Rise Of The Idiots, On Tour
Frenchmen arrested for bringing 'happy crashing' to Spanish roads Giles Tremlett in Madrid
Thursday August 10, 2006 The Guardian
You're approaching a busy roundabout in a bustling Spanish city, minding your own business. Suddenly a rogue figure lurches out into the road and reels towards you. You swerve, skid, narrowly avoid collision, and go on your way, cursing perhaps. Then you learn that it was a deliberate stunt, staged to film road accidents and post them on the internet.
In a variant of "happy slapping" - when people beat someone up and capture what they are doing on phone cameras - albeit one with a kamikaze aspect to it, four French pranksters in Benidorm have been risking their lives to provoke traffic accidents while one of their number films the mayhem.
Screeching brakes, skidding cars and angry drivers were captured on film by the four, who fled before passengers or police could catch them.
They chose a busy roundabout in the eastern coastal city on the road to La Nucia as their preferred hunting ground and, according to local police, risked their own lives to provoke sudden reactions. Three of them took it in turns to jump out at drivers while a fourth hid in some bushes and filmed. Police said the men, all 18, caused at least two accidents before being caught.
The antics normally took place early in the morning, as the Frenchmen indulged their exuberance after a night of drinking, police said. "They risked their physical integrity, as well as that of the drivers and traffic in this busy road," a spokesman told the local Las Provincias newspaper. Nobody was hurt in the accidents.
Spain has recently seen the arrival of happy slapping and other versions of crimes in which the perpetrators record what they are doing. The country, where more than 100 forest fires were burning yesterday, has also seen cases of people starting fires and filming the results.