Angry Canadians Won’t Stop Vandalizing Toronto’s New Speed Cameras

Many of Toronto’s 75 speed cameras have been severely damaged, including one that’s issued 19,437 tickets in just eight months.

byLewin Day|
WASHINGTON, DC MARCH 18: Two speed camera of New York Avenue just pass the entrance of the National Arboretum on March 18, 2015 in Washington DC.  (Photo by Mark Gail-for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC MARCH 18: Two speed camera of New York Avenue just pass the entrance of the National Arboretum on March 18, 2015 in Washington DC. (Photo by Mark Gail-for The Washington Post via Getty Images).
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Depending on your standpoint, speed cameras are either a crucial safety measure, or they're the trolls of the modern roadways, exacting huge fines for insignificant transgressions. Several brash Canadians clearly subscribe to the latter belief, as they fight back against new speed camera installations in Toronto, Canada.

As reported by BlogTO, the city of Toronto has recently been on a safety kick. Mayor John Tory announced the city would install 25 new speed cameras, bringing the area's total to 75. This has drawn the ire of several citizens, who have set about vandalizing the new cameras in earnest.

Amusingly, the city clearly trusted in the kind nature of the Canadian people, as it installed speed cameras without even bolting them down. Enterprising vandals thus took the opportunity to simply tip over a camera in Withrow Park, making it functionally useless.

Toronto's new speed cameras sit low to the ground, so it's easy for disgruntled motorists to attack them. Vandals have used spray paint to obscure the lenses of the equipment, rendering the cameras non-functional. One vandal went further, scrawling a simple protest against the machines—"NO."

It bears noting that Canada isn't the strictest nation when it comes to speeders. In the province of Ontario, speeding charges typically occur when drivers are traveling 10 km/h (6 mph) over the speed limit. In comparison, motorists in Victoria, Australia, can get fines for exceeding the speed limit by just 4 km/h (2.5 mph), or even less in some circumstances.

The star of the show for Toronto, though, is a south-facing speed camera mounted on Parkside Drive. It's one of the city's longer-standing speed cameras, having been installed well before the new tranche that landed in February. It's reportedly issued a mighty 19,437 speeding tickets in a period from April to December last year. In a similarly-shocking statistic, one Toronto driver scored 12 speeding tickets in the same place in a single month last year.

It's not the first time we've seen acts of callous disrespect toward speed cameras. One Australian was snapped by a traffic camera while sitting on the hood of a pickup drinking a beer at 74 mph. Meanwhile, Swedish speed cameras have been stolen, with suspicions the hardware has later ended up in Russian drones.

Anyone could have told Toronto officials that implementing ground-based speed cameras would just be asking for trouble. Most jurisdictions are well aware of how hated the devices are by members of the general public.

Permanent installations in the UK and Australia almost always put the camera unit up high on a post to discourage vandalism. It doesn't stop the problem entirely but vandals can't muster the effort to bring a ladder from home. Plus, it has a way of making vandals far more conspicuous during the act, even if half of passing motorists would be cheering them on.

Enthusiasts often rail against speed cameras for the frustration they bring to driving, along with the crushing fines. Meanwhile, safety advocates will say they encourage safer driving and are a key tool in ensuring speed limits are respected. The argument will never end. It seems likely that speed cameras will be here to stay, but the irate drivers of Toronto are rising up against them nonetheless.

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