, Mamirolle and Pontarlier, L’Est Republicain revealed. L’Yonne Republicaine counted five cameras disabled in Yonne last week Monday, including on black paint for the D606 in Villevallier, a garbage bag on the D606 in Champlay, posters in Saint-More on the D606 and pink paint in Valloux. In Montlucon, blue paint covered two cameras on the RD2144, according to RJFM.
On Sunday, L’Independant reported that yellow vest protesters set the speed camera in Saint-Hippolyte on fire. On Saturday, two speed cameras on the RD946 in Vouziers and Remaucourt were destroyed by burning tires, L’Ardennais observed. Around the same time, the RD700 camera in Plaintel suffered the same fate, according to Le Telegramme. The Pont-de-Belrupt speed camera in Haudainville also was set on fire, L’Est Republicain found. On Friday, the camera on the RD817 near Tarbes went up in flames, La Depeche revealed. So too was the RN31 camera in Muizon set alight, L’Union recounted. On Thursday, it was the mobile camera in Bainville-aux-Saules that was torched, according to Vosges Matin. On Tuesday, the D513 camera in Bavent burst into flames, Le Pays d’Auge explained. In Blois, vigilantes torched the speed camera on the D952 last week Monday, La Nouvelle Republique reported. A nearby photo radar unit on the same road in Grouets was spraypainted. Around the same time, the speed camera on the N7 in Beausemblant was torched, Le Dauphine noted. Centre Presse noted that a speed cameras burned last week Sunday on the D741 in Villedieu-du-Clain, on the N10 in Vivonne and on the A10 in Poitiers. In Ferrieres-en-Bray, the D915 camera was ripped to pieces, L’Eclaireur revealed. In Gace, the speed camera on the RD438 was completely destroyed by fire, Le Reveil Normand found.
Unrelated incidents in other countries
In Mpumalanga, South Africa, vigilantes have once again torched a pair of speed cameras located on the R40, according to Mpumalanga News.
In Queensland, Australia, a speed camera on the Bruce Highway failed to prevent a massive accident. Sunshine Coast Daily explained that a car rear ended a big rig truck that in turn smashed into the speed camera near the town of Landsborough. A similar accident involving a speed camera being destroyed by its failure to prevent an accident Sunday on Northcrest Way in Manurewa, New Zealand, according to NZ City.