Half of France’s speed cameras are out of action
More than half of France’s 3,275 fixed speed cameras in France have been damaged beyond repair or vandalised to the point where they no longer work.
French media reports that there has been a sharp increase in the number of vandalised speed cameras following the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Jackets) protests across the country. In some areas, the number of damaged cameras is almost 95%, with 21 out of 22 cameras out of operation in the in the Puy-de-Dôme area. Source: Le Point
France is the number one destination for UK bikers motorcycling in Europe, thanks to an abundance of top quality motorcycling areas including the Alps and Vosges Mountains regions. Although there has been a reduction in the national speed limit for non-dual carriageway roads to 80 kph (50 mph), the vandalism means there could be less chance of receiving a fine from a fixed camera. According to a report in The Times, most of the vandalised cameras are on single carriageway roads.
Fines in France can be punitive, with a fine of €1,500 for breaking the speed limit by 50 kph (approx 31 mph). Any motorist caught using a device that displays speed camera locations, such as a satnav, qualifies for another €1,500 fine. A DVLA agreement with French authorities means UK drivers must pay speeding fines (but will not receive penalty points), which can double if not paid promptly. It usually takes up to eight weeks for a penalty charge notice to arrive.
It is unlikely that all of the vandalised cameras will be repaired or replaced soon. Although minor repairs such as paint removal can cost just €500, replacing a completely destroyed camera can cost between €60,000 to €80,000. 250 cameras are said to have been damaged beyond repair.
Under the current political climate, there are no guarantees replaced cameras would not be targeted again, despite a potential fine of up to €75,000 or five years in prison.
It is thought that the vandalism is a direct protest against the reduction in speed limits, with protestors claiming the exercise is designed to increase the already one billion Euro raised annually by speed cameras in France.
Get yourself sorted:
Of course, the best way to avoid fines is to stick doggedly to the speed limit, making sure your speedometer is 100% accurate…