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Yellow vests knock out 60% of all speed cameras in France (bbc.com)
93 points by tomerbd 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 181 comments





I used to dislike speed cameras. I thought they were part of an encroaching surveillance state and took judgment away from officers.

Then (and sorry, I know it's a tired thing to say) I had a kid.

And my god, the people who will go FAR over the limit right down your street where people are pushing prams, kids are walking along, etc. is astounding. It's enough to make you hate all drivers, though a moment of reflection reveals that even if 1 out of 100 drives dangerously, you'll remember that 1.

We need car control every bit as much as gun control, and speed cameras are a big part of that. People die when drivers are left unchecked. Disproportionately, it's people not inside cars.

Of course, people also die from the emissions coming out of the tailpipe, which is what these protesters seem to want to do freely. "Oh, your grandma has emphysema and lives near the road? Tough shit, I want my cheap diesel."


> And my god, the people who will go FAR over the limit right down your street where people are pushing prams, kids are walking along, etc. is astounding.

100%. However, the majority of cameras are placed on deserted countryside main roads and non-pedestrianised motorways/interstate type roads. More camera locations should be prioritised for protecting pedestrians.


Those cameras are not to protect pedestrians, they exist to enforce drivers to stick to the speed limit.

Look at these charts. Speeding rural areas kill! Also, take a guess at what time SUVs became popular in urban areas. https://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/roadway-and-environment/f...


The point is, speed cameras are just a bad solution.

At best, they're a passive aggressive way of exerting government control over citizens. At worst, they're a revenue-increasing mafia-protection-like tool.

If you actually want to protect pedestrians, you build physical "traffic calming" obstacles like speed bumps or chicanes [1]. Switzerland is full of these, and they're very effective. There's really no good reason to have speed cameras (although red light cameras might be a better idea), especially on the motorway (Germany manages without motorway speed limits, so clearly they're not necessary to have a functioning society).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicane#Traffic_calming


Yes speed bumps are way more effective than cameras.

Australia is full of them in sneaky places. It makes the driving experience quite stressful. The speed limits are sometimes ridiculously low and it’s like playing a game.

Speed bumps/breakers are way more effective at slowing cars down. If you don’t slow, you get a big fat jolt and damage your shocks.

I like driving in US much better.


That is indeed the best solution. I'd love to have them everywhere.

Very interesting tables! I'm not sure what you mean by "Speeding rural areas kill!" but the relevant table shows that the same proportion of deaths are speeding related in rural and urban locations.

I have lived in a rural area that has one of these speed cameras. It's just before a surprisingly sharp turn. People do walk on this road, not many (there is no pavement/sidewalk, just grass).

The hole in the hedge from the cars going through it has almost grown in!

My personal pet idea for pedestrian areas, especially in suburbs, would be to close off one entrance to a road, making them a dead end, stopping them from being short cuts. Not much difference to the people living there, they can still park and access. But now there will be no through traffic.


> close off one entrance to a road, making them a dead end, stopping them from being short cuts

It work well, but it puts a lot of political pressure on the mayor for a while, until the people who used to go through the city adjust to the new plan. It often gets reverted after a small while.


In the UK cameras can only be placed in accident hot spots.

They're still very unpopular.


Teen drives his hot hatch with 3 friends as passengers into lamp post by showing off his high speed handbrake turns.

Accident figures peak.

Council installs "safety" camera and lowers speed limit.

Next year figures revert to mean. Council: "Aha! The lower limit and camera has cut accidents, we'll make it permanent".

Net result: speed camera in middle of nowhere, on a dual carriageway, in isolated section of 40mph limit. Often on a bend.

Goodbye 85th percentile rule in yet another spot. I can see why that's unpopular. Yet the spots that really should have cameras near schools, or in other spots around town, generally don't.


"Goodbye 85th percentile rule " - is this bad? It's a flawed non-rule.

In many places (including Ireland, where I live) the same roads where people drive are where you walk your dog or ride a bike - with no footpath. The 85th percentile guideline doesn't help them.

Remember that roads were for walking (by humans, horses, etc) and drivers turned up and stole them.


It's a flawed rule in built up areas, and in situations like minor roads without pavement near a village, where you'd expect to see pedestrians, dog walkers, hikers etc. Many of those spots would benefit from a camera on nearing village outskirts and 30mph limit. Yet they normally don't have one.

On dual carriageways, which is about the only location I ever feel annoyed by speed cameras, it's a fairly reasonable basis for setting limits. That's the situation you find reductions of limit, with associated speed camera, that are simply unexplainable from road conditions, and lack of sources of danger, risks such as built up areas etc.


I'm pretty confident horses, especially ones pulling carriages, aren't super safe for pedestrians either.

Is that new? Here's my experience of how and where they're placed:

https://www.google.com/maps/@52.65301,-2.0079976,12.25z

That's the M6 toll, a road the folks who control such things would like you to pay them money to drive on. Note that it runs beside the perfectly straight 4 lane A5, which predated it, and, simultaneous to the toll road opening had its speed limit reduced to like 30 miles an hour and speed cameras installed every 200 yards along the entire length.

Hard to imagine the whole thing became that much of an accident hot spot right at that moment.


> We need car control every bit as much as gun control, and speed cameras are a big part of that. People die when drivers are left unchecked. Disproportionately, it's people not inside cars.

I agree completely.

To be honest, from a safety perspective, I would be happy if speed cameras were integrated with street lighting so that basically every stretch of road was covered by speed cameras.

That said, I think that penalties should be in the form of a points system that ultimately results in losing your driver's license if you consistently speed. Financial penalties seem to disproportionately penalise the poor.


Is that not the way it works in the states?

That's how it is in England.

3 points for a speeding offence. 12 points and you lose your license for 6 months. Points take 3 years to disappear from your license. You also get fined up to 75% of your weekly income, based on how much over the limit you were going, and there are some hard limits (100 mph?) which result in an instant loss of license. It seems sensible.

I agree that financial penalty does disproportianately affect the poor, but at least scaling it with income means the rich cannot completely ignore it either, as they could with a static fine.


Not sure about the states but here in Australia it works basically as you have described - but there is also a very expensive (in my opinion) fine for each speeding offense, and this is not scaled according to income.

Australian fines are quite ridiculous. As a student, a speeding ticket of $700 meant two weeks of my pay gone.

They really do run a mafia extortion system there.


Financial penalties and a camera system would be a nice way to get some budget needs met though. You can even do it on parkway by putting cameras at the exits and timing how long it takes from one to the other. Or, implement a toll road that charges you more the quicker you get there. Someone driving the speed limit doesnt pay, but everyone else above (or driving too slow) does, with it rising the further you away from the limkt you get.

As a cyclist I use as much space of the road as I can just to make sure cars behind me have to use the other lane to overtake or slow down and wait for a good moment.

I can't wait for laws to enforce speed limits via tech in modern cars.


I also believe that people just do not know yet how much nicer and relaxing it will be to be automatically driven at the speed limit even if the street looks like you could go faster and then, as a driver, having to restrain one-self from going faster.

I read the 2004 book In Praise of Slow (a surprisingly prescient book, to be honest) last year and Honoré talked about the speed limit. I don't know what it was, but something in it clicked for me and I have been actively trying to make sure I don't speed. Sure, there are times I still do, particularly if running late and on a parkway, but in general I've become a much safer driver (which is saying something).

It's been nice, to be honest. I've noticed it bleed into other thigs in my life and I'm no longer worried about the 'go go go' mentality of modern life as much. But we have a cultural issue surrounding speeding. I've mentioned it in passing and the number of people who've basically mocked me for it is too high. Sure, they're joking, but it's an issue we need to fix on a societal level... Thankfully, I think the automatic enforcement in cars will do that. Hopefully it comes sooner, as I've seen nothing but benefits from trying to stay the speed limit - and it doesn't even slow me down that much since I'm not driving long distances (>100 miles) at a time. Less than 5 minutes usually.


In a podcast I recently listened to (in german) there was the example of a manager who always came home totally stressed from the drive until he added a daily stop a few kilometer before arrive home, just to get out the car, enjoy the view and calm down from the day and job. Worked like a treat.

My car has adaptive cruise control (go at X speed max, or follow car in front, which ever is slower).

This has resulted in a much stress-less driving experience.

It would be nice for the car GPS to automatically sync with the cruise control and set appropriate speeds.


Doesn't surprise me that drivers hate cyclists so much.

> As a cyclist I use as much space of the road as I can just to make sure cars behind me have to use the other lane

What are you doing on the road if you're on a bike ? What do you think bicycle lanes are for ?


I use the bicyle lane when there is one. But in the city with cars parked on the road side I simply have to keep 1 meter distance to the side to avoid dooring (google it!) and that puts me into into the middle of the lane. Which in turn means that cars behind me have to use the oncoming lane to overtake me. If I were cycling more to the side the cars behind me a) wouldn't slow down b) overtake me with little to no space around me and thus endanger me in all those unexpected siutations on the road. Also, who said those roads are just for cars? Roads have been around since roman times, unlike cars.

99% of the time: what bicycle lanes? Even then bicycles aren't legally or morally obliged to stay in them if it's unsafe to do so.

In some countries, if there's no dedicated bike lane you have to cycle on the road. Germany, for example.

A huge amount of roads doesn't have bike lanes.

I think roads are not a place for cyclists to be. For the security of everybody only motorised vehicles should be able to use them if they have no bicycle lane.

It's not that people want cheap diesel, they want their job and wages to match up with the cost of living. The proportion between wages and cost of living has gotten worse over time (while the ones responsible for that, lawmakers and employers, have enriched themselves).

Well from experience in the UK in the country there is a lot of using tax exempt red diesel (meant for tractors etc) in your diesel car.

This may not be possible in your case but you can try organizing the neighbors and petition local government to install traffic calming measures. Physical laws are harder to ignore than traffic ones.

It's worth noting that French speed cameras may work a bit differently to what Americans expect. They're a revenue generation mechanism over here, not a safety measure.

Imagine you're driving down a divided motorway at freeway speed, when for no evident reason there's a single 90kph speed sign visible for a couple seconds behind a bridge. That's the signal that 100 yards further on there will be a hidden speed camera. Then the speed limit will go back up to 130kph immediately afterwards.

So when you move to a new area you find out about these things when a series of fines arrive in the mail. Often for being recorded going 91kph in that 90 zone.

It's maddening as a safe driver, having to keep constantly alert and ready to slam on the brakes going down any unfamiliar piece of road.

I'm not overly saddened to hear there are fewer of those things around for a while.


> It's maddening as a safe driver, having to keep constantly alert and ready to slam on the brakes going down any unfamiliar piece of road.

You've just described what being a safer driver is. You _have to_ be alert at all times, and you _have to_ be ready to brake if something suddenly happens.


Why the hate for speed cameras? I love speed cameras because they make the roads safer for everyone. (And yes, once in a while I get a ticket as well, which is always a good reminder to drive safely.)

They would make the roads safer if they weren't used so often as money machines. Do they stand at schools? Nope. They stand at the bottom of the hill at the exit of a town.

They used to be positioned like this in the UK but all the ones I’ve seen like this have been removed or moved over the years to places where they could be regarded as more for safety than easy money making.

This was intentional, the chief of police wanted to stop them being used as revenue generation, and actually used as a safety device.

As such, they're now bright yellow.


They also have abundant signs pointing to where they are. I even saw one that had a blue flashing light on top, with a large speed limit sign next to it.

If you get caught by that, you really need to pay more attention.


As someone who hates speed cameras, I would actually like them if they were more like what you've described.

* Clearly marked, by law.

* Placed for safety, with some clearly defined legal criteria.

* No data retention, by law.


If I recall correctly, they are now also only allowed to be placed where road accidents have happened before.

I've never seen a UK camera moved or removed.

Those are also the places where you find those little crosses and similar markers at the side. The deadliest stretches of road are the most remote ones which are mistaken for race tracks...

> Those are also the places where you find those little crosses and similar markers at the side.

Usually next to a tree. I would prefer them to be used to prevent kids from being killed rather than to prevent some idiot from auto-darwinating himself.


They're not fantastically expensive devices. We can have enough of them to protect children and idiots.

They are €43.000 s piece, not exactly cheap.

Seems to be on the same order as a traffic light, so not particularly expensive compared to other street infrastructure.

Sticking to the speed limit or asking the tree to move aside, what's easier?

A chainsaw.

There's a truly simple trick that makes you invisible for the attempt to use them as money machine. It's incredibly simple. Do not exceed the speed limit. I tried it. It works!

Your view is so naive that I won't even try to argue against it. Your argument only works if cameras weren't set up as traps.

Tricky speed cameras make people drive like robots. Some people even drive 20 below the speed limit "just because there could be a camera lurking." This problem isn't easily solved by "just sticking to the speed limit" because many cameras are set up such that they catch you when it isn't natural to drive at exact speed limit (For example shortly before a town ends, or driving up a steep hill etc.).


No, my argument even works if the cameras are set up as traps. The speed limit at any stretch of the road is well known. It's visibly posted at the sides if it deviates from the expected.

You're are arguing in favor of "everybody exceeds the speed limit, so we shouldn't punish it." I'm arguing in favor of "everyone should drive at the speed limit." Have you tried lately to drive 30 in a posted 30kmh zone? 50kmh in a city center? You'll be regarded as a traffic obstacle. And that's the problem.

> when it isn't natural to drive at exact speed limit (For example shortly before a town ends, or driving up a steep hill etc.).

Why isn't it "natural" to drive at the posted speed limit until you're at the end of the down? How many seconds do you gain? Is it "natural" to not be able to keep your impulse to put the pedal to the metal in check? The sign "this is the end of the town" exactly signifies that border. People not observing that might be exactly the reason why there's a speed trap - not making money, enforcing the rule.

Why is it "natural" to not observe the speed limit going up a steep hill? Especially on a steep hill it's hard to see what's happening behind the crest.

Are you arguing with "nature" or just "I don't see the use of that rule, so it doesn't apply to me"?

Is that your nature? If so, I'd prefer if you gave up driving.


Your rhetorical questions about ‘why isn’t it natural’ have been researched. Turns out there is indeed a natural and safe speed for given road conditions, and a high percentile of drivers will stay within that envelope.

The traps are when townships set speed limits well below the envelope, a speed that is unnatural.

A classic example is rural interstate highway, when the limit will drop from 75 to 55 because of “population density” even when the density is far from the highway and not traffic-interactive, then sit their local law enforcement on the highway to selectively pull over out of town / out of state “speeders”. Let’s be clear - there is no safety element to this practice.

A similar thing happens on rural roads at “town” boundaries. Classic examples in, say, Vermont, with winding mountain roads and natural speed limits. Hit an “incorporated” town that got itself a cop car, and you suddenly have a speed limit 15 - 20 mph below the rest of the road, with the first sign just around a tight corner, and the camera or cop sitting right there. The only safety difference in the road is the legal incorporation status of the town, nothing “natural” about that.

Please don’t take my word for any of this, it’s been researched.


> Please don’t take my word for any of this, it’s been researched.

Well, link the research, so I don't have to take your word for this.

> A classic example is rural interstate highway, when the limit will drop from 75 to 55 because of “population density” even when the density is far from the highway and not traffic-interactive, then sit their local law enforcement on the highway to selectively pull over out of town / out of state “speeders”. Let’s be clear - there is no safety element to this practice.

As always and in any case, bad actors are everywhere. But is that really such a common practice that you can just lump in all speed traps and just say "all of them are money traps"?


Known and well-signposted speed camera on dangerous turns, close to schools or kindergartens would vastly improve street safety.

Unfortunately most German(!) street cameras are placed to surprise the driver, causing nearly continuous disruption even for those who don't speed. Their destabilizing effect on traffic can be observed quite easily as people suddenly brake, make light signs to warn others, surprisingly change lanes (because of the sudden speed reduction), etc.

This is because in Germany the money goes to the local authorities.

It doesn't help that placing and maintaining them is pretty expensive (and often outsourced with profit-sharing). Local authorities and private partners have little incentive to reduce their income per device just to increase road safety.


Same in Switzerland. I honestly believe a true speed limit enforcement system would not be based on money, but rather points and after a certain amount of points you would not be allowed to drive for a month or something.

In Poland speed cameras had been used by various municipalities to extract revenue from passing cars. They had been hidden in some deliberately deceptive places. One municipality had been making 1/3 of their budget from the national road passing through. There had been private companies leasing cameras and servicing them in revenue-sharing schemes.

It had been forbidden by law few years ago. To make clear we still have speed cameras and perhaps more now but there is a process for deciding where they are and why...


Do they? Because quite simply it doesn't seem like the evidence backs that up - let alone the brutally obvious fact that if you stand next to a speed camera you'll notice all the cars just slow down for the camera.

If what you meant to say was 'Speed Cameras make the 30m of road that they're focused on mildly safer than it was before whilst mildly increasing the likelihood of accidents due to unexpected braking in the local area at the cost of introducing a regressive tax' I would totally agree.


The trick here is to use a pair of speed cameras for measuring average speed over a stretch of road.

Everybody and their dog knows just where the three local speed cameras are, and drive accordingly (sigh).

The average measurement in the subsea tunnel we drive to get off the island? Hard to beat, unless you want to go for less enlightened tactics like driving like a bat out of hell until you approach the next speed camera, then pause until you've waited long enough for your average speed to be under the posted speed limit before proceeding past it...


Highways are exactly where a little higher speed makes the least difference in safety. I'd rather that drivers match each others' speed than have congestion enforced by cameras.

A bit late to reply, but today the Norwegian Broadcasting Co. ran a story on how effective average speed cameras were; they are currently deployed 27 places, and overall, the number of deaths and severe injuries is halved compared to the situation prior to average cams being deployed on those same sections of road.

I guess it could be argued that the increased safety of highways is taken into account when the speed limit is determined - and perhaps also that the idea that safety is excel leads people who speed to exceed the posted limit by a larger margin?

Edit: also, the average speed ones perhaps unsurprisingly led more drivers to observe the limit - on average sections, 1 driver in 7000 was caught speeding; single cameras? 1 in 1680.


> Do they? Because quite simply it doesn't seem like the evidence backs that up

French stats show a large drop in road casualties linked to the installation of the first fixed speedcams (2002-2003) although actually, it started dropping when it was announced that fixed speedcams were going to be installed: http://s1.lprs1.fr/images/2014/01/20/3512371_ide-tues-routes...


There's a rise in speed cameras that record average speed over a longer span of road - on the A2 highway here it's very effective, a twelve lane highway where nobody goes above 100 km/h.

Technically not true. There are accidents caused by those who slow unexpectedly because they only just realised there's a speed-trap.

It adds an element of unpredictability to the road.

This almost completely offsets any positive safety gain.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3861844/

Which makes me think it's a cash-grab.


I have looked at the study you linked, I don't find it very convincing because it is only counting the number of incidents (or MVC), but not the seriousness of the resulting collision.

I would assume that if speed cameras decrease the average speed (which might or might not be true!), even if you have the same number of incidents, you should see a reduction in the seriousness of injuries.


I think that's fair, but if it had been on a nation scale you would have debunked it by saying that it was too broad and would be impossible to control all variables, or that it didn't take into account how $your_country does it.

There are other studies which cite this one and they're linked from the page I posted, I invite you to read them. The data is at best inconclusive that speed-traps are functional at preventing collisions and deaths.


The solution seems to be to put of more of them so people constantly expect their presence. More modern designs are also capable of calculating average speeds over longer stretches of the road.

Yeah - here in the UK most long roadworks segments on motorways have a speed limit of 50mph, with average speed checks. It works remarkably well - I barely ever see anyone speed significantly through these segments, as opposed to segments with periodic cameras where people will speed and then slow down for the cameras.

People slowing because there's a speed camera are the problem, not the camera itself. If they were driving at the stated speed in the first place there'd be no need to suddenly slam the brakes on to avoid a ticket.

That study is along a single road in a single city, and only looks at the absolute number of collisions. As it says, one of the main benefits of lower speeds is that it dramatically decreases kinetic energy - but the study didn't take into account how dangerous those collisions that happened actually were. Number of injuries and fatalities seems like a much better measure of "safety" to me than just number of collisions.

the speed camera is there to protect cyclists and pedestrians, not the driver or his car.

Because many see it as a tax. Especially when safely matching the actual speed of traffic will consistently get you the lowest ticket of about 50 EUR for being 5km above the limit.

I wish there were also minimum safe distance cameras.

Some of these cameras are hidden: positioned so that you cannot spot them from afar (and not advertised by a sign neither). If the sole purpose would be to help people to drive safely then you should advertise them, make them really visible aso.

-Here in Norway, every speed camera needs to be advertised by signs in order to let the driver know he's being monitored. Kind of defeats their purpose, as the idea is not to ensure people drive past the cam under the posted limit; it is to make sure they obey the posted limit, period.

Speed cams would be most effective if they were hidden all over the place. (Or used to record average speed over some distance, which is a most effective way of ensuring people observe the speed limit!)

The latter, though, will get the privacy nut in me annoyed unless the authorities flush the record of you passing immediately after verifying that you drove at or under the speed limit. Speed cameras are excellent surveillance devices, after all.


How can anyone say this seriously? This is the stupidest thing I keep hearing from certain people.

The idea is to stop you speeding EVERYWHERE. Not just where speed cameras are. It is to penalise people who constantly break the law, and make the road dangerous for everyone.



French speedcam fines don't go to the police department or the municipality, they go to the interior ministry and mostly fund infrastructure maintenance (including the speedcams themselves).

>(including the speedcams themselves).

So they fines are a feedback-style job security enabler for the people at the department responsible for the speedcams.


Or you can see them as security measures that only cost money to those who break the rules, meaning they are essentially free to law-abiding citizens.

You missed the part that the rules are BS, and the lights rigged to produce fines -- and in some cases even causing accidents rather than prevent them?

There have been lots of scandals over the years and I even gave some links...


I'm not sure which lights you are talking about, and none of your links are about French speedcams.

We’ve been talking speed cameras here, not lights. Light cams and associated rigging is an entirely different problem with different implications.

Meanwhile, if you keep the little needle on your speedometer under what the last sign said, you’ll be fine. Pretty damn hard to rig that.


In Germany you are not allowed to put up a speed cam just about anywhere. It needs to be an accident-prone site or one where it has been demonstrated before that it's prone to speeding.

There are places here in Belgium where everybody is officially 'speeding' (so driving more than 10km/h faster than what's allowed) and where even the police admits the speed limit was set too low. Guess where they put the hidden mobile cameras.

If they were really really interested in making the roads safer for everyone, they would combine driving on the right with the right of way for people coming from the left iso coming from the right. Statistics show (you can measure this because there are countries where they drive left and have right of way from the right) that it lowers the death toll by almost 30%.


Everyone is speeding everywhere in Belgium. We also get a lot more casualties (by inhabitant, by vehicle, by kilometer, any metric you take) than France. France has about 30% less deaths than Belgium, and gives right of way to people coming from the right. The road rules are almost exactly the same between the two countries.

If anything, I think it just shows that speed limits are not enforced well enough (and I think it should start with switching to a points permit) in Belgium. I also personally find them often too high, with 70 often being allowed in urban areas outside the core parts of towns.


mind there's a significant difference between Wallonia and Flanders. (see article below, in Dutch)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/aantal-verkeersdoden-daal...


That's to be expected given the large difference between the regions, but the comparison still hold if you compare the more urbanised Nord département to Flanders. Nord is on paar with Noord-Brabant however, on the other side of Flanders.

IMO there is no question that Flemish roads (I don't know Wallonia much) are less safe than French roads.

Eurostat shows that quite well: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/RCI/#?vis=nuts1.transpor...


Doesn't going by number of victims skew the results because some countries might have a more modern fleet of cars with better security features? Or is that accounted for?

There are very visible signs telling you how fast you can go without triggering any hidden speed cameras. They even paint them in reflective paint, so that you can see them better at night.

Isn't the idea to enforce driving in speed limits all the time. Not only when you /know/ that a speed camera is present.

here's a great hack to avoid getting fined for speeding: Don't speed!

If you actually wanted to make the roads safer, you'd build physical "traffic calming" obstacles like speed bumps or chicanes [1]. Switzerland is full of these, and they're very effective.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicane#Traffic_calming


They're not located at areas where lower speeds would improve safety, they're located at areas where they make the most money. At least that's how people feel.

I'm personally generally dubious on speed limit based policies.


Rubbish. This is just a complete lie, spread by people not wanting to drive safely. It is up there with speed doesn't kill, and I drive better when I have had a few drinks.

Nice one, trying to discredit your opponent by claiming they don't want to drive safely instead of actually responding to their (IMO legitimate) complaint.

I imagine it depends on the jurisdiction, but personally I don't recall ever seeing a speed camera next to a school, near a city park, or across from a row of dense apartment buildings. Instead they always seem to be in fairly irrelevant places such as along highways where you cross from one jurisdiction into another. I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with revenue though.


The Montpellier area : 2x3 ways limited to 110km/h + 2x3 ways limited to 90 km/h. Road in perfect state. So let's put an average speed radar system.

Sometimes speed limits are there to reduce noise.

are you a road engineer? a safety specialist? have access to the stats of the area? know that ppl didn't complain for noise?

No stats: it's 1 year old.

For the noise complaints, enjoy the view from the A9 and A709: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Montpellier/@43.5591054,3....


I'd guess: They are symbol of order and a source of income for the police.

People hate them because it's yet another tax. 1 billion+ euros in 2018: https://www.lerevenu.com/breves/les-radars-automatiques-devr...

If you drive around in France, you quickly realise most of them are installed in profitable areas, not in dangerous areas.

Looking forward to 100% of them being destroyed.


I drove from Paris all the way to the Northern border and was amazed at not having seen a single working camera. Also every major road crossing had at least one guy in a yellow vest picketing. Must admit that I kinda supported the work they did on the cameras though.

Yellow Vests movement is not about speed cameras neither cheap oil: that's just the folklore part.

Yellow Vests movement is a reaction from the silent parts of middle class that are the pillar of democracy: private sector employees. This (traditionally) silent crowd feels plundered by the government to support policies and lifestyles that they don't agree with.


Welcome to civil non-compliance 2.0: vandalism as a form of protest. So now taxes perceived as unjust warrant the destruction of state property in retaliation. The French government has already stepped back before. But it never seems enough for protesters.

It does look like a much bigger movement than the state had anticipated. If enough people stop paying taxes this will get serious.


>Welcome to civil non-compliance 2.0: vandalism as a form of protest. So now taxes perceived as unjust warrant the destruction of state property in retaliation.

A proud history of civil non-compliance, from the French Revolution, 1848, and the Commune to May 68, is what made France what it is, and helped usher us into the modern freedoms and rights.


I don't think many french are proud of the commune, outside of the far left.

Even the 1789 French revolution was a bloodshed that resulted into a even tougher dictatorship (the First Empire)...


Most people might not have an especially good view of the Commune (though it's more widespread than just the far left) but virtually nobody sees the First Empire as "a tough dictatorship".

The bloodshed of the revolution and the Empire are seen as necessary evils at worst.


The left has a sizable percentage of the people's minds in France -- even if they belong in non nominally leftist parties.

> If enough people stop paying taxes this will get serious.

Isn't most of the income tax taken directly from the employer. So only a few people will be able to avoid that. Then there is the lovely VAT tax, how are people going to avoid that one?

In fact, I think the majority of taxes are transparent so you know you paid it but you don't really ever feel the pain of handing over the money.


> Isn't most of the income tax taken directly from the employer. So only a few people will be able to avoid that. Then there is the lovely VAT tax, how are people going to avoid that one?

That's right. The French government probably feels lucky. Hence frustrated people resort to destroying things. And taxpayers will pay for the damages anyway. But still, you can see the pressure is real.


I guess that's lovely news if you're into anarchy, idk, not seeing the romance everyone else seems to see in this movement. France does need to reform hard though, they are right about that.

Next they will complain about how road accidents have increased and how the government is incompetent

In some areas (more rural places, Vendée for example) it was 100% of them around Christmas.

Their positions are all well known, so it's rather easy to get them all, and you are basically guaranteed impunity outside the largest cities since there will be no cameras to know who did it.


Would you rather start an outdoors civil protest in the Winter or the Summer?

Its been proposed that Thatcher allowed the miners strike to occur but only during the Summer when the effects of lack of coal (power cuts) would be less.

There's some speculation that Occupy Wall Street collapsed in the bitter cold. Many UK riots seem to happen on warm summer nights.

Has anyone done an research or written about this? Can we expect the Yellow Vests to be less successful in this winter than in the summer?


"Some protesters feel speed cameras are solely a revenue-generating measure which takes money from the poor."

This is also the case in Central and Eastern Europe.

EDIT: Please read what I cited properly. The citation includes the "Some protesters feel ..." part, which is what I meant - that many people in central and eastern Europe feel the same, not that I feel they're right (what I think is irrelevant).


I lived near one of the major crossroads in one of the biggest German cities. The speed camera they put up made a change between waking up 4 times at night because of illegal street races and beeing able to sleep uninterrupted till the lorries start to drive in the early morning.

I am not saying that this isn't a tool to generate revenue, but it certainly can make a difference for some of the people living there.

However the weirdest thing is, when a street feels like you can drive 80km/h but you have to go 30km/h "just because". People don't like that. You shouldn't just put up signs and speed cameras on a perfectly fine street. You have to alter the street too. Make it narrower, etc. People will then drive slow without problems.


Speed cameras are not toll booths. They do not take money from people indiscriminately but only from the ones that think that they can get away with speeding. (Unfortunately speeding seems almost necessary for e.g. delivery drivers which are in turn not the most well-paid jobs.)

Problem is rather how the fines are structured. 50€ might be a disaster for someone living on welfare while it's pocket change for others. If I remember correctly Finland countered this by making traffic fines daily rates of income.


Yes, many people think that but for my part, I have really noticed a big decrease in speeding since these fixed speed cameras have been put into place, in the last 15 years or so.

It was not unusual to have people drive 150 km/h or so on the 110 speedways I was taking then, or 110 on the 90 countryside roads. Nowadays it seems like only few people break speed limits by such margins. In Belgium however (where I live now) there are speedcams as well but I notice a lot more speeding.

I think the difference is at least partly due to the points permit. French drivers get a total of 12 points and lose at least 2 points from any speeding, while Belgians only get a fine, which probably doesn't give a lot of incentive to people who have enough money to just pay the fine.


Of course not all speed cameras are bad. However in my country there is a lot of speed cameras right before a town ends - that means that people will start slowly speeding up from 50 km/h to 90 km/h and thus the camera will catch them going 60 km/h and give them a pointless fine. Same thing at the beginning - what is the point (except for money) in fining people who didn't brake soon/hard enough so they entered the town going 60 km/h? Why not place these cameras a little bit more inside the town?

> and lose at least 2 points from any speeding

(Nitpicking: actually only one point if driving less then 20 km/h above the limit.)


Interestingly here in my native Finland, traffic tickets for major violations are progressive. So for a low income driver, major speeding might lose your license for months, but only cost you 150 €. The same infraction would cost a upper-middle income individual 15 000 €. Apparently the biggest speeding ticket written in here has been 170 000 €.

I have very mixed feelings about this. I have been caught by a money-making camera myself(middle of a forest in rural Poland, far away from any houses, and yet it was still a "built-up" area with speed limit of 50km/h, because technically there wasn't a sign ending it after leaving the last town few km back), but on the other hand, there's so many people speeding in cities, frequently doing 100km/h or above on very busy streets, that I am all for building more speed cameras in those places.

And then:

" solely a revenue-generating measure which takes money from the poor."

Unless someone can prove a connection that someone poor is more likely to speed, then I don't see how that's true. I think the opposite was proven recently, no? That rich people with expensive cars are more likely to disobey traffic laws.


> Unless someone can prove a connection that someone poor is more likely to speed, then I don't see how that's true. I think the opposite was proven recently, no? That rich people with expensive cars are more likely to disobey traffic laws.

This is a strange interpretation of the statement. I would've assumed that the point being made is similar to that about the tax on cigarettes - the cost of a penalty charge is less significant to a rich person.


yes, it's a mixed bag.

In some places the cameras are signaled up to 500m before, and are very visible with yellow reflective stripes. There is often one at the entrance of towns to force drivers to adapt their speeds, and it works.

Then some are clearly placed with malice, it really depends.

> Unless someone can prove a connection that someone poor is more likely to speed, then I don't see how that's true.

I think an issue would be that poor people will drive more. Middle class population will tend to be more urban and rely on public transportation for day to day use, even if they still own a car and may do a few trips during the week.

People in remote areas will be more at the extreme: crazy rich or pretty poor, and the poor in these area will have to drive everywhere to get almost anything, thus being more subject to speed traps. (anecdotaly almost everyone speeds way over the limit, some big highway feel like the autobahn sometimes)


> anecdotaly almost everyone speeds way over the limit, some big highway feel like the autobahn sometimes

Yes! I don't understand why the government doesn't accept the reality and doesn't (try to) raise the speed limit. Now everyone is speeding and when they see something remotely alike an undercover police car they brake hard, creating very dangerous situations for all people around; you could argue "it's their fault, they're speeding" - yes, but why keep the limit low?


I guess it's specifically because the police know that people will speed, but also that most people are speeding only a bit(10-20%). So instead of setting the limit at 100km/h, they set the limit to 80km/h knowing that most people will do 100km/h anyway. If they set the limit to 100km/h at least some people would be doing 120km/h.

That would make sense in the past, but now there are speed radars everywhere. Isn't now the time to change the approach?

Let's assume poor and rich are equally likely to speed (except the rich who only move in limos or helis). Flat fees still hurt the poor more, because they cut into living expenses. To be truly egalitarian, these fees should be a % of income and a % of wealth.

Which would be fair, because the goal of these things is to avoid misbehaviour with potentially deadly consequences. There is no reason someone poor should pay 40% of their monthly paycheck while someone rich pays with <1% of their montly paycheck.

This is why in a lot of european nations on top of the fines you have a point-based system – if you have three points you get your driving license revoked and you will have it revoked for some time and then you have to do some driving tests again.

This actually works quite well in preventing bad behaviour (assuming you have a non corrupt police), but one could argue that it is a much, much worse punishment to the poor again (it can potentially destroy them economically, including the loss of income source etc).


That is why there is also (in France at least) a system of points on the driving license. Everybody has the same count (12) at the beginning and will lose an equal amount in case of an infraction. If you lose all of them your license is suspended.

Given what you said is true, wouldn't it make sense to black out just the malicious ones? Unless this says that all the ones vandalized (60% of speed cameras) are actually for the sole purpose of money making?

Speed cameras do work but the fines should be structured in a more fair way. "Rich" people with expensive cars don't care, same goes for parking fines.

As much I hate speed cameras (and as much as I sympathize with the yellow vests), they are usually more than justified.

As a car driver you experience much less of the negative side-effects of your reckless driving than the rule-abiding drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and people living next to the streets.

Look at speed cameras as police's automation solution for the problem of what to do when road signs aren't working. They are part of an evolution and if evolution has to account for destruction of these cameras then more nuanced models will get their market share (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Luc-Z29KUfU).

Or we might end up with more Orwellian ways like autonomous traffic drones or the government having a direct link to your car, monitoring your every move, speed etc.

So, yeah, I don't like em but I'm fine with speed cameras.


You are assuming that everyone who gets caught by a camera is driving recklessly

the poor simply can respect the rules like the rich, right?

I mean, if the speed limit says 50km/h, then you should be doing 50km/h, regardless of the size of your bank account. If someone hits a pedestrian and kills them because they were doing twice the speed limit, "yeah but I'm poor" is not a valid defence.

That's not the point. It costs a poor person more to speed because they have less money. Conversely it costs a rich person less to speed.

The issue is easily solved by making the fine proportional to your income, as it already is in many European countries. And then the penalty points hurt equally because you will lose your licence regardless of how rich your are once you get enough points.

The revoking of a license also hurts poor people improportionally more. If you depend on your car and need it to get to your job, loosing the ability to drive will: A) make you loose your job B) go in debt to solve your mobility problem C) make you do stupid things like driving without license D) maybe you are lucky and there is cheap public transport or it is close enough for cycling

For a rich person A to C are usually not a problem. Just take a taxi.


But if someone is putting others at danger, they shouldn't be treated with mercy just because they are poor. If you drive dangerously why does it matter that you need your car to feed your family? It doesn't and it shouldn't.

Yes the consequences are worse for a poor person, but that's like saying that consequences of murder are worse for a poor person - if they go to prison then their family is now at risk because maybe they were the only money making person in the family. Rich person's family is probably going to be fine. But does that mean that poor people should be punished less for murder? Of course this is hyperbole now, but I think the same principle applies.


But why should the poor be punished more than the rich? If you do that too much the poor put on yellow vests and start breaking things. It’s kind of a French tradition. At least this time they aren’t building guillotines.

>>But why should the poor be punished more than the rich?

I just disagree with this sentence, vehemently. If someone is driving a car in a dangerous manner, they should lose the right to drive regardless of how much they need it, and definitely regardless of how rich/poor they are. What's the appropriate punishment for a poor person in your opinion?

Like, I genuinely don't understand? A "rich" person should lose their licence for 12 months, but a poor person should only get away with a warning because they need a car to make money?

So if the very next day they get behind the wheel and kill someone, the court process will look like this

"Dear Honour, the accused was stopped for dangerous driving yesterday"

"ok, why were they still driving today then?"

"They are poor, so they were allowed to keep the licence"

Like, that's literal insanity. Driving is a right, not a privilege. If getting too many points means you can't get to your job and lose said job - I'm really sorry, but that's tough shit. I'd rather they didn't have a job than continue driving and be a danger to others.


Nobody is arguing that a poor person should be punished less severely for breaking the law.

Instead, the point I am trying to get across is how it feels to be a poor person that receives a more painful punishment relative to a privileged class and the kind of sentiment that would breed among the poorer class.

I am not French so I will not presume to know what the purpose of the Yellow Vest movement really is but it sounds to me like there are economically disadvantaged classes that are tired of being left out in the cold.

This is a matter of empathy, not lawmaking.


Nice idea in theory, but the fines aren't proportional to your income and in a lot of places people will point out the speed cameras are in a poor area - so whilst theoretically a rich person speeding would be fined too, they'll just never go past the camera.

They are in some countries, which I linked an article about.

Sweden and Finland have fines based on the annual income.[0]

[0]: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-31709454


You're probably thinking Switzerland, not Sweden. I've been living in Sweden for quite a while, never heard of fines based on income levels.

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/auto/rekord-bussgeld-euro-strafe...


In Switzerland as well but only for highway with more then 25 Km/h over. [1]

[1] https://rp-online.de/panorama/ausland/raser-drohen-782000-eu...


You are correct on Finland, you are wrong on Sweden. In fact, Sweden is not even mentioned in your source so not sure where you got it from.

Memory, which might have been failing me as well... The source was just an example

Imagine if they caught Jeff Bezos. They could probably fund their entire police force for several years.

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-m...


The nokia boss had to pay 116 000 EUR in 2002 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1759791.stm

This is why you get a chauffeur.

That's not how regressive penalties work. Incentives are only equal if the penalty amount is based on ability to pay.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

you got it wrong: the rich will pay, but that amount means nothing to them.

That's where the penalty points come in - you can't pay your way out of losing your licence once you get enough of them. The fine might be meaningless but having to stop driving for 12 months is not.

Penalty points also disproportionately affect the poor, who are more likely to depend on their driving license for their income

So what do you propose? That we punish people who put others in danger less because they are poor? Someone moving at 100km/h through a city isn't any less likely to kill someone when hit just because they are poor. They aren't any less of a danger just because they have a family that depends on them. Someone they hit won't be any less dead because the driver has 5 children and mountains of debt.

> Someone moving at 100km/h through a city isn't any less likely to kill someone when hit just because they are poor.

Actually we could argue that it's more likely due to the poor average condition and old age of their cars. A new Mercedes brakes much better than a 20 year old Skoda and usually has auto-braking systems and braking force enhancers.

However "going through a city" is very general. There are several actual highways (by law as well as by construction standards) in Prague going through the city where the speed limit (70 km/h) is frequently broken with no possible victims - the exact same road has 130 km/h limit outside the city.


That speed limit might be more noise related. So the harm is much different, but the victims are people living nearby.

Just like moving next to an airport and then complaining about the noise. Those same victims likely received a discount on property price as compensation.

Seeing as it's Prague, the chances are very good that the houses were built long before cars were a thing.

And I don't even understand your assumption - of course you should be complaining about noise levels if they are unacceptable, no matter if you just moved next to an airport or if you lived there for the past 50 years. Same as moving next to a pub or a night club - why does it matter that you just moved next to it, if the local laws governing noise levels at certain times existed for decades? Either the club/pub/airport brakes those laws or it doesn't - your personal length of habitation in the area has nothing to do with it.


Most of the roads I'm talking about are not near houses and/or underground. There are several roads where it indeed is noise related, but these ones are 60km/h only.

They will still loose points on their driving license. Everybody has the same amount (and not much).

Meanwhile, most of Scandinavia determines speeding fines based on income.

Finland does. Sweden and Denmark do not. Norway I don't know, but suspect not.

Source: I live in Sweden and recently got caught by a speed camera in Denmark.


Norway does not, either. We do issue fines for drunk driving based on your income, though.

It's not true. They take from everyone, not just the poor.

In the Bay Area (San Francisco etc.), it's not necessarily "from the poor", but I've been punished in excess of $500 for not coming to a complete stop at a red light (only having slowed down). It's like this everywhere - it's a tool for extortion. And it's terrible.

California stops are very dangerous to pedestrians.

Usually you can just ignore those tickets. They can't prove you got the ticket, nor can they prove you were driving. And if they send it to a collection agency, you can demand proof of the debt and they will usually just give up.

But yeah, they're installed by 3rd parties and are usually just there to make money.


Not the heroes we deserve but the heroes need.

Yellow vests were chosen as a symbol because, since 2008, a law had required all French motorists to have high-visibility vests in their vehicles when driving. As a result, reflective vests had become widely available, inexpensive, and recognisable. [1]

Obligatory referenced video of the boxer vs police: https://youtu.be/iUw37-eNSxg

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_vests_movement


From the video above, his statements are simply false.

It doesn't look like he was tear gassed - is that the statement you are referring to?

Maybe there is hope for humanity after all.



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