Rise in illegal street racing claims new casualty – video
Although the interior minister pledged to crack down on car and motorbike "rodeos" on the city's streets a month ago, authorities have not managed to eradicate illegal street racing. The latest contest claimed the life of a young woman. One police union has called for tougher sanctions against those attacking officers.
So-called urban rodeos – young people riding cars or motorbikes in illegal speed racing contests – have become almost a daily occurrence in a growing number of French cities. Contests were held even during the lockdown, but the lifting of the the curfew by authorities has led to a growing number of illegal races, often before spectators.
The latest race ended in tragedy in the town of Glisy, near Amiens. One spectator, a 21-year-old woman, wanted to cross the road when she was knocked down by a motorcyclist who lost control of his vehicle.
The scene of the tragedy is a regular venue for Friday’s speed racing contests by the youth, Amiens prosecutor Alexandre de Bosschere said. The female passer-by hit by the motorbike and its 33-year-old rider both suffered serious injuries during the latest accident. The man was rushed to hospital, but the woman’s life could not be saved.
As police had prior knowledge of the illegal race, they deployed officers to the spot. A few hours before the accident, members of the anti-crime unit (BAC) arrested a drunk driver and seized a car, local police announced on Twitter.
Cette nuit sur la commune de Glisy nous sommes intervenus á plusieurs reprises sur des rodéos sauvages.
➡️ Un conducteur ivre placé en GAV.
➡️ Un véhicule Golf saisi. pic.twitter.com/BRCBeuFhKc
— Police nationale 80 (@PoliceNat80) July 17, 2021
Following the fatal motorbike accident, police launched an investigation into negligent manslaughter.
Street rodeos enjoy nationwide popularity among the youth and police are powerless to control wild drivers, prompting Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to announce in mid-June that authorities will impose stricter penalties on those who participate in speed races. According to the announcement, speeders will be arrested and their vehicles will be impounded
Policiers et gendarmes sont mobilisés face aux rodéos urbains qui sont insupportables pour nos concitoyens.
Dès ce samedi, cinquante opérations dans les communes ou quartiers les plus impactés seront lancées.
Les véhicules devront être saisis et les individus interpellés. https://t.co/bIRVnC4kwd
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) June 16, 2021
The loud and dangerous races on city streets are also a disturbance for local residents. A poll conducted by the CSA Institute in early June found that 78 per cent of respondents agree with officers pursuing the speeders and then detaining them, according to the weekly Valeurs Actuelles.
France has seen an exponential rise in the number of accidents caused by drivers fleeing officers, with some of these accidents leading to serious injuries or even claiming casualties. Some cases were followed by riots and attacks on police officers, especially in the no-go zones, where such incidents are frequent.
French officers are increasingly unhappy because they feel abandoned by the government. The secretary general of Alliance Police Nationale stressed that they demand swift and strict legal proceedings and court rulings against those who attack police.
— ALLIANCE PN (@alliancepolice) June 10, 2021