A village in Dordogne is struggling to maintain safety after calculating that more than half of drivers who come through its main road are driving above the speed limit, sometimes significantly.
A study of Annesse-et-Beaulieu, near Périgueux in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, completed in September this year, found that 52% of the 28,700 vehicles captured were over the speed limit when just a few metres away from the village entrance.
This is despite the 70km/h limit being clearly marked at the entrance of the village.
As many as 600 drivers were significantly over the limit, and more than 100 were going more than 130km/h, almost double the speed limit.
During a check at the start of this month, gendarmerie picked up 13 speeding infractions in just two hours, including one at 150km/h.
The problem is worsened by the long, straight D3 road that runs into the village. Department authorities warned the village mayor, Philippe Perperot, that the speeding was even getting worse.
Mr Perperot, told France 3: “We are in a long straight line at the exit of the [nearest] town. However, we are barely a hundred metres from the town exit at 50 km/h, and the straight road is just an invitation to speed, of course.”
One resident, Vincent, said that he and his family are now too scared to walk in the village because of the high-speed traffic.
He said: “We used to walk on the side of the road with our little one in the pram. But as well as the speed, they don’t leave much space for pedestrians…We don’t feel very safe now it’s reached this point.”
Mayor Mr Peperot is now calling on the gendarmerie to issue more checks on the road, while waiting for extra signs to be installed. Flashing lights at the pedestrian crossing have already been added, and an ‘educational’ speed radar is also being considered.
The mayor said: “There are no miraculous solutions, but there are some ideas. We’ve asked for more police controls because it's the most immediate solution and it makes people think. And when it lasts for a certain time, people are used to this sector being checked, so they don't drive as fast.
“That's one of the solutions. The other would be to gradually add more signs, and better develop certain zones, and certain exits so that they are more secure.”
However, speed measures can be expensive, especially on a major road. A speed bump costs between €25,000-€40,000, and signs costs between €500-€1,500 each.