Priority Announcement

French_FlagCarol is much better at scouring a magazine than am I. That, I suspect, is largely because she’s a faster reader than I. It’s also because I often can’t be arsed (a.k.a. bothered). Let’s face it, most magazines are filled with little more than utter balderdash and adverts.

Since I don’t read them, we don’t actually get many magazines but, being members of The Caravan Club to get Billy Bailey the associated benefits (travel services, sites, insurances), we do automatically get the Caravan Club monthly magazine. In common with most magazines, it’s largely filled with uninteresting articles and advertisements for stuff you don’t want to buy. Every now and then, though, the sharp-eyed may actually spot something that might actually be important or of practical use.

Here’s an example that Carol spotted in a sidebar on a page headed “News/Travel Service”:

A new highway code law, which takes immediate effect, gives pedestrians and cyclists in France priority over cars when crossing a road. if a pedestrian or cyclist “shows a clear intention to cross” (described as “an ostensible step forward or a hand gesture”) drivers will be required to stop for them. The only exception is where there is a designated pedestrian crossing less than 50m away. drivers who ignore the rule can receive a fine of up to €135.

The rule also allows cyclists to skip red lights if they are turning right but only at crossroads where there is a sign to that effect.

This comes as something of a shock to those of us who, having been driving in France for many years, have never seen a French driver stop for a pedestrian even attempting to use a zebra crossing. It’s been clear that the French pedestrians didn’t expect any priority treatment, either. Being English, I do stop for them whereupon they eye me with uncertainty, even with suspicion, apparently thinking that I’ve set a fiendish trap and will accelerate the moment they set foot in the road.

If you drive in France, take note.

It will be interesting to see any differences in native behaviour this year, assuming we get there ourselves as hoped.

2 comments on “Priority Announcement
  1. Carol says:

    And of course the article doesn’t say what’s supposed to happen at pedestrian crossings!

  2. Pavel says:

    Yet another sneaky move by the french government to generate cash I think!
    Remember the flourescent vests you have to wear if you get out of the car.
    All introduced with little publicity, or am I getting too cynical again.

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