Thursday, 3 April 2008

Slow down?

Photo by Flickr user FOTOLOO. Creative Commons licence.

The sign on this autoroute (motorway) in France shows a speed limit of 110 km/hr (68 mph), fairly standard for autoroutes in and around cities. The normal limit elsewhere is 130 (81) but reducing to 110 if it is raining.

There have been suggestions by many organisations that the limit should be a maximum of 110 on all autoroutes to conserve fuel, but the idea seemed to have been buried. Until now.

The region of Alsace has opened discussions with the Minister for Ecology to test the possibility in that area. Alsace has relatively few kilometres of autoroutes and it is thought that it would be an ideal place to try out new regulations.

I can still remember the speed limits in the UK being reduced in response to an oil crisis, and having looked it up it was in 1974. This was of course to conserve fuel rather than to protect the environment. I wasn't driving then, so I don't remember how compliant people were.

It will be interesting to see how well received this is in France. My initial reaction is that it won't be at all popular, though I must say drivers are much better disciplined than they used to be. My first introduction to driving in France was around Paris. It was a nightmare. I've never been the same since!


  1. I'm amazed how compliant the French are being re speed. Our local ringroad was regularly used at up to 150 kph, until a 90 speed camera went up - now you just have to look out for foreign plates ( drivers from a different county for our non franoliterate readers ) who don't necessarily know that everyone will slam on the anchors just before the next junction. It's taken some of the fun, but a lot of the danger, out of the school run. Just wish something would work in the same way regarding alcohol. We try our hardest to avoid the roads from 2 on a Sunday afternoon.

  2. I remember when they reduced ours here in the US to 55mph; people kept on going 65 anyways. Old habits are hard to break I guess.

  3. PS Friends who've lived, and driven regularly in Paris tell me that Toulouse is worse - we don't drive quite as crazily but NO-BODY indicates, and if they do it's evens bet that they're not going to turn right off the roundabout as indicated but still aim for your bonnet. As for our local custom of the car with it's front bumper ahead has priority no matter what lane anyone was in originally is great for scaring the wits out of visitors who scream at me for cutting up someone in the outside lane when I get blocked by a bus, or parked car. How to avoid accidents - be able to see the whites of the eyes of the drivers of all 15 cars,cyclists and pedestrians in hittable distance.

  4. Access to the Barcelona downtown area are now limited to 80! km/ has reportedly reduced the number of accidents and let it be.


Forethoughts, afterthoughts, any thoughts. Tell me.


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