top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

‘Macron’s ‘great planet’ is filling up with speed sign scrap metal’

In a fix: 33 departments have raised their ‘back’ roads back to 90, however as they cannot control the ‘main’ national roads, the speed limit actually remains slower

'The original 90kph signs were trashed, new 80kph signs manufactured, installed and then trashed in their turn, and now shiny, brand new 90kph signs have been made to replace those too' Pic: PHILIPIMAGE / Shutterstock

Reducing speed limits must have looked like low-hanging fruit after Emmanuel Macron was elected four years ago, full of his ‘make the planet great again’ plans.

After all, cutting the speed limit would save lives as well as limiting petrol consumption.

It would be an easy way to bolster his green credentials and get down with the climate-conscious youth.

This, of course, was before he had lost his shine with the latter through a series of clumsy missteps, not least of which was refusing to answer to his popular nickname, Manu.

Yes, in those halcyon days, he was keen to be everyone’s saviour. By lowering the speed limit and raising the price of fuel, he obviously figured he would soon get polluting cars off the roads.

Except it didn’t quite work out like that. Macron was clearly oblivious to a) the lack of alternative transport, and b) the financial strain inflicted on households by hiking petrol, diesel and heating fuel prices.

Even when the gilets jaunes took to the roundabouts, he did not seem to realise that he had hit a wall.

Once it began to dawn on him, he neatly passed the buck and, conveniently for him, the whole issue was drowned out by the global disaster of Covid.

Now the hated speed reduction to 80kph is no longer his decision – go and shout at someone in your own department if you do not like it.

Perhaps he thought people would give up, but this is France and there is nothing the French enjoy more than arguing with authority. Voters harassed the departments, and so far 33 of them have capitulated, raising the speed limits back to 90 again.

Except – and this strikes me as typically French, and I can say this as I am French – the local authorities can only make decisions on local roads.

So now some departments are in the ridiculous situation of having a higher speed limit on back roads than on main (national) roads. A recent poll showed that 80% of drivers have no idea which departments have stayed at 80 and which have gone back to 90.

Worse – especially for a president who said he wanted to ‘make the planet great again’ – think of all that scrap metal!

The original 90kph signs were trashed, new 80kph signs manufactured, installed and then trashed in their turn, and now shiny, brand new 90kph signs have been made to replace those too.

Honestly, if you put it in a novel, an editor would tell you it was too absurd, and would never happen in real life.

But it did... and, as more departments change back to 90, it will go on happening.

The only people who can possibly be enjoying this whole stupid palaver are the folks who make the road signs.

Related stories

Speed trap captures runners breaking Paris’ new 30km/h limit

Is there a margin of error for speeding fines in France?

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France