Bonn · In 2018, the city collected four million Euro in speed camera tickets. There are 250 places in Bonn where radar controls are permitted. The accident commission decides where.
The city of Bonn earned four million Euro last year by issuing speeding tickets. With the speed controls, the administration wants to increase traffic safety on the streets in the city area, where vehicles that are often too fast. There are about 250 places in Bonn where radar cameras are regularly used, including certain areas in front of schools and kindergartens. But the chosen locations are not always met with understanding, for example on Ennemoserstrasse and the B9 in front of the Bundeskunsthalle. Because in the latter case, the number of accidents increased rather than decreased.
The Ennemoserstrasse in the Nordstadt is one of Bonn's most frequently radar-controlled streets – although there are no schools, kindergartens or residential buildings in the middle of the industrial area. The administration argues that motorists on the Ennemoserstrasse, which was designated a bicycle route in March 2018, are often too fast and thus endanger cyclists. "The decision to set up the new road was taken as part of the bicycle route concept," explains Stefanie Zießnitz of the Press Office. The reason: There was not enough space at the roadside for cyclists, but the road could not be widened because of limited space.
Traffic analysed for two weeks
In June, the administration had the traffic analysed for two weeks – with the result that 40.2 percent of the vehicles drove 39 kilometres per hour or faster. According to the study, the conditions for municipal speed controls are in place," explains Zießnitz. This is because the law governing regulatory authorities stipulates that local authorities are allowed to put up speed cameras wherever an above-average number of speeding violations are detected. In addition, in areas that are increasingly used by weaker road users such as cyclists. "Both are the case in Ennemoserstrasse.“
The accident commission, among others, decides where to set up speed traps. Representatives of the police, the district government, the city and the ADFC sit at the same table. They are primarily concerned with defusing accident black spots. The B 9, where a speed camera trailer has been standing since June 2016, is regarded as a so-called accident accumulation point. Since then, it has caught almost 70,500 vehicles – with an average fine of 20 Euro, that is almost 1.4 million Euro, which flow directly into the city treasury.
The city does not yet want to judge whether it is fulfilling its purpose there. Only in the accident commission, which meets in the spring, it is discussed whether further speed controls are necessary there. The figures do not speak for more road safety: There were 50 accidents in that spot in 2017, twice as many as in 2015.
ADFC supports speed cameras
Overall, the urban speed cameras have caught drivers 179,858 times in 2018. Nearly four million Euro were collected. Before that, revenues had been around three million Euro per year for a long time. The mobile measuring vehicles travel to around 250 locations which the city sees as danger points. "The locations of the measuring vans are changed regularly without there being any particular accumulation," it says. This is confirmed by the weekly radar reports that the city publishes. Some streets nevertheless appear more often than others. These include Reuterstrasse and Ennemoserstrasse.
While some complain about the speed cameras, there are others who support them. Werner Böttcher of the ADFC sees it as correct and important for the city to control bicycle lanes more closely. Because the basic idea of a bicycle road is that bicycles have priority there, and not motorists. "Cars are the exception, they are guests," says Böttcher. And that is why the top priority is to keep to the speed limit. "Often enough we get complaints from the ADFC that this is not the case.“
There is no way of calculating how much speed cameras cost the city. "The exact personnel costs cannot be quantified and no information can be given about amounts from current contracts," the city says. The facilities would be managed by four employees, who would also carry out "a variety of other tasks“.
One clue is the cost of the speed camera trailers. Depending on the equipment, the manufacturer Vetro from Wismar pays 100,000 to 150,000 Euro. Vetro operates several speed cameras in Bonn, including the trailers and the black columns on the B9 between Godesberg and Mehlem. The contracts include maintenance, training for municipal employees and replacement in the event of a breakdown.
Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach Translation: Mareike Graepel