If you have been driving around certain areas of eastern France recently, you might have noticed a new road sign popping up: a white diamond outline on a blue background. But what does this sign mean?
Enquête sur le #panneau mystère ! Vous allez bientôt voir apparaître ce nouveau symbole étrange sur la #route. On vous explique !— DIROuest (@DIR_Ouest) July 12, 2023
Il représente une voie spéciale pour les transports en commun et les conducteurs pratiquant le #covoiturage
Plus d'info > https://t.co/8JZ2s4bmw6 pic.twitter.com/vFYAJ7ejNw
This new sign signifies lanes which are reserved for carsharing and certain types of vehicles.
It follows an official degree published on August 24, 2020.
The sign is usually found on the lane furthest to the left, so to avoid interfering with cars joining or leaving the motorway. In some cases, it only applies during certain hours.
The aim is to reduce carbon emissions by having more passengers in each vehicle.
Read also: Navigating electric car challenges in France
Where does it apply?
You will see this sign crop up more and more across France as local authorities roll them out. They are already in place around Lyon, Grenoble and Strasbourg.
They are set to arrive in western France, in Rennes and Nantes, in September.
Which cars are eligible?
The following cars and vehicles can use lanes covered by this sign:
- Vehicles with at least two occupants (a couple, a parent and child, two co-workers, two people carsharing)
- Vehicles with very low emissions with a Crit’Air sticker, showing the vehicle is 100% electric or runs 100% on hydrogen, regardless of the number of occupants
- Taxis, even without passengers
- Motorbikes, as long as there are two people onboard.
Hybrid rechargeable vehicles are not allowed to use this lane if they only have one occupant.
What happens if you are caught in the lane and not eligible?
If you are caught driving in a lane with this sign and you do not meet the criteria, you can expect a €135 fine.
The French state is using carpooling radar, which can detect how many people are in a vehicle, to check the cars using these lanes, where there is a speed limit.
A French law, n° 2019-1428 dated December 24, 2019, on transport orientation, means data can be collected from these lanes to improve traffic flow in regularly congested areas. These data can also be used when checking the vehicles using said lanes.