Illegal car racing: police and residents powerless?

Two kilometers of dead-straight road – especially on weekends, Bremen’s uberseestadt becomes a hotspot for car speeders and posers. So bad that first residents are considering moving away.

by Philipp Hennig, Mirco Seekamp

During the focus check on 20. May, police recorded 24 violations, including a driver speeding at 128 km/h in the 50 zone. “We have noticed a steady growth of the scene in recent years,” says a young man, says police commissioner Gerrit Becker. Especially due to the lifting of the Corona curfew, the target groups of posers and speeders are again increasingly encountered, he said.

Illegal street racing on their doorstep annoys residents. The retired couple Kerstin Hollmeyer and Karl-Heinz Rusch are desperate: “This has to be stopped somehow. Something has to happen first?”

If someone runs into the road, it is of course stupid”

Police Commissioner Gerrit Becker

We have the opportunity to talk to one of the Bremen speeders, but he does not want to give his name publicly. With 400 hp under the hood, it’s already roared down the track at up to 160 km/h. In the 50 zone mind you, he says. “That speed incentive to be fast and see: I did this and my car got faster. It is just a nice feeling.”

He plays down the danger to others: “If it happens and someone runs into the street, it is of course stupid. You may not be able to live with a clear conscience then. But I don’t know the person.”

Up to five years in prison for endangering racing

Legislation has made illegal street racing more punishable since 2017. The law provides for prison sentences of up to five years and fines for endangering such races alone.

Many federal states have now formed control groups, such as the “Soko Autoposer”, who are increasingly taking a closer look at such violations. In Lower Saxony, the number of investigative proceedings in the field of street racing has almost doubled from 2019 to 2020, to 200 proceedings. Even in 2021 there are already 114 procedures. Legally binding convictions, however, there are only twelve in 2019. Some of the drivers criticize these figures. One of them tells us: “The problem is that the police have quite a bit of leeway to see everything as a race. I think that’s total nonsense.”

Police officers stop high-horsepower cars on the Outer Alster

“Autoposer”: Police pulls vehicles out of traffic

The Hamburg police seized two cars and a motorcycle during checks at the weekend. more

The group is not there to race”

According to the police, two groups come together in the car scene: car lovers and speeders. We also notice this in Oldenburg. At a meeting under the bridge of the car, one of the organizers, Karla, tells us: “We have some people in our group who race. But the group is not there to race. In our group it’s just about exchanging information about cars and having contact.” Racing is undesirable. Many drive tuned sports cars, others inconspicuous small vehicles. “There it really doesn’t matter at all what you are, who you are, what you drive, but only the enthusiasm of the cars counts”, explains to us one of the organizers, Ramon.

Meeting on parking lot in Wilhelmshaven

In column they drive on to a big meeting in Wilhelmshaven. Here, about 100 cars drive and stand on a parking lot in the industrial area. They honk their horns, sometimes drive too fast or even make wild maneuvers in the parking lot, but many tell us they are careful not to endanger others. Such meetings on parking lots exist everywhere in Northern Germany, since the Corona pandemic the number of participants has increased. “In the past we might have been with friends. Now nothing can be done. That’s why we just drive around”, says a young man. A short time later, this event is broken up by the police, due to the gathering during the pandemic. The police state that they found only a few violations for speeding.

In Bremen’s uberseestadt district, the police want to continue to take action against speeders and get a better grip on the situation by deploying civilian radio patrol cars. For some residents this is not enough. You are considering moving away from here.

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