Wave of Speed Camera Destruction Takes Hold of Northern Italy

15 speed cameras have been destroyed in Italy in recent months, seemingly all at the hands of one person in the north of the country

speed camera.

A number of attacks targeted at speed cameras have occurred in Italy in recent months, where an anonymous figure has taken down 15 cameras.

Having started a few months ago, the figure, known as ‘Fleximan’, has claimed responsibility for the destruction of a number of speed cameras in northern Italy, mostly in the Veneto region, but also in Piedmont and Lombardy.

The BBC reports that Fleximan is treated on Italian social media “as a sort of modern Robin Hood.” In the UK, similar attacks against cameras have taken place. In Cornwall earlier this month, two men were arrested after two speed cameras were cut down in the region, and last year saw incidents in which ULEZ cameras were targeted in London.

Italian frustration at speed cameras is attributed to three particular factors by the BBC. Firstly, because Italy has more speed cameras than any other European country (11,000, compared to Germany’s 4,700 and the UK’s 7,700). Second, cities like Florence made €23.2 million (around £20 million) in speeding fines in 2022, with Milan, Genoa, and Rome also high in that ranking. Thirdly, there is frustration that speed limits are being set too low, with Bologna recently introducing a 30kmh (18mph) speed limit across the city which came into effect on 16 January and is, by its maximum speed, comparable to the introduction of 20mph zones in Wales last year.

Despite the frustration at speed cameras, Italy has a notably poor road safety record, with 54 deaths per million inhabitants according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). This compares to 26 per million in the UK and 31 per million in Ireland. Italy’s record is not the worst, though - Portugal has 62 per million, Greece 61 per million, and Croatia 71 per million.

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