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Fury as speed camera traps 8,000 drivers a day
File photo of a French speed radar. Photo: Céréales Killer/Wikimedia Commons

Fury as speed camera traps 8,000 drivers a day

Published: 30 Jan 2013 08:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Jan 2013 08:30 GMT+01:00

Could one motorway speed camera in France be the world’s most prolific? Either way, hundreds of outraged motorists caught in its glare have started an online petition to have their fines cancelled.

The radar, as they are known in France, flashed 8,000 motorists a day near Rennes, Brittany between January 22nd and 26th, bringing in close to €1.4 million worth of fines and leading to a grand total of 32,000 penalty points – the equivalent of 2,666 driving licenses.

This does not appear to be a case of drivers carelessly flouting the law, however. According to regional newspaper Ouest-France the motorists were caught out after the usual speed limit of 110 kph was lowered to 90 kph due to road-works. The problem was, a sign announcing the change was apparently not visible enough to alert approaching drivers. Hence the speed camera's rich pickings.

The result was that between Tuesday and Friday of that week, 8,000 road-users per day were flashed by the radar, 500 times more than the usual daily average of 16, according to Pierre Chasseray, a spokesman for the group ’40 million motorists,’ who spoke to Ouest-France.

Police set the speed limit back to 110 kph on January 22nd, but this has not brought an end to the episode.

On Tuesday, an internet petition demanding “the cancellation of all fines since changing the speed limit”, had gained more than 500 signatures.

One supporter wrote “Flashed twice in 48 hours! Disgusted!”, while another summed up the views of many petitioners, saying simply “I refuse to pay. It’s a disgrace.”

In a separate incident this week a motorcyclist was reportedly flashed at 238 kph travelling along a road near the city of Orleans. It is not unheard of for bikers to be caught on speed camera travelling at such speeds, but in this case the rider was doing it on just his back wheel.

The stunt  has cost him his motorbike, which was confiscated by police and he is due to be hauled before a judge at a later date.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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