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Reduced speed limit on the Paris “périphérique” causes frustration for bikers

January 19, 2014

It is now official: the speed limit on the Paris “périphérique” (the ring road that encircles the French capital) has been reduced to 70km/hour from 80km/hour (that is 44 miles/hour from 50 miles/hour) and all the signs have now been replaced with new ones (at a total cost of 22,500 euros) to enforce the new speed limit.

Peripherique's new speed limit

The “périphérique” has seen its first speed limit reduction in 40 years as the maximum authorised speed had been capped to 80km/hour for all this time. The official reasoning behind the change doesn’t make sense. The authorities claim that the speed limit reduction will generate less noise, pollution and fewer accidents on a road that is used by 1.3 million motorists daily. The reality is that the “périphérique” can literally be a car park, where thousands upon thousands of motorists get stuck in endless traffic jams throughout the day. The average speed during the day on the “périphérique” is 37 km/hour, so where is the logic behind the new speed limit? There will hardly be any reduction in the number of accidents during the day and the noise and pollution will remain the same. This is just another piece of spin from the authorities to make Parisians blindly accept the new rule. The only viable way to significantly reduce noise and pollution is to encourage people to get rid of their car in one way or another or, at least, switch to a more recent and less polluting car.

It is highly unlikely that many motorists will be caught speeding during the day because of the massive traffic jams, however, overnight this might be a complete different story. The “périphérique” is obviously massively less busy overnight and this is when the 14 speed cameras that have been installed all around the ring road will generate a small fortune for the local authorities.

For motorcyclists, the situation may well be different and, in fact, extremely frustrating. It is still illegal to filter (lane split) through stationary or low speed traffic in France, so in addition to ensuring that bikers don’t ride over the new 70km/hour speed limit at any time, they are expected to remain stuck in traffic, like cars do! If you’re a biker in the United Kingdom, where filtering through stationary (or low speed) traffic is perfectly legal, imagine yourself forced to remain stationary in between cars although there is plenty of space ahead and aside for you to ride through.

Anyway, all this has generated a cost for the local council of 22,500 euros (18,750 pounds sterling) to get all the signs changed and the old ones disposed of. Is it really worth it?
If you’re based in France and want to take part in the fight against the Government’s continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations pour la circulation inter files des motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

  1. Nobby permalink

    I fail to see what the problem is, the price quoted, seems very cheap to me to help reduce accidents and its about time the biker communities followed a few rules.

  2. The last time I circumnavigated the peripherique was last year on a Triumph Bonneville and I was surprised at the number of two-wheeled machines on the road with me, many of them commuters in suits on scooters! The bikers were between lanes 2 and 3 and clearly ignoring the ‘no filtering’ law and were travelling at anything from 60 to 80 kph. Fortunately, French car drivers showed an awareness and discipline far superior to British drivers and moved right and left to create the widest possible ‘extra lane’ for bikers, to a degree rarely seen in the UK. I think the French authorities would do better to apply themselves to the ‘no filtering’ law to bring into law what is already common current practice.

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