Reader question: I live in a village in rural France where cars speed through at 70kph. The road is dangerous and the villagers would like to reduce the limit to 50kph. How do we go about it?
In France, the default speed limit in towns and villages is 50kph, although at times it can rise to 70kph, or fall to 30kph in residential areas or near schools, for example.
Speed can occasionally be further reduced to as little as 20kph in busy areas such as town centres.
You will find speed limit signs at the entrance of the specific speed area.
Limits can be changed under limited circumstances and it falls to the mayor, as head of the local police, to do this.
Since 2015, new rules driven by environmental and road safety concerns have made it easier for mayors to lower speed limits from 50kph to 30kph or 20kph. Mayors have the power to reduce speed beyond what is stipulated in the highway code, and there has been a trend in recent years to do this in towns and villages across France.
If you want to reduce the speed limit in your village, you should therefore approach the mayor in the first instance.
Be aware, however: mairies are not responsible for all roads in a commune, so they may point you elsewhere.