700 checks planned for this weekend: the police are stepping up their fight against "urban rodeos"

The Minister of the Interior indicated, as of Thursday, his desire to see the police harden their tone in the face of the return of urban rodeos, back with sunny days. While 700 controls are planned in the country this weekend, our team was able to follow one of these operations in Bordeaux on Friday evening.

This may be one of his last instructions as Minister of the Interior. Thursday, by a telegram sent to the executives of the gendarmerie and the police, Gérald Darmanin asked the police to “intensify” their effort against the urban rodeos. The authorities fear that these illegal events, during which drivers race on the asphalt in defiance of the danger, multiply with the beautiful days.

Also, 700 checks must take place across the country this weekend in order to fight against this danger. One of our teams was able to follow one of these operations conducted, from Friday evening, near Bordeaux.

“There are some who roll like madmen”

On the spot, a hundred people made an appointment. For more discretion, participants relied on word-of-mouth. “It’s a very well-known spot. I come very rarely, it’s friends who sent me a message”, testifies one of them in front of our cameras.

Coated in gleaming yellow paint, Lou’s Dodge has no chance of going unnoticed. Before challenging another driver, the young man assures us:

“I don’t enjoy pressing very hard on small roads like that. Afterwards, there are some who drive like crazy.”

Five vehicles seized

He and his ilk risk big in the business. In accordance with the law adopted on the matter in 2018, anyone who takes part in such a competition incurs one year’s imprisonment and a fine of 15,000 euros, and the organizers are liable to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros.

“Beyond prison sentences and fines, we have additional penalties such as seizure and confiscation of the offending vehicle or suspension or cancellation of the license”, further details Emmanuel Morin, departmental director of Public Security in Gironde, with BFM TV.

Around the rodeo, the Bordeaux police set up a roadblock and a helicopter was even mobilized. Result of the intervention: five vehicles seized, their drivers placed in police custody. They are now awaiting trial.

A galloping phenomenon for ten years

According to figures compiled by the Ministry of Justice, 1,383 convictions were pronounced in 2021 in cases of this nature, compared to 72 in 2018.

“The authorities are hitting harder and we are seizing more vehicles”, confirms Guillaume Farde, our specialist for security issues, on our set this Saturday morning, observing that the phenomenon has been increasing for “ten years”.

Robin Verner

Robin Verner BFMTV journalist

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